Social Research and Discussion Group (SRDG)

What is the SRDG?

The SRDG is an annual program at the Department of Sociology & Anthropology. Professor Perez and up to 12 students will meet six times during the academic year (fall and winter terms). For an hour, the group will have an informal conversation about a book designated in advance. The goal is to provide students an opportunity to connect with each other and faculty, read books with a social science perspective in mind, and further develop their analytical skills.

The theme for the 2024-2025 academic year is "The Promises and Perils of College Life."

How do I join?

Students can apply to be a fellow by completing the brief questionnaire at the bottom of this page. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2024. Decisions about admission to the group will be announced in late summer.

What are the responsibilities of a fellow?

Fellows are expected to participate in at least five of the six meetings and share with others their views on the book assigned. There are no tests or papers required. At the end of the academic year, participants who have attended the required number of meetings will receive a certificate.

What is the cost?

Participation is free! There are no fees, and dinner is covered by SOAN. You can purchase the books, or get them from the library.

I am planning to study abroad during one of the terms, can I still participate?

Yes you can, students travelling abroad on a program associated with the university will receive a waiver for the meetings in which they are outside the country.

Where can I find more information?

For questions, please email Dr. Perez at

2024-2025 SRDG Theme

"The Promises and Perils of College Life"

Is college truly a tool for social mobility, or is it a four-year long party for entitled young people? Is it a key mechanism for critical thinking and debate, or an indoctrination machine? Does higher education offer a way up the social ladder for the underprivileged, or does it actually reinforce existing inequalities?

Universities have always been contentious spaces, locations where new ideas are born, established notions face challenges, and leadership gets forged. In recent years, both the premium and the cost of college have skyrocketed. Evidence shows that attainment of a degree is a key difference between those who thrive and those who struggle, yet the burden of achieving such credentials has reached record levels.

In this context, the sixth cohort of fellows of the Social Research and Discussion Group will read books that critically analyze places like Washington and Lee. How can colleges provide an educational and enlightening experience to a diverse student body in an increasingly complex world? What role do social life and athletics play in institutions of higher learning? What are, in short, the promises and perils of life in a 21st century American university?

Books in the Series

  • Murray Spencer, Beer and Circus.
    Lisa Wade, American Hookup.
    John Hechinger, True Gentlemen.
    Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton, Paying for the Party.
    Anthony Jack, The Privileged Poor.
    Andrew Delbanco, College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be.

To apply, please use this link.