The Department of Sociology will host a research conference this Friday and Saturday to celebrate the graduate program’s 50th anniversary.

The two-day conference will be held in the Corwin Pavilion on Friday and at the Mosher Alumni House on Saturday and will feature a number of speakers and research presentations from universities across the country, including an introduction by Chancellor Henry T. Yang. The department was recently ranked number one in the country by the online database College Factual ranking last month.

Sociology Department chair and professor Maria Charles said the conference is aimed at celebrating the milestone while also reflecting upon the department’s work in the field.

“Our Ph.D. program was founded in the 1964-65 academic year, so one reason is to celebrate the major milestone, and the other reason is to consider UCSB’s Department of Sociology’s intellectual contributions, particularly looking at fields in which we have had [an] intellectual role in over the years,” Charles said.

According to the conference’s program, topics that will be presented include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, culture, globalization, ethnography, conversation analysis and social movements. Charles said she is excited to see the presentations on issues that have significant implications for society.

“The speakers will be reflecting on the development of certain sociological subfields over the past 50 years,” Charles said. “We’re also looking at the impact of the department in terms of contributions to broader social good, because our faculty is very interested in doing research that is socially relevant and that address important social problems of today.”

According to Charles, 10 former department chairs will be attending the event in addition to current sociology professors. Sociology graduate student Corrie Ellis said she decided to help coordinate the event and bring back former faculty for the opportunity to meet past faculty and department chairs and reflect on the history of the department.

“I really got to know and interview some of the sociology faculty that has made UCSB sociology what it is today,” Ellis said. “It’s a special opportunity for all of us and especially graduate students to learn about the history of UCSB sociology, which I think is a very radical history and I’m very proud to be part of it.”

According to Ellis, after talking to former faculty and chairs, she and another graduate student developed a timeline of faculty and chairs that will be displayed at the conference.

UCLA sociology professor Steven Clayman, who received his Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology, said he is excited for the graduate program and looks forward to commemorating his alma mater.

“I’m very proud to have come from that world-class program and it’s really great that they are now reaching their 50th anniversary,” Clayman said.