Public Sociology Forum

Public Sociology Forum

The Public Sociology Forum (PSF) at Indiana University was developed in answer to the many calls for sociologists to reach beyond academia and into the public sphere, through such avenues as accessible discourse, teaching, community involvement, and/or direct work with organizations. PSF offers an inclusive environment in which group members discuss ideas about best practices, challenges, and rewards of making sociology more immediately relevant, applicable, and visible to non-sociological audiences.

Indiana University’s Department of Sociology has a history of working to build support for graduate students and faculty members who want to conduct research and teaching that can have influence outside of academia. Since its beginning in 2002, the Public Sociology Forum (previously known as the Social Action League and Applied Research Group) has furthered this endeavor by sponsoring panels and training sessions of broad public sociological interest, conducting research projects that combine scholarly interests with applied and activist goals, and providing an arena in which graduate students, faculty members, and visiting scholars are invited to present their own public sociological work.

In the past, the PSF has hosted such talented public sociologists as Pepper Schwartz (University of Washington), Dalton Conley (New York University), Chris Uggen (University of Minnesota), Saad Ibrahim (American University in Cairo, Egypt) and Stephanie Coontz (Evergreen State College).

In conjunction with PSF, the department sponsors the Social Action Award which is given annually to an IU Sociology graduate student whose life and work embody the ideals of public sociology.

PSF welcomes participation by all interested sociologists as well as public intellectuals from related fields. For more information about PSF activities, please contact  James Watkins ( or Derek Richardson ( , PSF coordinators 2021-2022.

Learn about Social Action Award