University of Michigan. Dept. of Sociology.

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While courses with sociological themes had been offered at the University of Michigan within the Departments of Political Science, Political Economy, and Philosophy since the early 1880s, the first courses bearing the name "sociology" were taught by Charles Horton Cooley in 1894. Cooley achieved a national reputation as one of the foremost sociologists of his day and was elected president of the American Sociological Society in 1918.

Despite the growth in course offerings and faculty during the 1920s, sociology courses continued to be offered within the Department of Economics until 1931. In that year, a separate Department of Sociology was created and Roderick Duncan McKenzie became the first chairman. McKenzie's own interests were in the field of human ecology and he was instrumental in setting up an ongoing seminar on the Detroit metropolitan community. McKenzie died in 1940 and was succeeded by Robert Cooley Angell. During the 1940s, the department maintained a close relationship with the University of Chicago and a number of prominent sociologists from that school also taught at the University of Michigan as visiting lecturers.

At the end of World War II, Dr. Rensis Likert and a team of social psychologists were invited to Ann Arbor to establish a survey research center which, in 1948, became the Institute for Social Research. Their arrival had a twofold impact on the Department of Sociology. First, a close working relationship developed between the two units. Several members of the team were given part-time teaching positions in the department and graduate students were able to use the extensive data gathered by these researchers for their doctoral dissertations. Second, the presence of these noted social psychologists provided the momentum for the creation of one of the nation's first doctoral programs in Social Psychology in 1947. Theodore Newcomb was selected as the program's first director. Organized as an interdepartmental program, students were required to take courses in both the Departments of Sociology and Psychology. Although the program proved highly successful in attracting students and in achieving national recognition, it was dissolved in 1967. The reasons for ending the program appear to include administrative problems, disagreements over curriculum and divergent theoretical interests in the two departments. Since 1967, students have been able to concentrate on social psychology within either department but joint degrees are no longer given.

In 1952, Amos H. Hawley became chairman of the department. The 1950s and early 1960s saw the creation of a number of new programs either organized by the department or affiliated with it. In 1951, the Detroit Area Study was established. A practicum for first-year graduate students, this ongoing survey program was designed to generate useful interview data and to train graduate students in the use of that data. In 1960, the Center for Research in Social Organization was established within the department. Designed to bring together those in the department whose research focused on changes in social organization, especially within a historical context, the Center flourished during the 1970s especially under the direction of Charles Tilly. In 1961, the Population Studies Center was established outside of the department but with the participation of a number of the department's faculty. The Center coordinated studies of changing fertility rates around the world as well as population distribution in the United States.

The department had five chairmen during the 1960s and 1970s: Guy E. Swanson (1961-1964); Albert E. Reiss (1964-1970); Howard Schuman (1970-1974); William Gamson (1974-1978); and Reynolds Farley (1978-1980). By the mid-1970s, it was clear just how much the department had expanded from the immediate post war years. There were three times as many courses given in 1975 as there were in 1945. In that same time period, more than six times the number of doctorates were awarded and the departmental budget rose six-fold. Outside research grants to departmental faculty which totalled only a few thousand dollars in 1945 had risen to $650,000 in 1975. Nevertheless, faculty turnover was unusually high. From 1962 to 1975, six senior faculty members resigned to accept positions at other universities and during the subsequent ten years several others followed. In a 1979 draft of the history of the department, Robert Cooley Angell noted that, despite increases in funding, the budget crunch at the University of Michigan was clearly a factor in the high turnover rate (see Executive Committee minutes of January 23, 1980, Box 5).

From the guide to the Dept. of Sociology (University of Michigan) records, 1929-1987, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Spottswood, Mary Justina. Mary Justina Spottswood student notebooks, 1898-1901. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Smith, Shirley Wheeler, 1875-1959. Shirley Wheeler Smith papers, 1881-1959. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Center for Research on Social Organization. Center for Research on Social Organization records, 1960-2001. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Theodore Mead Newcomb Papers, 1906-1984, 1936-1983 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Newcomb, Theodore Mead, 1903-1984. Theodore M. Newcomb papers, 1906-1984. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Converse, Philip E., 1928-. Philip E. Converse papers, 1948-1989. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Charles Horton Cooley papers, 1872-1930 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Holmes, Roy Hinman, 1882-1949. Roy H. Holmes papers, 1899-1950. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899-1984. Robert Cooley Angell papers, 1923-1971. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Holmes, Roy Hinman, 1882-1949. Roy H. Holmes papers, 1899-1950. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899-1984. Robert Cooley Angell papers, 1923-1971. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Robert Cooley Angell Papers, 1923-1971 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Dept. of Sociology (University of Michigan) records, 1929-1987 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Cooley, Charles Horton, 1864-1929. Charles Horton Cooley papers, 1872-1930. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Philip E. Converse papers, 1948-1989 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn University of Michigan. Detroit Area Study. Detroit Area Study (University of Michigan) records, 1951-2004. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Center for Research on Social Organization (University of Michigan)records, 1960-2001 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Roy Hinman Holmes papers, 1899-1940 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Detroit Area Study (University of Michigan) records, 1951-2004 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Smith, Roy Burnett. Roy Burnett Smith student notebooks, 1893?-1899. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Leslie Kish Papers, 1952-2001 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf University of Michigan. Dept. of Sociology. Dept. of Sociology (University of Michigan) records, 1929-1987. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Shirley Wheeler Smith Papers, 1881-1959 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Kish, Leslie, 1910-2000. Leslie Kish papers, 1952-2001. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899- person
associatedWith Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899-1984. person
associatedWith Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899-1984. person
associatedWith Center for Research on Social Organization. corporateBody
associatedWith Converse, Philip E., 1928- person
associatedWith Converse, Philip E., 1928- person
associatedWith Cooley, Charles Horton, 1864-1929 person
associatedWith Cooley, Charles Horton, 1864-1929. person
associatedWith Holmes, Roy Hinman, 1882-1949 person
associatedWith Holmes, Roy Hinman, 1882-1949. person
associatedWith Holmes, Roy Hinman, 1882-1949. person
associatedWith Kish, Leslie, 1910- person
associatedWith Kish, Leslie, 1910-2000. person
associatedWith Newcomb, Theodore Mead, 1903-1984 person
associatedWith Newcomb, Theodore Mead, 1903-1984. person
associatedWith Smith, Roy Burnett. person
associatedWith Smith, Shirley Wheeler, 1875-1959 person
associatedWith Smith, Shirley Wheeler, 1875-1959. person
associatedWith Spottswood, Mary Justina. person
associatedWith University of Michigan. Center for Research in Social Organization. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Center for Research in Social Organization. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Center for Research on Social Organization. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Psychology. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Dept. of Psychology. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Detroit Area Study. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Detroit Area Study. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Doctoral Program in Social Psychology corporateBody
associatedWith University of Michigan. Doctoral Program in Social Psychology. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Occupation
Activity

Corporate Body

Active 1929

Active 1987

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