Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences
Degree Offered: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
Minors Offered: Anthropology and Sociology
The mission of the Sociology/Anthropology program at Truman State University is to offer an exemplary undergraduate education in Sociology and Anthropology in the context of a liberal arts and sciences environment at a public institution of higher learning. To that end, the program establishes a comprehensive approach to the study of these two disciplines, and emphasizes creative and critical thinking along with pure and applied research. In both Sociology and Anthropology students are introduced to perspectives for understanding human behavior and human conditions at levels that range from individuals in society to variability in social and cultural patterns and the organization of larger social structures. While Sociology focuses more on large-scale, industrialized societies like the one we live in, Anthropology also emphasizes smaller-scale societies and long-term patterns of biological and cultural change. The desired outcomes of individuals’ studies in Sociology and Anthropology are: an increased awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity and social differences; a critical understanding of key concepts in Sociology and Anthropology and other disciplinary areas; and the knowledge of how to conduct social scientific research and inquiry as well as how to use and interpret data.
The curriculum goals in Sociology/Anthropology are: 1) to increase students’ ability to think like sociologists and anthropologists; 2) to increase students’ knowledge of theory and methods as well as their ability to work theoretically and to conduct social scientific research and inquiry; 3) to increase students’ abilities to transfer what they learn in these courses to other disciplines and areas of their lives; 4) to prepare students to demonstrate in-depth mastery of their social science discipline; and 5) to enable students to communicate critically and effectively in writing and oral presentation. Students graduating with a major in Sociology/Anthropology will therefore be well-prepared for subsequent education and employment.
Anthropology is characterized by determination to gather data on human – and non-human primate – societies of all times and places; the net is cast as widely as possible. Knowledge of biological evolution in general, and human evolution in particular, serves as a foundation for the study of how we came to be human and gives us the subfield of biological anthropology. The challenge of learning about the social and cultural organization of past human groups by studying the material remains of these societies forms the basis for anthropological archaeology. The ethnographic record of thousands of descriptions, of varying completeness, of diverse human cultures and societies from earliest recorded times to the present is our primary source of information about variability in human social and cultural systems (and their use of language) and serves as the basis of sociocultural anthropology (including linguistic anthropology).
These data have forged a strong link not only between Anthropology and Sociology but also between Anthropology and the rest of the social sciences.
Sociology is the study of institutions, organization, groups and individuals in society, and the interactions and connections among them. According to Peter Berger, a sociologist is one who is “concerned with understanding society in a disciplined way.” This disciplined understanding leads us to seeing our everyday world in a new light, a light which C. Wright Mills calls the “sociological imagination,” or the intersection between biography and history. As a social science, sociology combines scientific and humanistic perspectives in the study of organizational behavior, urban and rural life, family patterns and relationships, social change, intergroup relations, social class, environment, technology and communications, healthcare and illness, social movements, deviance, and pressing contemporary social issues.
Students will leave the major with an increased awareness of cultural diversity and social differences, a critical understanding of the principles which explain social order, social interaction, and social change, and the knowledge of how to conduct social scientific research.
Survey courses in Sociology and in Anthropology introduce students to the fields. Courses in social problems, social stratification, and social psychology provide additional depth in central content areas. A course in social methodology establishes the empirical orientation, while courses in sociological and anthropological theory provide an integrating framework. Elective courses provide the opportunity for more intensive study of selected topics.