• Sociology

    Sociology is the scientific study of human society and social behavior. The sociological perspective invites students to look at their familiar surroundings as though for the first time. It allows students to get a fresh view of a world they have always taken for granted, to examine their world with the same curiosity and fascination that they might bring to an exotic, alien culture. 

    Sociology encourages students to think critically about the complex socio-economic connections between individuals, groups, and societies. Hamline’s Sociology curriculum is designed to expose students to life beyond their immediate experience, leading them into areas of society that they might otherwise have ignored or misunderstood, into the worlds of the rich and powerful, the poor and weak, the worlds of cult members, the elderly, and juvenile delinquents. Sociology also teaches students how to formulate significant questions about the social world, to recognize and analyze patterns of human behavior, and to consider the implications of their knowledge for social policy. The Department is committed to heightening an awareness of social inequality, appreciating diversity, and pursuing social justice.

    Understanding the structure and process of society is necessary before ineffective, unjust, or harmful social arrangements can be changed. Good social policy and the eradication of social problems are not possible without an understanding of what caused the problem, the barriers that stand in the way of a solution, and the problems a particular solution might in turn create. 

    The sociology department encourages its majors and minors to both understand society and to act upon that knowledge to improve themselves and their society. Students are taught how to ask significant questions about the world around them, how to design and implement sociological research, and how to examine the ethical implications of their research.

    Why A Sociology Major?

    Faculty in the department are experts in their fields and highly engaged in discipline:

    Professor Melissa Sheridan Embser-Herbert is the author of The U.S. Military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy: A Reference Handbook (Praeger 2007). Recognized as an expert regarding the military policy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," she has published and spoken extensively on the topic. More recently, and in addition to case work, Dr. Embser-Herbert has begun research in the area of wrongful convictions. Also a trained restorative justice facilitator, in May 2012, Dr. Embser-Herbert will be leading a short-term study abroad course that will center on the use of restorative justice and reconciliation processes in post-genocide Rwanda.

    Professor Navid Mohseni co-founded the journal Middle East Critique, which held annual symposia at Hamline University until it moved to its new home at Lund University in Sweden in September 2010. He is actively engaged in painting and has presented his art works at Hamline University’s Art Gallery. In his current research, he incorporates his interest in visual sociology with his interest in painting. 

    Professor Sharon Preves is the author of Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self (Rutgers University Press) and co editor of Classic and Contemporary Perspectives in Social Psychology (Oxford University Press). She is the chair of the American Sociological Association's section on Sociology of the Body and Embodiment. Hamline University students selected Professor Preves as Faculty Advisor of the Year in 2006 and as Faculty Member of the Year in 2013.

    Sociology majors and alumni are highly successful as well: 

    Amanda Jungels '05 is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Sociology at Georgia State University. Amanda just completed a Masters degree in the same program, utilizing research she began as an undergraduate at Hamline. This research focused on the experiences of women who were trying to leave prostitution and was gathered at her previous undergraduate internship site in St. Paul, Breaking Free.
    Kelly Dahlman '09 recently became employed by Children's Home Society and Family Services. She is working as a case manager overseeing services for fifteen families in need of social services. While a student at Hamline, she was one of several Sociology majors to present her research at NCUR.
    Jordan Dibb '09 launched his iwalkforlove campaign, walking from Minneapolis, MN to Miami, FL in an attempt to raise $100,000 in relief funds for the people of Haiti.
    Brad Brake '10 was accepted to the American Sociological Honors Program as well as Teach for America. Brad was one of many Sociology majors to present his research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research.

    Famous Sociology Majors