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In 1968 Prof. Joe Gusfield was appointed the founding chair of the UC San Diego Sociology department. Gusfield was joined in that first year by Jack Douglas, and soon after by Bennett Berger, Aaron Cicourel, Cesar Grana, and Fred Davis. Although they approached their subjects from somewhat different perspectives, these were all poineers in the emerging field of studies of social interaction and the foundation had been laid for an exciting new approach to sociology. The addition of Jacqueline Wiseman, Chandra Mukerji, and Carlos Waisman to the faculty consolidated UC San Diego's reputation as a major place for this approach.

The department gained recognition and undergraduate enrollments steadily increased, but with the additions of Randall Collins, Will Wright, Bruce Johnson, Rae Blumberg, Bud Mehan, David Phillips, Bennetta Jules-Rosette, and Kristin Luker, the department was ready not just to handle the influx of students but to provide them with some new points of view. The new faculty members turned the attention of UC San Diego sociology toward the major social movements that sometimes challenged them. There was also a move to look beyond the United States to developing countries. Ruben Rumbaut began pioneering work on the sociology of immigration. The arrival of Andrew Scull, Tim McDaniel, and Richard Madsen furthered the move toward comparative historical sociology.

Later, the department also began to broaden methodologically, emphasizing quantitative as well as the qualitative approaches that had marked its early years. This helped to attract graduate students on an even larger scale.The growing needs of sociology students were met by the addition of Michael Schudson, Chuck Nathanson, Gershon Shafir, Jeff Haydu, Mary Freifeld, Richard Biernacki, Juan Diaz-Medrano, Akos Rona-Tas, Leon Zamosc, Christena Turner, Martha Lampland, Ivan Evans, Peter Evans, Harvey Goldman, Rebecca Klatch, Mary Ruggie, Steve Cornell, Ricardo Stanto-Salazar, Steve Epstein, Lisa Catenzareta, Ali Gheissari, Mounira Charrad, and Maria Charles.

During most of the 90s, the undergraduate education was greatly enriched by the teaching of Steve Lincoln. Since the late 90s, the department has been joined by John Skrentny, John Evans, Mary Blair-Loy, Amy Binder, Kwai Ng, Isaac Martin, Charles Thorpe, David Fitzgerald and Tom Medvetz. This new generation brings cutting edge theory and methodology to bear on some of the most important political and cultural issues of the new century.

Explore these pages to learn more about our faculty, staff, graduate students, alumni, and more.

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