For over 30 years, we have been distinguished by our emphasis on world-historical studies that cut across disciplinary boundaries.

This has made us one of the most distinctive sociology departments in the world, with faculty expertise on every world region—indeed we have the largest such concentration of any department of our size. We seek to make sense of the astonishingly diverse and deep-seated global processes and movements that transform our lives. Faculty and students alike are engaged worldwide in academic research, publications, and public sociology work, as can be seen if you explore our website.

We have special research strengths in critical study of political economy: hierarchies of class, race and gender; social movements; world-systems analysis; and culture, power and knowledge. We offer our students, drawn from all over the globe, a friendly, supportive and vibrant teaching and research environment.

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Denis O'Hearn being interviewed.

SOCIOLOGY ALUM ON TRIAL IN TURKEY

Sociology Department alum Barış Ünlü went on trial February 3 at Ankara’s Second Criminal Court for Serious Crimes. The charges against Ünlü, which carried a seven year prison term, included fomenting “terrorist propaganda.” The charges arose out of an exam question in which Ünlü referred to Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK):

“Compare Abdullah Öcalan’s 1978 leaflet ‘The Manifesto of the Path of the Kurdistan Revolution’ with his 2012 piece entitled ‘Democratic Modernity as the Construction of Local System in the Middle East’ with regard to their stances on concepts and phenomena such as colonialism, the nation-state, revolutionary violence and democracy.”

The indictment claimed that the question about Öcalan aimed to “legitimize his opinions and imprint on minds that he is a political leader” and added that it was both “terror propaganda and a compliment to the head of the illegal organization who is serving a life sentence.”

After a widespread campaign of support for Ünlü and for academic freedom in Turkey, the court immediately acquitted him.

Turkish threats to academic freedom continue, however, as a result of a petition for peace signed by staff from 90 Turkish universities in January. The petition, signed by thousands of Turkish and international academics calling themselves “Academicians for Peace,” calls for an end to the military campaign against the Kurds and accuses the government of breaching international law.

In response to the petition, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the judiciary and the universities to act against their alleged “treachery.” A number of academics who sigend the petition have been arrested and are threatened with prosecution and Turkish universities have also initiated investigations aimed at disciplining signatories. Some have already been dismissed by their universities.

Several alumni and faculty of the Binghamton Sociology Department face possible action for signing the petition.

Among the statements of support for Barış Ünlü was a letter from the Sociology Department, signed unanimously by our faculty, to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Last Updated: 8/30/16