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Welcome to the Department of Sociology

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2014 Newsletter

Research Spotlight

Sociology studies how societies are organized, and the consequences of varying forms of organization on people's lives. It is scientific, based upon systematic analyses of evidence; it is non-obvious, in making discoveries that might not otherwise be noticed; and it is important, in identifying opportunities and strategies for change that can improve society.

Purdue's Department of Sociology: produces world-class scholarship, in the books and articles it publishes; offers two outstanding undergraduate majors, one in Sociology and another in Law and Society; and delivers an exceptionally strong graduate program leading to the Ph.D. At the graduate level, the Department's research and training programs are currently organized into six areas: Family and Gender; Health, Aging, and the Life Course; Law and Society; Sociology of Religion; Social Inequality; and Social Movements and Political Sociology.

Bert Useem
Professor and Head

Departmental News

Prof. Carolyn Perrucci has been selected to be a 2014 Distinguished Women Scholar Honoree by the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence at Purdue.

Prof. Dan Olson and Prof. Beth Hoffmann were appointed as fellows in the College’s Center for Behavioral and Social Sciences for the projects "Does religious diversity in a geographic area boost or diminish religious commitment and participation?" and "We stand before the law:  World War I and the condemnation and support of United States Congressman Victor Berger," respectively.

Gradute student Rong Fu received the Task Force for Minority Issues in Gerontology Student Poster Award from the Gerontological Society of America.

The Center on Religion and Chinese Society and the China Data Center at the University of Michigan have received a three-year, $400,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for the project by "Spatial Study of Chinese Religions and Society." For details, see

Prof. Rachel Einwohner was inducted into Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers.  The induction “honors outstanding teaching faculty who have demonstrated sustained excellence in the classroom.” These appointments occur once every five years. 

Prof. Jill Suitor and Prof. Megan Gilligan's (Iowa State Univeristy; PhD Purdue '13) research on continuity in parental favoritism was recently featured in the Washington Post.

Prof. Fenggang Yang, Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society, was recently interviewed in the New York Times.

Prof. Kenneth Ferraro is the Chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America, the nation’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research on aging.  The section is comprised of about 2,500 professionals interested in aging, including sociologists, psychologists, and epidemiologists.

Prof. Markus Schafer (U of Toronto; PhD Purdue '11), Prof. Kenneth Ferraro, and Prof. Sarah Mustillo received the 2013 Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award from the Gerontological Society of America for their article, “Children of Misfortune:  Early Adversity and Cumulative Inequality in Perceived Life Trajectories,” in the American Journal of Sociology.

Prof. Mike Vuolo received the 2013 Junior Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco

Prof. Mike Vuolo’s research from a recent publication in Pediatrics was featured on the NBC Today Show.

Graduate student Joy Kadowaki's paper - “Doing Professionalism”: Emotional Labor and Professional Display Among Lawyers as Client Advisors" - has received an honorable mention for the ASAs Sociology of Emotions Section graduate student paper award!  For the same paper, Joy was a co-recipient of the department's outstanding graduate student paper award this year.

For more past news events see the News Archive.