Dr. Brad Chase, Associate Professor and Chair
Brad received his B.A. in anthropology from Northwestern University, his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007, and has been at Albion since 2008. He is an anthropological archaeologist who has participated in fieldwork in the American Midwest and Southwest, Turkey, Pakistan, and currently India, where he has been conducting research for over a decade. His teaching and research interests include the organizational dynamics of early urban societies in comparative perspective, the relationship between humans and their environments during periods of social change, and the role of material culture in the creation and maintenance of identities in the past and present. His ongoing research explores these issues in the context of the Indus Civilization in Gujarat, India, specifically focusing on changes in land-use practices and social organization with the emergence and decline of South Asia's first urban civilization. He can be reached by e-mail at .
Dr. Scott Melzer, Professor
Scott Melzer joined Albion College in 2004, soon after completing his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California - Riverside. He also completed an M.A. at UCR after receiving a B.A. in sociology from the University of Florida. His teaching and research interests are in gender, social psychology, and criminology, with particular interests in intimate violence, men & masculinities, gun politics, and social change. Scott co-founded and codirects Albion College's Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Inside-Out brings together college students and people who are incarcerated for a semester-long seminar in a correctional facility. Scott's research examines how men respond to threats to their statuses and identities. His published articles include a study of men's motivations for participating in a fight club and the impact of men's work experiences on their rates of violence against women partners. His first book (Gun Crusaders: The NRA's Culture War, NYU Press, 2009) analyzes the National Rifle Association's transformation from a recreational firearms interest group into a conservative social movement organization. He is completing another book (Manhood Impossible: Men's Struggles to Achieve, Maintain, and Transform What it Means to be a Man, Rutgers University Press, forthcoming) examining how men respond when they are unwilling or unable to fulfill body and breadwinner ideals. Dr. Melzer can be reached by e-mail at or 517/629-0421.
Dr. Lynn Verduzco-Baker, Assistant Professor
Lynn earned her Ph.D. in sociology and women's studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor after receiving her M.S. in sociology from the University of Michigan and her B.A. in English from California State University, Fresno. Her current research investigates how discourses of motherhood are negotiated by women who were low-income and teenaged (i.e., “welfare queens” and “teen moms”) when they became mothers. The findings from her work challenge the discourses, stereotypes and images of good and bad motherhood and aim to shift the conversation about low-income mothers to one of compassion and respect. Lynn approaches teaching from a social justice perspective that can be traced to her experiences as a university instructor, an English teacher at an inner-city high school and an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Her teaching interests include: intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality; poverty and inequality; popular culture; family; race and ethnicity; and social panics. Lynn can be reached by email at .
Dr. Allison Harnish, Assistant Professor
"Alli” is a cultural anthropologist specializing in rural livelihoods, international development, and human-environment relations. She earned a Ph.D. in anthropology as well as a graduate certificate in gender and women's studies from the University of Kentucky after completing a B.A. in anthropology and sociology at Western Kentucky University. Prior to coming to Albion, Alli was a part-time instructor at Transylvania University and co-organizer of the annual Dimensions of Political Ecology (DoPE) Conference on Nature/Society in Lexington, KY. Her teaching integrates economic, ecological, and feminist anthropology. Her research, which has been externally supported by the Fulbright program and the National Science Foundation, explores the gender and age dimensions of development-induced migration, environmental change, and wildlife management in Zambia. Alli teaches Native North America, Africa: Peoples and Cultures, The Global Politics of Nature, Violent Environments, and Theory and Method in Anthropology. She can be reached by e-mail at .
Dr. Matthew Schoene, Assistant Professor
Matt is a comparative sociologist specializing in global and transnational analysis, urban studies, social movement studies and quantitative methodology. He was awarded his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2015 and a B.A. in Sociology from Villanova University in 2009. Prior to arriving at Albion, he served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Davidson College in North Carolina. Matt’s research uses multilevel modeling and quantitative methods to uncover the effect of urbanization on social movement activity in a cross-national context. His current projects include an examination of how rising inequality influenced European protest activity in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, as well as a cross-national analysis of how international media sources covered anti-austerity protests. At Albion, Matt teaches courses in Statistics, Quantitative Research Methods, Urban Sociology and Globalization, as well as future area studies courses. He is particularly excited to work with students interested in doing their own quantitative research project. Dr. Schoene can be reached by e-mail at or 517/629-0603.
