The Sociology Department brings together a faculty of nationally recognized scholars who are committed to working with talented undergraduates.

Dan Chambliss, Ph.D., The Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology

Areas of Expertise: higher education, research methods, social theory, and organizations.
A member of the Hamilton faculty since 1981, Dan Chambliss earned a master's and Ph.D. from Yale University. His research interests are formal organizations, social psychology and research methods. More >>

His 1996 book, Beyond Caring: Hospitals, Nurses and the Social Organization of Ethics, won the Eliot Freidson Prize in 1998 for the best book in the preceding two years in medical sociology from the American Sociological Association. He is also the winner of the ASA's Theory Prize for his work on organizational excellence. Chambliss is also the author of Champions: The Making of Olympic Swimmers, which was named the 1991 Book of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee, and co-author, with Russell Schutt of Making Sense of the Social World, a research methods textbook currently in its fourth edition.  He was appointed to the Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professorship in 2005.  Chambliss is co-author with Christopher Takacs '05 of How College Works, published in January 2014 by Harvard University Press.

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Ben DiCicco-Bloom, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

DiCicco-Bloom received his B.A. from Cornell University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. His research and teaching interests include Health and Illness, Disability, Ethnographic Methods, and American Society and Interdependence. More >>

DiCicco-Bloom’s primary project at the moment is continued research and drafting of a book manuscript in connection with a longitudinal ethnographic study of the experiences of families with adults with autism (under contract with Princeton University Press). Growing out of his dissertation research—data for which includes periods of time when DiCicco-Bloom lived with eight of the families involved in the project—the manuscript explores how popular representations and analyses of autism tend to neglect the experiences of adults with the diagnosis and those of their families and other caretakers, and how close examinations of these experiences reshape our understanding of autism specifically and disability, aging, and American culture more broadly. DiCicco-Bloom is also co-investigator on a team project exploring interactions between occupational groups in medicine, including primary care and hospice settings. DiCicco-Bloom’s research has been published in the journals Sociological  Theory and Youth & Society, and he has a forthcoming piece in an edited volume exhibiting contemporary research on adults with autism.

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Stephen Ellingson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology

Areas of Expertise: sociology of religion, culture, collective behavior and social movements.
Stephen Ellingson came to Hamilton from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, Calif., where he was assistant professor of the sociology of religion. More >>

Ellingson earned a doctorate and master’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. His research interests are the sociology of religion, sociology of culture, and social movements and collective behavior. His current research, funded by the Louisville Institute, examines the relationships among religious and non-religious environmental organizations.

He is the author of The Megachurch and the Mainline: Remaking Religious Tradition in the Twenty-First Century (University of Chicago Press, 2007), which won the 2007 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is also co-author of The Sexual Organization of the City (University of Chicago Press, 2004); co-editor of Religion and Sexuality in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Routledge, 2002) and co-author of Organizational Ethics in Health Care: Principles, Cases and Practical Solutions (Jossey-Bass, 2001).

He has also taught at the Park Ridge Center for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Health Care and the University of Chicago. Ellingson has served as book review co-editor and associate editor of the American Journal of Sociology.

Dennis Gilbert, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology

Areas of Expertise: Social class in America, growing inequality, middle class, distribution of income (U.S. and International Comparisons), and Mexico.
Dennis Gilbert, who joined the Hamilton faculty in 1976, earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University. More >>

Gilbert’s primary research interests are Latin American society and history and the American class system. Gilbert is the author of The American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality (Sage, 2011), Mexico's Middle Class in the Neoliberal Era (University of Arizona Press, 2007), Sandinistas: the Party and the Revolution (Blackwell, 1988), and La Oligarquía Peruana: Historia de Tres familias (Horizonte, 1982).

In 1990, he was research director to the successful congressional campaign of Bernard Sanders (Independent-VT) and later served as legislative assistant in Sanders' congressional office.

In collaboration with the polling firm Zogby International, Gilbert and his Hamilton students have conducted a series of widely reported national surveys, most examining the views of high school students, on such topics as gun control, gay rights, abortion, Muslims in America, and patriotism.

Jaime Kucinskas, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

Areas of Expertise: Sociology of Religion, Social Movements, Organizations, Research Methods, Culture
Jaime Kucinskas completed her B.A. at Colorado College and her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in sociology at Indiana University. More >>

Her research interests span the sociology of religion, inequality, social movements, cultural and organizational change, and field development.  Kucinskas is currently conducting research on the mainstreaming of Buddhist meditation and on lived religion in secular institutions in the West.  Part of her dissertation research was awarded the Graduate Student Paper Award by the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Section. Kucinskas has also conducted research on global income inequality and gender inequality in the Middle East. Her work on global income inequality was awarded the Best Article Awards of the ASA’s Global and Transnational section and Political Economy of the World System section. Kucinskas has published in the American Journal of Sociology and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. She also has forthcoming work in the Sociology of Religion.

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Yvonne Zylan, Ph.D., Chair, Associate Professor of Sociology

Areas of Expertise: law and society, the state and social policy, political sociology, gender and sexuality, and social movements.
Yvonne Zylan, associate professor of sociology and department chair, earned a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Yale University, a Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and a juris doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law. More >>

Zylan has published articles in the Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Gender & Society, Social Forces, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.  Zylan's book - a study of sexuality, social theory and the law titled States of Passion: Law, Identity, and the Social Construction of Desire - was published by Oxford University Press in spring 2011. Her areas of scholarship include law and society, sexuality, social theory, political sociology, and the state and social policy. Prior to joining the Hamilton faculty, Zylan practiced law for three years in the litigation department at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.