The Department of Sociology and Anthropology integrates two disciplines, benefiting from their shared interests while maintaining their distinct identities. The department is committed to pursuing matters that anthropology and sociology have shared since their inception—understanding the imprint of culture on all social life, the significance of power for human institutions, the value of comparative, global analysis, and the importance of scholarship that engages the most pressing public concerns.
The department's undergraduate and graduate programs are designed to take advantage of George Mason's proximity to the nation's capital. The academic programs in sociology and anthropology hold an increasing relevance for policymakers, concerned citizens, and many professionals in the post-9/11 world.
The faculty are engaged in a wide range of research projects that have lasting impact.
Sociology provides a systematic way to study issues of justice and inequality, freedom and social control, and institutions and social identity. Sociologists ask how social movements arise, how racial categories are constructed, how notions of deviance take shape, and how social inequality shapes our lives. In short, sociology seeks to grasp human behavior in all its varied forms. The sociological imagination is an important catalyst for effective public debates and decisions about important social issues --especially so in a setting marked by rapid cultural and economic change.
"[Anthropology] is less a subject matter than a bond between subject matters. It is in part history, part literature; in part natural science, part social science; it strives to study men both from within and without; it represents both a manner of looking at man and a vision of man--the most scientific of the humanities, the most humanist of sciences" --Eric Wolf, Anthropology, 1974.
The department has an active archaeology program.