The Sociology Department brings together a faculty of nationally recognized scholars who are committed to teaching 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.

More about Daniel Chambliss >>

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.

Liz Lee, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

Areas of Expertise: higher education, socioeconomic status, gender and qualitative methods.
Elizabeth M. Lee joins the faculty as a visiting assistant professor in the Sociology Department. More >>

Lee completed her doctorate in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania (2011). Her dissertation, based on ethnographic and interview data, focused on the ways low-socioeconomic status students construct feelings of belonging at an elite liberal arts college, and the ways that the college as an organization impacts upon this process. Her teaching at Hamilton will be in the areas of  education, inequality and socioeconomic mobility.

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.