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College of Arts and Sciences

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work Department

Our department draws on the unique qualities of three disciplines to be a focal point at the university for the critical investigation of cultures, societies, and the individual's place within them. Anthropology offers the ability to understand, analyze, and compare diverse cultures from cultural, archeological, linguistic, and evolutionary perspectives. Sociology provides the "sociological imagination," an ability to examine the mutual dependence and influence between the individual and the structures of society. Social Work brings the knowledge and skills to develop and administer assistance to people coping with social problems, such as poverty, crime, and discrimination.

Together as one department, we are able to offer students a rigorous degree program in any one of our fields, while ensuring that each simultaneously benefits from the cross disciplinary perspective and active collaboration that characterize our faculty. We also have designated programs that take advantage of our multiple domains of expertise, such as the joint Anthropology-Sociology degree.

Our faculty are excellent teachers and active scholars who—by virtue of what they teach, how they teach, and their commitment to those they are teaching--are especially qualified to develop students to be leaders for a just and humane world. Through courses that invite students to engage with faculty research and thoughtful use of programs likes study abroad and service-learning, students receive a participatory, student-centered experience that is a superb preparation for variety of career opportunities.

Degrees offered:

Cultural Anthropology: BA, minor
Sociology: BA, minor
Social Work: BSW, Social Welfare minor 

 

In spring, 2017, Dr. Mark Cohan's university core class, Sociology of Food, partnered with Seattle-based Northwest Harvest, a non-profit food bank distributor, to help them promote a conference they planned to host. Through research and personal interviews, the students helped create a video to help promote a national conference, "Closing the Hunger Gap: From Charity to Solidarity."

News and Events

Closing the Hunger Gap: From Charity to Solidarity

Dr. Mark Cohan's students studied the structural forces, from international economic dynamics to institutional racism, that cause hunger and limit access to whole, healthy food, particularly in poorer communities of color. They also learned about the food justice movement, which seeks to address these problems in ways that depend on the leadership, insights, and voices of those in these marginalized communities. The students then conducted video interviews with food bank managers and other professionals in the emergency food system with a focus on what food justice means and how they can foster it. The students completed interviews of 20 to 40 minutes in length, then edited them down to 10 to 15 minute highlights as their final projects. Over the summer, a Northwest Harvest staff member edited the videos into the professional, promotional video seen above, to use in promoting the conference, which occurred in early September. 

Dr. Madeline Lovell and Taylene Watson, MSW

Seattle University BSW undergraduate awards renamed in recognition of pioneers in field of social work, the late Dr. Madeline L. Lovell, Assistant Professor Emeritus, and Taylene Waston, MSW. Read more.

Student-Faculty Research: When Sociology Professor Jodi O’Brien starting looking at how practicing Catholics make sense of family planning practices that don’t conform to the Church’s position, she didn’t expect to find important Catholic teachings as a foundation for an alternative viewpoint. Working closely with her research assistant Cal Garrett ‘16, O’Brien uncovered important insights regarding the ways Catholic women root their practices within the tenets of their faith. Read the article and watch the video here.

 
The Danny Woo Community Garden in Seattle’s historic Chinatown-International District has welcomed immigrants from Asia for more than 40 years. Professor Rob Efird enlisted the aid of student Taylor Burmer to prepare an exhibit about the unique aspects of the garden for the Wing Luke Museum. The exhibit runs through March 2017. Read the article and watch the video here.
 
Alumni Profile: Sociology alumnus Cervante Burrell '12 came to Seattle University to play basketball and figure out life after college. Now as the founder of The Unforeseen and dean of students at Sacramento Charter High School, he is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of students. More here.
 
Faculty Profile: Social Work Professor Amelia S. Derr, read the article and watch the video here.