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Teachers College • Columbia University
Wednesdays, 3:00 to 4:40

308 Lewisohn Hall

Bibliographic Resources
Discussion with Google Wave
For Further Attention
Useful Links
Course Participants
Course Grading
Print Syllabus: Fall  •  Spring

Schedule of Meetings

9/2  •  1IntroductoryStudy
9/9  •  2Marx & EngelsStudy
916  •  3Durkheim (1858-1917)Study
9/23  •  4Tönnies (1855-1936)Study
9/30  •  5Simmel (1858-1918)Study
10/7  •  6Weber (1864-1920)Study
10/14  •  7DuBois (1868-1963)Study
10/21  •  8Dewey (1859-1952)Study
10/28  •  9Mead (1863-1931)Study
11/4  •  10Luxemburg (1871-1919)Study
11/11  •  11Lukács (1885-1971)Study
11/18  •  12Gramsci (1891-1937)Study
12/2  •  13Schumpeter (1883-1950)Study
12/9  •  14Polanyi (1886-1964)Study
12/16  •  15Kracauer (1889-1966)Study
1/20  •  16Mannheim (1893-1947)Wave 16
1/27  •  17Benjamin (1892-1940)Wave 17
2/3  •  18Fromm (1900-1980)Wave 18
2/10  •     TC closed "blizzard"             
2/17  •  19Horkheimer (1895-1973)Wave 19
2/24  •  20Adorno (1903-1969)Wave 20
3/3  •  21Mills (1916-1962)Wave 21
3/10  •  22Galbraith (1908-2006)Wave 22
3/24  •  23Marcuse (1898-1979)Wave 23
3/31  •  24Arendt (1906-1975)Wave 24
4/7  •  25Habermas (1929- )Wave 25
4/14  •  26Foucault (1926-1984)Wave 26
4/21  •  27Bourdieu (1930-2002)Wave 28
4/28  •  28Jameson (1934- )Wave 29
5/5  •  29Wrap-upWave 30


Communication Theory and Social Thought

  • Robbie McClintock, Instructor
    • Office hours @ 2nd floor, Gottesman Library
      Thursdays 4:00 to 6:00 pm and by appointment
  • Frank Moretti, Instructor
    • Office hours @ 603 Lewisohn Hall, by appointment
      (Call Teresa Gonzales, 212 854 1962, or email her

Please note:

     This syllabus continuously undergoes revisions, substantive and cosmetic.  The Fall semester is complete, excepting minor additional tweaks.  The Spring semester changes will be completed in the near future.  In the meantime, the syllabus for 2008/2009 will indicate the sorts of readings we will be discussing during the second half of the course.

     Readings in Communication theory and social thought is a year-long historical engagement with 20th-century thinking about communication and social life and its import for education.  Each week, we will sample the work of a key 20th-century social thinker and discuss his or her understanding of education, communication, and culture.  We call it "Readings in . . ." because each week course participants will engage a different, open-ended corpus of challenging reflection and theory.  Participants should prepare through readings, at once extensive but limited, to discuss, as peers of the authors and instructors, the value and significance of the full body of thought in question.  Hence, our readings are soundings into extensive material that is rich in substance, and engagement with it can be a powerful formative experience. 

     To your right, the Schedule of Meetings links to pages about the readings and discussion materials for each week.  In addition to substantial preparation for class discussions, participants should expect to contribute regularly to the course wiki, which we regard as an extension of the classroom discussion forum.  We will explain how all this works in the first class, Wednesday, September 2nd.  For each week, we list various types of readings — Context  •  Context/Text  •  Text  •  AfterText  •  Supplementary  •  General BackgroundThe essential reading for each week is the Text.  You should regularly try to prepare that with some care.  The Context, and its variant Context/Text should prove useful in providing context that helps make sense of the main Text — make as much use of it as you can given the constraints on your time.  Likewise, the AfterText should help in developing a sense of the interrelationships between the figures we are reading.  General Background may at times, especially early in the course, serve as a review or overall orientation — again, use it as suits your needs, interests, and constraints.  And finally, Supplementary materials simply point towards the infinite regress of further study that a commitment to an examined life draws one into.  Whether that is a direction for you — 'Go West, young man!' — is a matter for you to decide.

Preliminary reflections on the course and our readings.

