Academics: Majors and Programs

Sociology / Sociology and Anthropology

Learning Life

Have you ever wondered why countries use images of women to attract tourists? Or how The Coca-Cola Co. became an iconic global commodity? What about how African-American women make choices about their health care? The department of sociology and anthropology at Spelman College will guide you in finding answers to such questions.

“Instructors invite students to join together and explore ways society and history shape our individual and collective lives; and ways, as we give shape to our own lives, we literally create history,” said former chair and professor Dr. Daryl White. “We are always concerned with understanding society and culture in order to change both for the better. We call this scholar-activism.”

They're Related

Sociology and anthropology have always been closely related disciplines.  Everyday interactions juxtaposed to culture – a symbiotic relationship.   “Many of the current national and international crises can best be understood by engaging in an analysis of the sociohistorical and cultural contexts of pressing issues, and that's what we do,” said Dr. Cynthia Neal Spence, director of the UNCF/Mellon Programs and associate professor anthropology and sociology.  “Sociologists and anthropologists develop special lenses through which we view society.  These characteristics prepare our students to enter varied professional contexts upon graduation.”

Lifelong mentoring of students is a key component of the program.  It is an aspect of Spelman that one student never forgot.  She attributes the mentorship and guidance of the former long-standing chair Dr. Harry Lefever, who maintained contact with her after graduation and continued to monitor her academic progress, for her own success.  Today, that 1978 graduate, Dr. Spence, is herself a mentor to students at Spelman. 

Career Opportunities are Diverse

The effectiveness and broad practicality of the program is evidenced in the variety of postgraduate careers students pursue including law, public health, public policy and administration, higher education administration and social activism. Alumnae of the department include many accomplished leaders including Stacy Abrams, current Minority Leader of the Georgia Assembly; Dr. Marla Frederick, anthropologist, professor of African and African-American studies and professor of the study of religion, Harvard University; and Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes, associate professor of sociology and African-American studies, Northwestern University, and member of the Spelman College board of trustees.