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Department ofSociology


44th Annual Departments of Anthropology and Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference

Last year was the 44th year of the Annual Western Departments of Anthropology and Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference. This annual event, with the generous support of our alumni, facilitates communication and professional exchange among students and faculty from colleges and universities throughout the Western United States. To do so, each year faculty and students from the Anthropology and Sociology Departments participate in this much anticipated event that welcomes undergraduates and their advisors to our campus.

This year, an exciting array of research was presented by undergraduate students from institutions including our own SCU, University of San Francisco, Saint Mary's College of California, Gettysburg College, Stanford University, CSCU Fresno, UC Santa Cruz, Vanguard University, and University of the Pacific. The students’ research broached many topics with implications for archeology, ecology, healthcare, gender studies, ethnic studies, the life course, institutions, and social problems. Carrying on its tradition of undergraduate excellence in the social sciences, the Conference promoted original empirical and theoretical research at the undergraduate level in Anthropology and Sociology.

As part of the Conference, the Anthropology and Sociology Departments hosted Gabriel Ignatow as the keynote speaker. Prof. Ignatow spoke on “Digital Social Science: Entering a New Era of Challenges and Opportunities.” His keynote address examined the emergent field of study increasingly being called “digital sociology.” Discussing topics such as cloud computing, social media, and data mining, he identified major societal and technological trends relevant to social sciences including anthropology and sociology. Professor Ignatow’s talk probed how sociologists, anthropologists, and other social scientists can transition and flourish in a new arena of social sciences informed by new technologies. He addressed transforming existing research methods and building new methodological tools, increasing awareness of ethical challenges unique to the digital age, and understanding social problems being engendered by new technologies. Ignatow’s talk closed with a discussion of new opportunities for sociologists and anthropologists to engage in high tech fields, work with technologists, and to study technology critically using their social scientific imaginations.