Sociology department celebrates 100 years at U, outlines goals

Liz Kohman

The sociology department celebrated Wednesday 100 years of studying the web of social relations that connects institutions, individuals and organizations on Wednesday.

The department marked its 100th birthday outside the social sciences building with cake, ice cream and speeches.

University President Mark Yudof said the birthday offered a chance to take pride in and build on the wonderful tradition of the department.

“We’re grateful for all the riches this department has brought to the University of Minnesota,” Yudof said.

The University’s study of sociology began in 1892 with a class in the political science department.

Four years later, sociology became its own department and offered three courses. This fall the department offered more than 30 courses.

College of Liberal Arts Dean Steven Rosenstone noted the department’s growth in the last couple of years and said new faculty were bringing new energy to the department.

The sociology department today focuses on five areas: political sociology and social movements; family and life; law, crime and deviance; stratification, race, class and gender; and organizations and work.

The department graduated more than 3,300 students in the past century, and there are currently 800 undergraduates majoring in sociology.

Department Chairman Ron Aminzade said the department is focusing on international research, interdisciplinary partnerships with history, geography and political science and an emphasis on civic sociology.

The cake and ice cream gathering served as a kickoff to a yearlong celebration that includes an alumni gathering in March.

 

Liz Kohman welcomes comments at [email protected].