Congratulations from Dr Anastasia Chamberlen, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Warm congratulations on receiving an offer to study with us at the Department of Sociology at Warwick!
I’m writing to you in my capacity as an academic at the Sociology Department. I oversee our admissions applications, so I wanted to get in touch and express how pleased we are that you’ve applied to study with us. I also wanted to tell you a little about what’s happening at Warwick Sociology, just to give you a flavour of what activities you might expect to engage in as a student at Warwick.
I teach and research in the fields of criminology, punishment and the sociology of prisons. I’m teaching two undergraduate modules, a year 1 module called ‘Crime and Society’ and a final year module called ‘Punishment, Justice and Control’. Both modules cover themes including the causes of crime, policing and what happens at courts, and look at particularly complex cases of crime, like human trafficking and terrorism. This year we are also looking at some recent events and campaigns such as current debates on the crisis in English prisons, the #metoo campaign and scandals around sexual violence, as well as issues around knife crime and extremism.
Students in my classes often engage in debates, for example on whether prison works or on the death penalty, or prepare group presentations on topics such as domestic violence or stop-and-search practices in policing. Next term, my final year students will get the opportunity to conduct a short interview with a former prisoner and will have the chance to engage in voluntary work in criminal justice. In a couple of weeks, I will host a film screening for my first-year students where we’ll watch “I, Daniel Blake’ and discuss it in relation to current social problems of inequality and criminalization in the UK. In January, some of my students will help me organise a policy event on the current prison crisis which will give them a chance to meet various criminal justice practitioners, prison governors, prison officers, NGOs, campaigners and academic criminologists from across the UK.
I conduct qualitative research inside prisons, focusing on prisoners’ experiences of imprisonment and also look at the British public’s attitudes to punishment. I’m regularly invited to give commentary on media and expert panels, and recently I wrote on the problem of prisoners’ wellbeing, their self-injury practices and recent rises in suicides in English prisons. In the next few months, I’ll be publishing a book based on research I conducted with women prisoners in England.
I’m also a former student of Warwick; several years ago I studied for an undergraduate degree in History and Sociology and absolutely loved it. As a Sociology student at Warwick, I was offered unprecedented insight in my teachers’ ongoing research, which inspired me to become an academic myself.
Warwick has a long-standing tradition as a world-class institution and the Sociology Department is globally renowned for its high-quality research and teaching, and it is constantly leading in league tables*. We are renowned for a range of research expertise including race, ethnicities and global politics, migration, refugees and asylum, gender and educational inequalities among others. Our ongoing research, activism and public engagement activities inform all of our teaching at the Department, so you would have the chance to choose modules taught by experts in their fields who are truly passionate about their work. You also gain opportunities to take your studies outside the classroom by participating in events, campaigns and networking activities with potential employers.
There’s no better time than now to be studying Sociology. As we are coming to terms with ongoing social and economic crises, and as recent events like the outcomes of the British EU Referendum have shown, it is essential to understand who we are, how we relate to one another, and to consider the relevance of significant factors like national identities, class and gender in the shaping of our communities and lives.
I hope you’re equally passionate about studying how to alleviate social problems and promote social justice and I hope that you’ll join us for this important sociological journey here at Warwick.
I look forward to meeting you soon, perhaps at one of our offer holder open days. If you have any questions about your application or studying with us, please feel free to get in touch with me via email:a dot chamberlen at warwick dot ac dot uk
*The Department of Sociology was delighted to be ranked 44th in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, 6th in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2018 and 10th by the Complete University Guide 2017.