Department of Sociology

“Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.”

C. Wright Mills

The Department of Sociology at Sam Houston State University is committed to furthering knowledge of social life, social change, and the causes and consequences of human behavior using the context of globalization. While in the program, students develop the “sociological advantage,” or the ability to examine interpersonal relationships and relate them to the larger social world.

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The Sociology Department and the Sociology Graduate Program post on social media regularly. Be sure to check out our pages so you don't miss out on anything interesting.

November 8, 2016: Dr. Bonanno filmed a video for the Rural Extension Service of Mexico that is employed to educate more than 1500 extension agents in that country. These are technicians who are involved the socio-economic development of rural communities.

October 25, 2016: Center for Rural Studies featured on front page of the Huntsville Item

Article by Cody Stark

"A study conducted by two sociology professors at Sam Houston State University shows that an ambulance being stationed in Riverside would be beneficial to improving emergency medical services to residents in northeast Walker County.

Dr. Shannon Lane and Dr. Michael Fortunato shared the preliminary results of their findings with the Commissioners Court on Monday during a brief presentation at the Walker County Courthouse. Lane said that the Riverside City Council had approached the sociology department at SHSU several months ago to research how adding an ambulance in the city could reduce response times.

“The original issues were brought forth because there were citizens over in the Riverside area of the county who were reporting ambulance response times right around 30 minutes,” Lane said. “When we applied our geo-mapping systems to those actual addresses utilized by those citizens’ concerns, the ambulance response times were coming right at or around 30 minutes so we were able, in fact, to confirm the citizens’ hypothesis and their basic justifications for the request were valid.”

Fortunato pointed out that the demographics were changing in the Riverside area, which added to the need for an ambulance service to be added. He said the need would only increase as the population continues to grow in that portion of the county.

“What we are seeing in that part of the county is that because of the scenic amenities in that part of the county, there are a lot of retirees that are moving out that way,” Fortunato said. “It is actually one of the fastest growing areas of the county. I believe there are about 7,500 people living in a 10-mile radius (of Riverside), more than 10,000 within 15 minutes.

“... We believe in terms of the citizens of Riverside that they certainly can make a case that is grounded in fact that there is a substantial need to reduce the response time.”

Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie White said that the Court was aware of the need for an ambulance to be put in Riverside and that it was something they would look into once the study is complete. Walker County Emergency Medical Services is currently working on getting the call times to Lane and Fortunato so the researches can see how many actual health-related emergencies come from the Riverside area.

“I think the population has definitely grown out in the Riverside area and we need to look at what we can do to get an ambulance there,” White said. “We finally got one in the New Waverly area and that has reduced the response times tremendously.”

Lane mentioned that there were grants the county could explore that could help fund the ambulance and a building to house the vehicle, and the emergency medical staff who would be running it. She said there was “a lot of money out there for rural first response.”

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jimmy Henry asked that Lane and Fortunato bring that information back with them the next time they come to Court to conduct another presentation with County Judge Danny Pierce, who missed Monday’s meeting because of an illness, when the study is complete.

'I would like to know more about the grants that are available,” Henry said. “I think that is something we really need to look at. I think we are all in agreement that Riverside definitely needs an ambulance over there. I don’t think you will have a problem selling the Court on it, it’s just the linguistics of coming up with the money.'"

October 20, 2016: A panel of community representatives offered their perspectives on the impacts of shale oil and gas development at the October 5, 2016 open meeting of the TAMEST Shale Task Force. This panel was moderated by our very own Dr. Gene Theodori.

September 26, 2016: Dr. Bonanno presents at the 2016 International Congress of Agri-Food

Bonanno Mexico September 2016

Dr. Alessandro Bonanno was the key note speaker at the "2016 International Congress of Agri-Food" which was held at Autlán de Navarro, Mexico, September 22-24. Speaking in Spanish, Dr. Bonanno discussed the characteristics of globalization in agri-food and their future implications for Latin America and Mexico in particular. 

September 9, 2016: Fall 2016 Graduate Newsletter

September 7, 2016: Sociology professor featured on Today@Sam

Furjen Deng, Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department, was recently featured on Today@Sam as she discussed how she was able to learn from her own experience in order to educate Asian Americans on the risks and options associated with cancer.

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September 7, 2016: This semester's first meeting of the Sociology Club!

All majors are welcome to join. There will be free pizza!

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August 1, 2016: Saludos desde Agentina!

Dr. Alessandro Bonanno is currently in Argentina where he is presenting at the International Conference "Social Subjects and the Agrarian Territory in Latin America".

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July 2016: 3rd Annual International Sociological Association Sociology Forum (July 10-14, 2016 Vienna, Austria)

Several faculty members were able to attend this years forum entitled "The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World".

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Dr. Doug Constance and Dr. Lee Miller enjoying their time in Vienna


July 13, 2016: Congratulations to Dr. Alessandro Bonanno on his recent publication entitled "The Contradictions of Neoliberal Agri-Food: Corporations, Resistance, and Disasters in Japan"!

Book Cover


April 2016: Sociology Instructor Gene Theodori delivers presentations to packed audience.

As part of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College's 2016 Homecoming festivities, Dr. Gene Theodori recently traveled to ABAC to deliver three presentations on community and how to define what community is. Read the article featuring Dr. Theodori here! For the ABAC newsletter with an article about Dr. Theodori's visit, click here!


April 2016: Darren Marshall joins the Center for Rural Studies in April.

Darren Marshall, a colleague from Australia, will be joining the Center for Rural Studies in April and will be giving a presentation here at SHSU on the feral hog management effort in Australia. The presentation will be held on Thursday April 14th in the LSC Theater from 2:00pm-3:30pm. Directly following the presentation there will be a reception in LSC 110. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided. The event is free, no registration is required, and ALL students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend. Dr. Michael Fortunato can be contacted for questions.


March 18, 2016: Medicine-Humanities-Social Sciences Round Table Symposium

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences will host a Medicine-Humanities-Social Sciences Symposium, in which invited SHSU faculty and staff will share the work that they are doing in their fields and discuss how that work contributes especially to regional and community health care and research initiatives. See our flyer for more information.


February 2016: Sociology Instructor Amy Kirk featured in SHSU Online article on the benefits of online course interactivity.


February 2016: Sociology Instructor Brooklynn Wynveen featured in SHSU Online article on the benefits of online course interactivity.


January 25, 2016: Dr. Furjen Deng receives a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

Collaborating with Dr. Helen Sun (Project Director), Light and Salt Association and Dr. Lei-Shih Chen (Co-PD), Texas A&M University, Dr. Deng (Co-PD) received a 3-year grant (PP160036, $1,101,986, 12/1/2015 to 11/30/2018) under the Evidence-Based Cancer Prevention Service award mechanism of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The title of the project is to establish a comprehensive cancer prevention and support program within Asian American communities in Houston and Austin areas of Texas. The project is a joint effort of 12 AA community-based organizations, clinics and universities to reduce cancer incidence and deaths in Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino and Korean populations in the Houston and Austin areas. The project targets four most preventive cancer sites: breast, colorectal, cervical and liver. Through coordinated efforts, resource sharing and providing appropriate training for staff and volunteers, the proposed project targets 49% of Texas' total AA population and will significantly enhance AA communities' capacities to address cancer disparities within different AA subgroups.


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