Dr. Len Berkey, Professor Emeritus
Dr. Berkey received a B.A. from Colgate University in 1969 and a Ph.D in sociology from Michigan State University in 1982. In the interim, he attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He retired in 2012 and moved with his wife Ramona to Tacoma, WA to be closer to family. He has taught part-time at the UW Tacoma for the past two years. Len's research and teaching interests are in racial and ethnic relations, white privilege, and the formation of personalidentities in multicultural societies.
Graduates from the Anthropology and Sociology Department at Albion College have gone on to pursue graduate training and careers in a number of fields. Knowledge and skills in anthropology and sociology are valuable for those pursuing careers in public administration, politics, social services, counseling, public health, journalism, market research, urban planning, and law. Our graduates have become biostatisticians, urban planners, lawyers, physicians, veterinarians, and news reporters. Graduates have also gone on to academic careers in anthropology, sociology, and related fields.
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One of the most unique features of an education at Albion College is the opportunities available for students to complete original research. Working closely with faculty mentors, students define the scope of their research and carry it through to completion. Doing independent research allows students to pursue their intellectual passions and to make connections among diverse fields of knowledge.
Majors in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology are strongly encouraged to consider writing a senior honors thesis. Writing a thesis is certainly not the best choice for everyone, but for many it is an important opportunity. Completing a senior thesis can be especially valuable experience for students interested in graduate study and in possibly one day writing a master's thesis or a doctoral dissertation. Completing a thesis allows students to work closely with a committee of scholars and learn about the process of doing scholarly research and writing.
Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible to submit a thesis for departmental honors. Usually students begin thinking about possible topics in their 2nd or 3rd year and discussing ideas with faculty who might be appropriate advisors and committee members. Students often use a thesis to explore possible career interests. Others may feel their career plans are well set and see their thesis projects as opportunities to delve into something in which they are passionately interested before entering medical school, law school, etc. Some students use off-campus study as the basis for a thesis project and find that the thesis helps build a bridge between their experience off-campus and their final year at Albion (students often feel their interests in another part of the world or the country have only been whetted by the time they complete an off-campus program--a thesis project might be a way to further explore those interests).
Ideally, students who want to write an honors thesis will complete some research prior to their senior year or at least write a well-developed proposal, literature review, or introductory chapter. Senior year, thesis-writers typically register for a full unit of coursework with their dissertation advisor both fall and spring semesters.
For more information about research at Albion, visit the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (FURSCA) website.
What can you do with a major in anthropology or sociology? Our alumni have put their skills to work in an amazingly wide array of fields. They include politicians, museum administrators, doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, social workers, school principals, city planners, human resource managers, market researchers, and journalists as well as professors of anthropology and sociology.
A major in anthropology and/or sociology provides you with a well-rounded education. How students apply that education to specific careers depends on their particular interests and skills. Some of our alumni have become influential anthropologists and sociologists. Many of our students go on to medical schools, law schools, or other professional schools. Professional schools value students with a strong record of research, writing, and analysis -- skills that can be put to work in fields that don't yet even exist.
Many students find that a career grows out of specific skills and work experience complementing their studies in anthropology and sociology. Are you interested in learning another language? One alumna now works as a teacher in a bilingual school; another works as a bilingual human services manager; and one runs a study abroad program in Spain. Many recent students have found other specific skills enhance their career options. Consider getting useful training in video making, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), or photography. Our students often apply such skills in a senior thesis or other independent research. Many have found such skills help them find jobs after graduation.
You can study almost anything anthropologically or sociologically. That makes it possible to study anthropology or sociology and also explore all sorts of careers at the same time. Our students often get academic credit for internships completed during semesters off campus -- in another country, or in programs such as the Chicago Center or the Philadelphia Center.
It is a big, fast-changing, and complex world out there. Anthropology and sociology can help you find your place in it!
For more useful information, check out The Anthropology Graduate's Guide and our professional association websites: