Social Sciences


Dean Raka Ray began her term as dean of social sciences at UC Berkeley on January 1, 2020. Dean Ray is an award-winning mentor and teacher, and has previously held several leadership positions at UC Berkeley, including Chair of the Institute of South Asia Studies (2003-2012), Chair of the Department of Sociology (2012-2015), and Chair of the Academic Senate Committee on Budget and Interdepartmental Relations.  Ray is much in demand as a speaker on issues ranging from gender and feminist theory, postcolonial sociology, contemporary politics in the US and India, and her current project on the transformations in gender wrought by the decline of traditional fields of work for men. Ray’s publications include Fields of Protest: Women’s Movements in India (University of Minnesota, 1999; and in India, Kali for Women, 2000), Social Movements in India: Poverty, Power, and Politics, co-edited with Mary Katzenstein (Rowman and Littlefeld, 2005), Cultures of Servitude: Modernity, Domesticity and Class in India with Seemin Qayum (Stanford 2009), The Handbook of Gender (OUP, India 2011), Both Elite and Everyman: The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes, co-edited with Amita Baviskar (Routledge, 2011), The Social Life of Gender (Sage 2017) co-edited with Jennifer Carlson and Abigail Andrews, and many articles and op-eds. Dean Ray earned a Bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College (1985), and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1993). She has been a Professor of Sociology and South and Southeast Asia Studies at the University of California, Berkeley since 1993.


Visit The Social Sciences Matrix for daily news and insights about the COVID-19 coronavirus from the UC Berkeley social science community.

The Division

The social sciences study the common elements and collective dimensions of the human experience. Scholars in this division of the College of Letters & Science focus on topics as varied as color perception, language acquisition, climate change, sexuality, social identity, markets and risk, wages and work, civil rights and political institutions, kinship and culture, international relations, epochal change, and early childhood development.

The 15 departments and programs that comprise the Social Sciences Division — African American Studies, Anthropology, Cognitive Psychology, Demography, Economics, Ethnic Studies, Geography, Gender and Women’s Studies, History, International & Area Studies, Linguistics, Political Economy, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology — are each among the most distinguished in the nation. The division is the largest within the university, with 20 percent of the faculty and 25 percent of student enrollments. It is also the most heterogeneous, offering diverse theoretical approaches and empirical methodologies for understanding the ways in which human beings, past and present, have organized their lives. This diversity offers scholars and students an unparalleled opportunity to range far and wide in their search for solutions to individual, social, and global problems.

Dean and Staff

Dean:  Raka Ray
Associate Dean:  Maximilian Auffhammer
Associate Dean: Leonardo Arriola
Director of Academic Administration:  Jessica Knowlton
Assistant Director of Academic Personnel: Annie Viveier
Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration: Holli Griffin Strauss
Assistant Dean of Development: Christian Gordon
Director of Development:  Anya Essiounina
Associate  Director of Development: Erik Lehto

Associate Director of Development: Tara McCulloch

Communications Specialist: Hagit Caspi

Graduate Diversity Director:  Vacant
Assistant to the Dean: Randi Shussett

Academic Departments

African American Studies Interim Chair Nikki Jones
Anthropology Chair Rosemary Joyce
Cognitive Science Program Director David Whitney 
Demography Chair Jennifer Johnson-Hanks
Economics Chair David Romer
Ethnic Studies Chair Juana Maria Rodriguez
Gender and Women's Studies Chair Laura Nelson
Geography Chair Robert Rhew
History Chair Peter Zinoman
International & Area Studies Program Associate Dean Maximilian Auffhammer
Linguistics Chair Keith Johnson
Charles & Louise Travers Department of Political Science Chair Chris Ansell
Political Economy Director Steven Vogel
Psychology Chair Ann Kring
Sociology Interim Chair Neil Fligstein


In addition, L&S offers interdisciplinary majors in Legal Studies (in cooperation with the School of Law) and in Social Welfare (in cooperation with the School of Social Welfare). L&S also offers interdisciplinary major and minor programs through Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies.


Related Research Units and Museums

*Reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research

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