Social Sciences

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 child development. 


The 12 departments that comprise the Social Sciences Division — African American Studies, Anthropology, Demography, Economics, Ethnic Studies, Geography, Gender and Women’s Studies, History, Linguistics, 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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