Sociology and Anthropology

Saint Michael's Anthropology and Sociology

When you major in Sociology and Anthropology at Saint Michael's, you gain an understanding of the complexities of social life through reading, discussion, and research. Sociology and Anthropology work is conducted in the real world of ghettos, workplaces, soup kitchens, hospitals, corporations, stadiums and homes - as well as in the classrooms, library and computer labs on campus. Such study is how the wisdom of these extraordinary fields is brought to bear on understanding ourselves and our relationship to society.

  • The distribution of power and wealth - social classes, from the homeless to the extreme rich, from Guatemala to the Bronx
  • Gender and social relations - social construction of masculinity and femininity, gender specialization, inequalities
  • The basis of social cohesion - social integration, shared values, agreements
  • The dynamics of global population change - fertility, mortality, population growth
  • Modern-day cultures of the world, including Nepal, Africa, India, Australia, Europe, Japan
  • Cross-cultural thinking - conceptions of the self, mind, body, emotions and what is considered "normal"
  • Cross-cultural conceptions of religion, God, the divine, spirituality.
  • The role of symbols in our social lives, including in non-verbal communication
  • The sub-cultures of gangs and other marginalized groups - why do some groups get labeled as deviant? Why are some emulated and others scorned?
  • Forces of social and cultural change - the role of industrialization, democracy, human rights.
  • Global forces - what is the nature of the emerging world order?
  • The emergence of social problems - how are some things made into major public issues while others are ignored?

Vince Bolduc, PhD

Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Connecticut
A.B. University of Notre Dame

Areas of Expertise:

Population studies, methods of survey research, poverty, quality of life issues, student religiousness.

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Poverty
  • Population Analysis
  • Research Methods
  • Social Problems
  • Work, Education and Vocation

Robert Brenneman, PhD

Assistant Professor of Sociology
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M.A., Ph.D. University of Notre Dame
B.A. Eastern Mennonite University 

Courses I Teach:

  • A special topics course titled "God, Gangs, and Globalization"
  • Deviance, Norms, and Social Control
  • Introductory Sociology
  • Social Problems
  • Social Theory

Patricia Delaney, PhD

Gender Studies Program Director, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies
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M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
B.S. Georgetown University

Areas of Expertise:

Gender and international development; war, conflict, and the contestation of cultural identity; relief to development continuum; poverty and stratification in the global south; grassroots development and participatory approaches; East Timor; Lusophone Africa 

Courses I Teach:

  • Anthropological Perspectives on Gender
  • Gender and International Development
  • Introductory Anthropology
  • Participatory Action Research
  • People and Cultures of the Lusuphone World
  • Life Histories

Adrie Kusserow, PhD

Sociology/Anthropology Department Chair, Professor of Anthropology
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Ph.D. Harvard University (Anthropology)
M.T.S. Harvard Divinity School (Tibetan Buddhism)
B.A. Amherst College, Phi Beta Kappa

Areas of Expertise:

Medical and Psychiatric Anthropology, Refugees, Globalization and Poverty, Modern Day Slavery, Anthropology of Refugees, Anthropology of Religion, Social Class in America, Anthropology of Global Media

Courses I Teach:

  • Culture Illness and Healing
  • Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking
  • Refugees
  • Social Inequalities

Motivations:

I am a cultural anthropologist with special interests in refugees, social inequalities, poverty, anthropology of religion, culture, illness and healing, social class, ethnographic poetry and anthropology of the child. I strongly encourage both service work and community engaged learning to be an integral part of my anthropology classes. I am also a strong proponent of study abroad and have taken students to Sudan, Uganda and Bhutan.

