Stephen K. Sanderson was born in the midwest and grew up in the 1950s in a small town on the bleak plains of northern Kansas. After receiving his PhD from the University of Nebraska in 1973, he taught for over thirty years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, one of the Pennsylvania state universities near Pittsburgh. After retiring from full-time teaching in 2006, Sanderson spent a year affiliated with the anthropology department at the University of Colorado, and then in 2007 moved further west to Southern California, where he is currently a visiting scholar in the Institute for Research on World-Systems at the University of California, Riverside. Sanderson hopes to stay in his current location for a long while. The warm winters, friendly people, and casual lifestyle more than compensate for the infamous freeways and constant fires! However, he still has a great fondness for the Pittsburgh area and remains an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sanderson has two grown children, Derek, 29, a budding librarian, living in Bloomington, Indiana, and Sarah, 26, a clinical psychologist who lives in Pittsburgh. One grandson is on the way.
Sanderson is a comparative-historical sociologist and sociological theorist who has authored or edited ten books in fifteen editions and nearly sixty articles in journals and edited collections. Most of his work has been devoted to the comparative study of the entire range of human societies, especially to the study of long-term social evolution. More recently, he has sought to contribute to the unification of the social and natural sciences through a theoretical synthesis he has called Darwinian conflict theory, which he is continuing to develop and extend. Although officially a sociologist, Sanderson feels equally at home in anthropology and much of the research and writing he does draws heavily on anthropological literature and cross-cultural data banks assembled by anthropologists. Truth to tell, if he was doing his career over again he would probably become an anthropologist. Sanderson also draws on historical literature and data and has a fascination with the societies of the ancient world. He believes that sociology needs to get back to its emphasis on science and the empirical testing of scientific theories. In this regard, comparative data from sociology, anthropology, history, and archaeology are essential. Sanderson's notion of sociology is that of a comparative science of all human societies.
Sanderson founded and edits a book series, Studies in Comparative Social Science, published by Paradigm Publishers. A description of this series appears below. Sanderson is always looking for good manuscripts, so if you have something relevant contact him.
Studies in Comparative Social Science
Click on one of the pages in the upper-left-hand corner to view Sanderson's CV, PDF copies of many of his articles, summaries of current research projects and copies of papers still in progress, a summary of his projected work over the next several years, short essays that deal with a wide variety of topics, and materials from his courses (course syllabi and some lecture notes).