Student Research and Community Engagement


Anthropology+Sociology majors have many opportunities to conduct and present research on culture and society. Seniors design and conduct an in-depth thesis project that results in written and oral presentations. Students regularly present their work at regional and national conferences, and are also encouraged to seek venues for publishing their written work. Faculty members actively mentor students and aid them in finding additional support to expand their research, from on-campus funding to prestigious fellowships such as the Fulbright. Individual faculty members also involve talented Anth+Soc student researchers in their own ongoing research, on topics ranging from conservation dilemmas in Brazil to U.S. immigration policy and the social dynamics of physical activity among American youth.

Producing Undergraduate Scholarship

JUE logoThe Department of Anthropology+Sociology hosts the Journal of Undergraduate Ethnography, an online interdisciplinary journal of qualitative research conducted by advanced undergraduates. The journal seeks contributions from across the English-speaking world, and RWU students on the editorial board work on every step of the journal production process, from manuscript selection and peer review to online publication. Dr. Jason Patch is the founder and editor-in-chief of JUE.

Internships, Co-ops, and Service Learning

While an internship is not a requirement for the major, students studying Anthropology+Sociology have dozens of opportunities to intern or otherwise acquire real world experience to complement their studies. Course credit can be earned for internships and community-engaged experiences, either through the RWU Internships Program or via independent studies with faculty sponsors. Recent internship placements include: East Bay Community Action Program, Save the Bay, and Rhode Island Housing Works.

The Anthropology+Sociology Student Club

The Anthropology+Sociology Student ClubAn officially-sanctioned student group, the RWU A+S Club pursues a variety of activities to bring their studies of sociocultural diversity to life. The club has sponsored film series, multicultural cuisine feasts, and a variety of charitable ventures. In 2012, the club raised over $1,000 to aid in the reconstruction of a Kamayurá village in Brazil that had been destroyed by fires set by encroaching ranchers. 

The Department of Anthropology+Sociology sponsors two short-term study abroad programs, led by our expert faculty. “Social Life in Global Cities,” based in London and Paris, is co-directed by Dr. Jason Patch (Sociology). “Environmental Justice in Brazil,” based in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil, is co-directed by Dr. Jeremy Campbell (Anthropology). The programs are held in alternating summers, and carry between six and seven academic credits. For more information on these programs, contact the responsible faculty members or visit the Spiegel Center for Global and International Programs.

Social Life in Global Cities

Study Abroad London

This program connects students to two key global cities, London and Paris. Students visit key city sites (museums, memorials, and street markets), and contrast the urban social life of these cities: use of sidewalks, use of public transportation, consumption patterns, and security practices. Attention is given to each city’s important ‘third places’, changing social geography, urban restructuring, and contemporary cultural manifestations. Students also engage in research projects incorporating introductory field research.

Environmental Justice in Brazil

Environmental Justice in Brazil

Located in the state of Minas Gerais, students engage local experts, visit a variety of culturally important sites, and conduct short-term fieldwork with local communities. In their studies of “environmental justice,” students will discover how social factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, class, and regional histories affect how communities gain access to or control over environmental resources (land, water, agricultural properties, culturally significant landscapes, etc.). A crucial bridge between studying culture and learning journalistic techniques is the process of becoming familiar with the concerns and perspectives of the local community, which students will achieve through participating in community-driven service projects with local partners. Visit the Environmental Justice in Brazil website.