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Growing up in Chicago at a time when neighborhoods were going through transitions in ethnic and racial composition, Richard T. Schaefer found himself increasingly intrigued by what was happening, how people were reacting, and how these changes were affecting neighborhoods and people’s jobs. His interest in social issues caused him to gravitate to sociology courses at Northwestern University, where he received a B.A. in Sociology. "Originally as an undergraduate I thought I would go on to law school and become a lawyer. But after taking a few sociology courses, I found myself wanting to learn more about what sociologists studied and fascinated by the kinds of questions they raised." This fascination led him to obtain his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Dr. Schaefer’s continuing interest in race relations led him to write his masters’ thesis on the membership of the Ku Klux Klan and his doctoral thesis on racial prejudice and race relations in Great Britain. Dr. Schaefer went on to become a professor of sociology. He has taught introductory sociology for 30 years to students in colleges, adult education programs, nursing programs, and even a maximum-security prison. Dr. Schaefer’s love of teaching is apparent in his interaction with his students. "I find myself constantly learning from the students who are in my classes and from reading what they write. Their insights into the material we read or current events that we discuss often become part of future course material and sometimes even find their way into my writing." Dr. Schaefer is author of the third edition of Sociology: A Brief Introduction (McGraw-Hill, 2000). Dr. Schaefer is also the author of Racial and Ethnic Groups now in its eighth edition, and Race and Ethnicity in the United States, second edition. His articles and book reviews have appeared in many journals, including American Journal of Sociology, Phylon: A Review of Race and Culture, Contemporary Sociology, Sociology and Social Research, Sociological Quarterly, and Teaching Sociology. He served as president of the Midwest Sociological Society in 1994-1995. Dr. Schaefer’s advice to students is to "look at the material and make connections to your own life and experiences. Sociology will make you a more attentive observer of how people in groups interact and function. It will also make you more aware of peoples’ different needs and interests — and perhaps more ready to work for the common good, while still recognizing the individuality of each person."
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