The Sociology/Anthropology department reflects the shared intellectual foundations and common areas of inquiry in sociology and anthropology, as well as their distinct disciplinary differences. While the main focus of sociology has been on the range of social relationships in complex societies, anthropology has concentrated on the transformation of traditional societies and cross-cultural comparisons. Faculty members facilitate this holistic approach informally through close interaction with each other and students and formally through Advanced Research/Practicum, a “senior capstone experience” that brings together in one classroom both anthropology faculty and students and sociology faculty and students who work collaboratively to promote a fuller understanding of research and practice. Moreover, although students declare a major with an emphasis in either sociology or anthropology, they must also take at least two electives in the discipline that is not their focus; thus sociology-emphasis majors must take two courses in anthropology and vice versa.
The faculty encourages hands-on learning via research and internships, recognizing that these two endeavors are not mutually exclusive activities. Recent internships have included working with such organizations as the Conway Community Garden, Heifer Project International Ranch, and the Arkansas Department of Health. Original research projects have examined issues such as the medicalization of childbirth, uses of forensic anthropology, representations of femininity and masculinity in romance novels, domestic violence, gendered and sexual meanings of Barbie, the doll, and a photography project documenting paper production from an environmental sociological perspective.