Sociology

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SOCIOLOGY!

Sociologists study the social forces that shape human behavior. As social beings, we interact with, shape, and are shaped by our relationships with others and with our social and ecological environments. For Give Day this year, we are highlighting Environmental Sociology and Sociological Animal Studies. The climate crisis we face is in part a social crisis – we can’t solve it unless we learn how to change human behavior.

Environmental sociologists and conservation photographers work together to save animals:

Which of these two pictures is more compelling?

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WWU Assistant Professor of Sociology Cameron T. collaborates with renowned animal photographer Tim Flach (https://timflach.com/) to study how different animal images influence human emotions.  Their award-winning paper titled “Using Animal Portraiture to Activate Emotional Affect“ asserts that people who viewed portraits of animals (the picture on the right) reported increased empathy as compared to those who viewed traditional conservation photos of animals in their habitats (the picture on the left).  Whitley, Kalof and Flach (2021) engage with the concept of “critical anthropomorphism” to argue that animal portraiture can be used as an “attention grabber” to promote empathy and conservation behaviors.

Authors: Cameron Whitley, Linda Kalof and Tim Flach at Tim’s studio in London in 2019

PLEASE HELP US PROVIDE SOCIOLOGY STUDENTS WITH INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES!

Sociology students who rely on financial aid funds to attend Western tell us that summer tuition costs prevent them from pursuing a summer internship and enrolling in our internship course. The summer internship course is not covered by financial aid funds. For the first time this year, the Sociology Department is offering a Summer Internship Scholarship that will cover the tuition costs for the summer internship course (~$1,300). Please help us to build this scholarship fund so that more students can take advantage of internship opportunities.

We greatly appreciate your support to #WWUGiveDay! To learn more about the department, please follow us on Instagram @wwusociology or find us on WWU Sociology Department | Facebook.

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