Adams Hall at bowdoin College

The goal of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology is to develop students’ insight into the nature of society, the diversity of cultures around the world, and the similarities that all peoples and societies share. Course work, independent study, and collaborative research work with faculty all provide a basis for later graduate study, as well as for a wide variety of occupations.

The Department regularly supports student research, with many projects based in Maine:

  • social interactions and behavior at a local skate park and teen center
  • Maine’s traditional boat building community
  • the changing potato industry in Northern Maine
  • educational experiences of 1.5 generation Somali immigrants
  • migrant strategies for navigating the US/Mexico border

Students are encouraged to collaborate with faculty members on ongoing research projects, and in some cases, these are paid positions:

  • outpatient hospital care for immigrant and refugee patients
  • depictions of Chinese residents of Hawai’i in tourist magazines
  • terms of mergers and acquisitions involving regional electricity companies
  • volunteer tourism in Cusco, Peru  
  • cataloguing material from excavations at the Joshua Chamberlain Museum and at Stowe House, Maine

Our courses in Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, and Archaeological Anthropology often focus on specific cultures: Africa and African American cultures, Latin America and the Caribbean, Native America, the Arctic, China, and South Asia.

Student Research & Grants

Student ResearchSociology and Anthropology students have many opportunities to engage in their own intensive research and writing, and to participate actively in a growing community of scholars.

Faculty Research

Susan Bell (Bio)MedicalizationOur faculty's diverse research interests span the globe, shedding light on intellectual, social, environmental, political, and technological histories from the ancient past to the modern period.

Department Events

End of Year SelfieThe department sponsors campus-wide events that foster broader engagement with sociological and anthropological work. Events include film screenings, student-faculty panels, and talks on marketing feminism in Dove campaigns and Mexican gender performance through tequila.


Michael BrennanThe major and minor in Sociology or Anthropology provide students not simply with a "useable past," but also with the skills to cope with an ever-changing world. The value of a degree in Sociology or Anthropology is evident in the wide range of occupations our graduates have pursued.