Carolyn Sawin, PhD

Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
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Ph.D. University of Washington, Sociocultural Anthropology
M.A. University of Washington, Sociocultural Anthropology

Areas of Expertise:

Anthropology of Education; Anthropology of Religion; Race and Ethnicity; Medical Anthropology; Native North America; Refugees

Courses I Teach:

  • Culture, Illness, and Healing
  • Engaged Theory and Methods
  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Native Americans in Popular Culture

Most of our students spend a semester abroad, many in non-Western countries, which is a requirement for the anthropology-track students. Sociology-track students all conduct formal surveys of hundreds of people from all over New England on topics as diverse as  prisoner relocation to attitudes towards population growth and life satisfaction. Some of our students have had internship placements with the Make-A-Wish Foundation; a world Population Media Center; a group home for troubled girls; Volunteers for Peace; and a Vermont program that works with refugees.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is truly cosmopolitan in the sense that we study ideas, people, and cultures from all over the world. The faculty have collectively visited and worked in over 75 countries, from Tonga in the South Pacific to Bhutan, Guatemala, India, Sudan, Brazil, Paris and the Appalachian south.

All faculty are highly involved in their disciplines, and work closely with interested students to guide their special interests. A few recent examples:

  • Dr. Kusserow brought a class of students to the Buddhist Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to study how people react to modern media.
  • Dr. Brenneman taught his summer class on "God, Gangs, and Globalization" in Guatemala, which is also the subject of his book with Oxford University Press.
  • Dr. Delaney brought students to the tiny South Pacific island of Tonga to interview residents about work, family and culture.
  • Dr. Bolduc traveled with 10 students to Kentucky on a volunteer housing project in Appalachia and witnessed the influence of changing coal prices at the strip mine and rates of poverty. Immigrants in Paris are another favorite study top.

After graduation, our majors go on to careers like:

  • Study Abroad Counselor
  • Social Studies Teacher
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Case Manager
  • Social Service/Peace Corps Volunteer
  • ESL Teacher
  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Financial Advisor
  • Program Coordinator
  • Mortgage Officer
  • Applications Specialist

Graduate Study?

A substantial minority of our students go to graduate school either immediately after graduation or, more frequently, after several years in the workforce. While some get a Master's degree or a PhD in either Sociology or Anthropology, many more select a wide range of other fields, from Social Work to MBA's, to Library Science and Public Health. Graduate institutions range from Yale University to the large public research universities as well as many private colleges and universities, both in the U.S. and abroad. 

Facts About the Field

The fields of sociology and anthropology are dedicated to the study of human behavior, particularly behavior that is influenced by society and culture. It does this by introducing the established methods and theories of the disciplines to students and applying them to the world around us.

The two disciplines have always had a great deal in common and at Saint Michael’s they are united in the same department. There are good reasons for this. They have overlapping historical origins, share many of the same assumptions, theories and methodologies, and are similarly blended in many other colleges and universities as well. Sociology and anthropology are closely related to the other "social sciences" of political science, economics, and psychology since they too share a common commitment to the scientific study of human behavior. Students who major in sociology/anthropology are quite right when they say that sociology has a focus on the organizations and structure of society while Anthropology more directly focuses on culture—both in the Western world and the non-Western worlds.

Every year about 25,000 students in the U.S. graduate with a major in sociology, and another 7,900 in anthropology. Students are attracted to this major because it provides a new understanding about social and cultural forces and individual relationships, and opportunities to discover ways to change society. In anthropology, there is also the added fascination of learning about cultural differences.

National surveys of sociology majors found that two years after graduation, about 60% of class of 2005 were working full time; 13% were in grad school full time; 22% were in both graduate school and working; and 5% were doing neither. Of those who were working, the largest single employment category was in the social services and counseling. Next in line were graduates involved in administrative and managerial support in either the profit or non-profit sector. Sixteen percent were working in marketing, social science research, or sales. Fewer than half of the sample wrote that their present jobs were “closely related” to their majors. This is not surprising since the primary focus of our department is an emphasis on learning in the liberal arts tradition.

Graduates of our department are probably more heavily involved in the non-profit sector than are the average college graduate. This is partly due to the emphasis which the College and Department put on service and our obligation to address human needs.

To contact the Department of Sociology/Anthropology:

Department of Sociology/Anthropology
Saint Michael's College
One Winooski Park, Box 290
Colchester, VT 05439 Fax: 802.654.2803

Department Chair:
Professor Vince Bolduc
Saint Edmund's Hall 239
802.654.2389
vbolduc@smcvt.edu

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