The Mission of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Muhlenberg College
The Sociology and Anthropology Department’s mission is fourfold:
- To teach students discipline specific history, knowledge and methods;
- To help students develop critical thinking skills in order to produce reflective, logical, independent theses;
- To support the liberal arts mission of the college; and
- To add to the body of sociological and anthropological knowledge by conducting and disseminating research.
We are committed to excellence in our teaching and research programs. We elaborate on our goals below.
1. The Department will teach students discipline specific history, knowledge and methods. Students will develop:
- Fluency in central concepts, theories, and methodologies, and an understanding of the historical context from which they emerge;
- An empirical approach to understanding the variation and continuity of socio-cultural phenomena cross-culturally and historically; and
- An understanding of core debates and ethical considerations of the disciplines.
In addition, students in Sociology will:
- Understand how and why societies are maintained and change;
- Develop a sociological imagination to see the link between individual experiences and broad social forces; and
- Recognize the intersections of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality, and how these affect social experiences and institutional arrangements.
And students in Anthropology will:
- Understand the discipline’s changing approach to the study of human social and cultural diversity, from its inception as a tool of regimes power to a critique of historical and contemporary power relations;
- Articulate how the knowledge and theory generated by anthropologists are products of specific historical contexts; and
- Attain practical experience in the application of anthropological methodologies, including ethnographic and archaeological methods.
2. The Department will help students develop critical thinking skills. Students will be able to produce reflective, logical, independent theses by:
- Summarizing arguments concisely;
- Synthesizing different forms of data;
- Evaluating evidence and arguments;
- Writing in a professional academic style; and
- Presenting research material clearly.
3. The Department will support the liberal arts mission of the College by promoting:
- A sense of curiosity about the diverse ways that humans adapt to their surroundings;
- Self-reflection and appreciation of perspectives and experiences outside our own;
- Connections across disciplines to gain a better understanding of the world;
- Application of coursework to professional careers;
- Responsibility for one’s educational experience and choices; and
- Public intellectualism through attentive, creative and articulate engagement with community affairs and social issues.
4. The Department will add to the body of sociological and anthropological knowledge by conducting and disseminating research. We will:
- Encourage faculty research and the integration of that research into our teaching and learning;
- Promote participation in our professions through the publication of books and articles and presentation of research at professional meetings;
- Encourage collaborative research between faculty and students;
- Provide opportunities for students and faculty to present research;
- Seek collaboration within and beyond the institution to maintain a vibrant intellectual community; and
- Seek resources that provide opportunities for faculty and students to participate in research.