The Department of Sociology of the College of Arts and Sciences serves the university and students from the DC area, the United States, and throughout the world as a center for the advanced study of social institutions, global affairs, and social justice. Its programs offer in-depth training in sociological theory and emphasize research methodology at the BA and MA levels, through a BA/MA program (allowing students to complete a BA and MA in 5 years), and two graduate certificates: one in Public Sociology and another in Social Research.
Sociology professor Ernesto Castañeda discusses racial and ethnic health disparities in coronavirus cases and deaths, particularly among Latinos. He examines the structural inequalities behind the numbers, including the disproportionate rate of Latinos working in essential positions and with preexisting medical conditions.
Beyond the Curriculum
Our programs prepare students for a variety of careers in social advocacy, research, teaching, human services, and policy-making institutions in both the public and private sectors in Washington and beyond.
American University's location provides unparalleled access to government, research institutions, data and archival sources, advocacy organizations, and leaders involved in social change. Because AU attracts many international students, the capacity to think through issues beyond national borders is often present with every year's new cohort; at the same time, faculty and students alike frame global politics, economics, and social and cultural issues at a local level, and often use global and local frames to understand social phenomena.
Beyond the experience of being in DC, sociology majors and minors-a majority in fact-take a semester to participate in the AU Abroad program. Many students find that a SOCY major is easily completed as a double major. The Department now offers a choice among three courses (SOCY 100, 110, and 150) as gateways to the sociology major and minor programs. Our relationships with Critical Race, Gender & Culture Studies, the Center for Israel Studies, and our Center on Health, Risk, and Society make our department a vibrant one within the AU community.
Center on Health, Risk, and Society
The Center on Health, Risk and Society (CHRS), based in the Department of Sociology at American University, is an interdisciplinary community of scholars conducting research on the social dimensions of health and health-related risks, especially on their roots in social inequality, and on structural interventions aimed at addressing them.
"Our common purpose is education and research for social justice in an increasingly global social system. We expect to create sociological knowledge and apply professional research skills to inform effective policies and programs for social change. We intend to empower ourselves, faculty and students, with the knowledge, skills, and commitment necessary to participate in building equitable, humane, and sustainable social institutions. We consider one source of our strength to be the multicultural diversity of our department, and we seek every opportunity to expand that strength."
Statement in Solidarity with Anti-Racist Efforts from sociology faculty.
Ernesto Castañeda published "Urban Contexts and Immigrant Organizations: Differences in New York, El Paso, Paris, and Barcelona" in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
Ernesto Castañeda and Daniel Jenks apply sociological terms to current protests in “How to Understand Protest.”
Cynthia Miller-Idriss discusses the presence of far-right groups at protests over the death of George Floyd in Politico.
Molly Dondero received a grant of $29,750, from the Russell Sage Foundation, for her project entitled: "Immigrant Integration and Institutional Attachments in an Era of Enforcement."
Alumna Shannon Post coordinates the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Project Green Reach for youngsters—and offers favorite houseplant tips.
Cynthia Miller-Idriss discussed how far-right extremists might exploit the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns to recruit youth.
Michael Bader spoke to the Washington Post about families pooling resources during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mike Murphy won the 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Outstanding Staff.
Cynthia Miller-Idriss wrote an op-ed in Politico titled "Stop calling far-right terrorists ‘crazy’"
Cynthia Miller-Idriss became a fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right.
Vice Magazine interviewed Cynthia Miller-Idriss for a Q-and-A about the relationship between far-right youth culture and fashion.
Michelle Newton-Francis won the Provost's Award for Outstanding Faculty Mentorship in Undergraduate Research or Creative Work.