Although the department's faculty have a wide array of research interests, we emphasize four areas:
- The historical and comparative study of major institutions and social processes – for example, political and economic development, social movements, religion, nationalism, and ethnic relations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
- The study of the sociology of culture, including sociology of knowledge and intellectuals, political culture, religion, the culture of work, education and socialization, comparative moral cultures, or the cultural dimensions of ethnicity, gender, and class.
- The study of social inequalities, including those based on class, gender, race, language, citizenship, and sexuality.
- The study of science, technology, and medicine, including the historical sociology of scientific knowledge and practice, science and the state, science and social movements, science and social control, the scientific revolution, et cetera.