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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 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.”

Ken Ferraro award

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.

Prof. Fenggang Yang was a “Visiting Scientist,” University of Padova, Italy, May 15-June 15, 2014. 

Prof. Fenggang Yang’s research was recently featured in The Economist.

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.

For more past news events see the News Archive.