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Painting by Paul Gaugin

About Us

Sociology and Anthropology at URI is unique in a number of ways:

  • a close community of faculty with a broad spectrum of interests
  • three different degree programs each with the flexibility to meet individual interests
  • nationally and internationally known faculty who teach courses at all levels of the curriculum, from introductions to the field to senior seminars and independent study
  • exciting opportunities for experiential learning in criminal justice, archaeology, sustainable indigenous agriculture, coastal cultures and fisheries, human services, and more
  • supporting students through the provision of individual attention and personalized advising

What's Happening Now

Dionne Julius (left) and Mecca Smith (second from right),were selected as winners of the President's Excellence Award in Sociology and Anthropology respectively. The were joined on that happy occasion byProfessor Rosaria Pisa and Professor Jill Doerner.





Kris Bovy and her work with what she calls "bird bones" will receive international recognition in Winter 2011. Kris is publishing "Archaeological Evidence for a Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) Colony in the Pacific Northwest, USA" in Waterbirds, an international journal on waterbird ecology and conservation. The double-crested cormorant is, as you can see, one cool-looking bird.


Carlos Garcia-Quijano (along with Tomas A. Carlo-Joglar, and Javier Arce-Nazario) will be publishing "Human Ecology of an 'Invasion': Interactions Between Humans and Introduced Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) in a Puerto Rican Estuary" in the prestigious journal, Human Organization in Spring 2011. That's the green iguana to the left, not Carlos.


Helen Mederer, Professor of Sociology, and Barbara Silver, Director of the University's NSF Advance Project have become nationally-known advocates for family-friendly policies in America's colleges and universities. The pair presented their findings at the national conference of College and University Work/Family Association held at Harvard University. Mederer and Silver urged institutions to take a distinctly sociological view of interactions between colleagues and between colleagues and supervisors (chairs, deans, etc.).

In addition, they urged close attention be paid to the underlying cultural imagery of the "ideal worker" whose career is his overriding concern while domestic concerns, including children, are left as the primary responsibility of a "stay-at-home wife." A fuller discussion of this important work can be found here.

What Students Are Saying

Professor Leo Carroll enlightened my views and broadened my perspective on things, He was that teacher who opened my eyes. He kept me interested and made me want to learn more.

Greg Borrelli, Sociology B.S., summa cum laude 2010

News & Announcements

New Faculty in Sociology:

Dr. Melanie S. Brasher has joined the department as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University in 2013. Prior to coming to URI, Dr. Brasher was a visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Dickinson College. Her appointment is a joint appointment in Sociology and in Human Development and Family Studies where she will participate in the Gerontology program. For more info click here.

Dr. Hilda Lloreans has joined the department as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut in 2005. Prior to coming to URI, she was a visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University and a Lecturer at Middlebury College. She has also held positions as a Research Associate at the University of Puerto Rico and at the Institute for Community Research in Hartford, Connecticut. For more info click here.

Early Career Faculty Research Award

For the second year in a row, an anthropologist has been awarded the University’s Early Career Research Award. Assistant Professor Holly Dunsworth received the 2014 award for her research comparing energy use in apes and other mammals with particular reference to how the energetics and metabolic parameters of pregnancy, fetal growth, infant growth, and lactation and how those determine the timing of birth in humans and other mammals. Kudos to Holly!!!

Department contacts

Department Chair
Leo Carroll,

Justice, Law & Society Minor Coordinator
Professor Leo Carroll,

Administrative Assistant
Theresa Nobile,