Social Research and Discussion Group (SRDG)

What is the SRDG?

The SRDG is a new initiative at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, beginning in the Fall of 2019. Professor Perez and up to ten students will meet six times during the academic year (fall and winter terms), over dinner from the Marketplace provided by SOAN. 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 2019/2020 academic year is "Fiction as a warning: dystopian novels in unsettled times."

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 15th, 2019. Decisions about admission to the group will be announced shortly after that date.

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

2019-2020 SRDG Theme

"Fiction as a warning: dystopian novels in unsettled times"

Dystopian works of fiction are one of the foremost ways people have articulated the anxieties of their times. By debating classic novels in this tradition, we will explore the main challenges society has faced in the last few centuries, and discuss possible scenarios for our future. In other words, our central question will be, what is fictional and what is not about each of these works?

Books in the Series

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • Franz Kafka, The Trial
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
  • George Orwell, 1984
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale