Mission and Learning Goals

Sociology and Anthropology attempt to chart the interconnections between the various realms of thought and conduct, to find the balance between the social and individual components of personal identity and to locate the social origins of both harmony and strife in every area of experience. In pursuing an understanding of how and why society functions, these disciplines contribute significantly to students’ global and intercultural competence, and prepare them for active engagement as responsible, committed global citizens.  The department contributes significantly to the institutions’ strategic direction of providing our students with an integrated liberal arts experience. Specifically, the CSB and SJU Sociology Department seeks to educate students with the understanding that:

Sociology and Anthropology train students to think contextually.

Everything about our lives is situated within and affected by our social contexts…whether historical, geographical, religious, racial, or otherwise defined. The study of Sociology and Anthropology helps us understand how contexts structure, constrain, and shape our identity, thinking and behavior, as well as how we create the contexts we operate under. Our department aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to appreciate, assess, and, when desired, to help alter these contexts.

Sociology and Anthropology provide students with the tools to know how they know, and to evaluate the validity and reliability of ideas.

Sociology and Anthropology emphasize global relationships and cultural diversity.

Sociology and anthropology help us to understand not only our own lives and the contexts in which they emerge, but also how the diversity of lives in other cultures as well as our own are made possible by economies, development, colonialism in various forms, environmental conditions, political dynamics, and other power differentials.

Sociology and Anthropology inspire a particular lens for understanding the world’s problems and contributing to solutions to these problems.

We put our departmental goals into practice through a curriculum that emphasizes traditional liberal arts scholarship as well as the application of this scholarship to contemporary problems. In doing so, we aim to produce citizens committed to community participation and transformative leaders who will enter a variety of professional sectors, including the academic, nonprofit, business, political, and legal fields in both local and global venues.

College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Ellen Block
Chair, Sociology Department
SJU Simons 114

Brandie White
Department Coordinator
SJU Quad 355A