I was born in Missouri in 1945 and grew up in the 1950s in a small town on the rolling hills and plains of northern Kansas. After receiving my PhD from the University of Nebraska in 1973, I taught for thirty-one years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, one of the Pennsylvania state universities near Pittsburgh. After retiring from full-time teaching in 2006, I spent a year affiliated with the anthropology department at the University of Colorado, and then in 2007 moved further west to Southern California, where I am currently a visiting professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Riverside. I hope to stay in my 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, I still have a great fondness for the Pittsburgh area and remain an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates. I have two grown children, Derek, 34, a librarian who lives in Beacon, NY, and Sarah, 31, a counseling psychologist who lives in Pittsburgh. I have a grandson, Noah, age four and a half, and a granddaughter, Olivia, age one.
Sanderson is a comparative sociologist and sociological and anthropological theorist who has authored or edited eleven books in seventeen 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 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. This synthesis draws on sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, human behavioral ecology, and cultural materialism. 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 and anthropology need to get back to their emphasis on science and the empirical testing of scientific theories. In this regard, comparative data from sociology, anthropology, history, and archaeology are essential. Sanderson favors a comparative science of all human societies.
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 materials from his courses (course syllabi and some lecture notes).