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Welcome to the Department of Sociology

Faculty opening: Department Head

PhDs on the job market

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


The Gerontology Society of America announced Prof. Jill Suitor (left) as the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award.  In presenting the award, Toni Antonucci noted that, "Suitor has pursued a vigorous and innovative program of research that has shed new light on intergenerational relations in the second half of life."

Jill Suitor award

Graduate student Patricia Morton and Prof. Kenneth F. Ferraro won the 2014 Best Paper Award for Theoretical Developments in Social Gerontology from the Gerontological Society of America.  Their paper is entitled, "What Do We Mean by Accumulation? Advancing Conceptual Precision for a Core Idea in Gerontology."

Candy Lawson received the "Bravo Award." The Award "seeks to highlight the excellence found across all areas and job functions at Purdue University by recognizing extraordinary achievements on every scale." 

Prof. Jean Beaman and Prof. Mangala Subramaniam received a Global Synergy Research Grant of $25,000 from the President’s Office for organizing an international research symposium entitled, "New Approaches to Citizenship and Inequality: Gender, Race, and Rights."

Prof. Mangala Subramaniam was elected as the Treasurer of Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS).

Prof. Daniel Olson was elected to a three year term on the board of directors of the Religious Research Association.

Prof. Fenggang Yang's research was featured in several outlets, including CNN, Time, The Economist, and ABC Radio.

The American Sociological Association announced Kenneth F. Ferraro as the 2014 winner of the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award. In conferring the award, Deborah Carr, Chair of ASA’s Section on Aging and the Life Course, noted Ferraro’s “methodological, theoretical, and substantive contributions to social gerontology and his dedicated mentorship of graduate students.  We truly cannot think of a more deserving candidate.”

Prof. Patricia A. Thomas’s research was featured in the New York Times.

Prof. Richard Hogan was the chair of the Marxist Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association, spearheading a recruitment campaign resulting in 35 new members.

Prof. Rachel Einwohner was recently named Deputy Editor for Gender & Society, the premier specialty journal in the study of gender.

For more past news events see the News Archive.