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Welcome to Berkeley Sociology

Berkeley’s Sociology Department is known around the world for its excellence in research and teaching. Our faculty advance cutting edge research and teach in most sociological specialities. Our PhDs are leaders in universities and research centers across the US and in many other countries. And our BAs populate the ranks of innumerable professions, bringing with them the skills and special perspective of Berkeley sociology. 

We are proud to make these contributions from the world’s leading public university. At Berkeley, we combine intellectual rigor with a commitment to public service through our research, teaching, and service on campus and beyond. 

For the past six decades, Berkeley’s Sociology Department has consistently been ranked among the world’s top sociology departments. Our graduate program is ranked #1 in the latest U.S. News and World Report, and our undergrad degree is currently the best in the US according to College Factual and features on Grad Reports’ Best College List 2020.

Faculty Spotlight
Danya Lagos
Assistant Professor
Sex and Gender, Demography, Survey Methods, Health, Social Change, Embodiment
Ann Swidler
Professor of the Graduate School
Culture, religion, theory, institutionalization, African responses to HIV/AIDS; social ecologies of religion in Africa; chieftaincy, congregational religion and capacities for collective action
Robert Braun
Assistant Professor
Comparative Historical Sociology; Peace, War, and Social Conflict; Social Movements and Collective Behavior
In Memoriam
Albert Einstein (1941)
Albert Einstein (1941)
EMERITUS PROFESSOR

Prof. Einstein served graduate students as a model of prudence in remaining unfashionably true to the grand…

Faculty Publishing
As debate rages over the widening and destructive gap between the rich and the rest of Americans, Claude Fischer and his colleagues present a comprehensive new treatment of inequality in ...

Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth

As debate rages over the widening and destructive gap between the rich and the rest of Americans, Claude Fischer and his colleagues present a comprehensive new treatment of inequality in America. They challenge arguments that expanding inequality is the natural, perhaps necessary, accompaniment of economic growth. They refute the claims of the incendiary bestseller The Bell Curve (1994) through a clear, rigorous re-analysis of the very data its authors, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, used to contend that inherited differences in intelligence e...
Teach-In Seminar
[homepage] colloquium

Departmental Colloquium Series

Elisabeth Anderson. Agents of Reform: Child Labor and the Origins of the Welfare State

Monday, September 27, 2-3:30pm via Zoom

The beginnings of the modern welfare state are often traced to the late nineteenth-century labor movement and to policymakers’ efforts to appeal to working-class voters. But regulatory welfare actually began a half century earlier with the passage of child labor laws. Middle-class reformers in Europe and the U.S. defined child labor as a threat to social order, built alliances to maneuver around powerful political blocks, and instituted new employment protections that initiated the partial decommodification of "free" labor. Later in the century, now with the help of an organized working class, they created factory inspectorates to strengthen and routinize the state’s capacity to intervene in industrial working conditions. Through seven in-depth case studies of key policy episodes, Agents of Reform (Princeton University Press, 2021) moves beyond standard narratives of interests and institutions toward an integrated understanding of how these interact with individual agency to produce pathbreaking institutional change.