     Life throws us into an encompassing communicative ethos.  Teachers, academics, artists, journalists, bloggers, public leaders, intellectuals, family and friends — all of us, educators all — aggregate our activities into a formative ethos, which feeds back upon our efforts, powerfully conditioning them.  This formative ethos, itself massively moving, ever interacting with emergent events, filled with cross-currents and eddies, works on each person in unique, determinate ways, setting limits on our potentialities, defining a complex ecology of feasible actions.  As participants in this formative ethos, we struggle to build up our capacity to understand and anticipate the changing character of it; we seek to grasp how it affects historical action, personal and public; we hope perhaps even to shape it by an increment towards what we deem to be the better, or away from what we fear to be the worst. 

     As participants in the formative ethos, we seek to anticipate what knowledge, skills, and values will prove to be of most worth, both for us and others, as the influence of events, foreseen and unforeseen, reverberates through the formative ethos of our time.  We can strengthen our capacity for such anticipation by generating theories about communication and by thinking about the social character of our circumstances.  We can develop our capacities to understand our selves in interaction with our circumstances by attending to the efforts our predecessors made to diagnose the challenge of self-determination within the encompassing formative ethos that they faced.  In this course, we study examples of such efforts in twentieth-century Western experience. 

     A basic question drives our inquiry.  How does education — understood as an historical component of all human experience, salient in the lives of every person and in the fate of every group — shape human interaction and condition the quality of life?  This basic question poses the great pedagogical problem, which is prior to all professional educative efforts.  To come to grips with it, we need to look, not at the norms and actualities of formal education, but at efforts to explain and interpret the ways in which humans give themselves determinate character and capacities in the course of their historical interactions.  20th-century communication theory and social thought is a rich arena for such inquiry and we can strengthen our capacities for it by contending with the ideas about communication and social action developed by leading thinkers since the late 19th century. 

     We should approach our readings as the work of peers, thinking.  In doing so, we will find them engaged primarily in concept formation, — Begriffsbildung in German, the fashioning of ideas with which to grasp the structure and meaning of human experience.  Concepts, formed to shape understanding and to define value, become formative in their turn, allowing people to try to draw new potentialities from the flux of their experience.  In reading through our agenda of weekly works, we have the task of developing a clear and thoughtful inventory of the key concepts each writer worked to form as he or she struggled to understand complex, ever-changing circumstances.  As a tangible outcome of our work, we should develop conceptual glossaries for each writer that we read as collaborative contributions about each on StudyPlace.

     Each week, we will concentrate on the work of a distinctive thinker, one who merits sustained, close reading.  That is something we can only approximate, trying to do the best we can under serious constraints — too many distractions, too little time, insufficient background.  The course is open to anyone interested in its agenda of inquiry, regardless of prior background or professional intent.  We do not put prerequisites on it and we seek participants from diverse specializations, but we do caution that engagement in the course requires committing substantial effort to it week by week.  For each week, we will have both a contextual and a textual reading.  The former gives useful background to draw on in interpreting the latter, the key resource with which we aim to come to grips.  In class meetings, we should seek primarily to engage through conversation directly with the text in question, seeking to ground what we have to say by reference to particular words and passages in the text we have in common.  The text, our textual reading, not the contextual, needs to provide the criteria for the quality of our understanding, the recognition that after puzzlement indeed the text makes sense to us.

     Participants should not take as the prime objective absorbing a body of established knowledge about some historical synthesis of social thought in the 20th century.  We aim to engage in communication theory and social thought, not simply to know about it.  An appreciation of common themes and concerns should emerge, unique for each participant, but we should not try to read each text as an example of some given context, ticking off which themes and concerns in the context the work reflected, as if the purpose animating it had merely been to illustrate some pre-existent givens.  The contextual readings will have value, not as authoritative summaries of what we should think, but as resources that we can draw on in developing our own understandings of the primary texts in question.  We strengthen our capacities to construe the context of our lives by seeking to appreciate through the close reading of substantial works how prior authors construed the contexts of their lives. 

     In addition, we should not presume that our selection of texts merits attention because it forms an authoritative canon, an optimal foundation for sound theorizing about communications and society in the present.  We select thinkers whose work achieved a challenging intellectual richness, forming concepts that were both deep and broad in relevance to historical experience.  The texts on our list offer us much grist for thought without burdening them with the claim that they are exhaustive or representative.  Proving such claims detracts from the real work of theory and thought.  Instead, we advance that work by building our own capacity to form powerful concepts, to engage in Begriffsbildung, by exercising our capacity to engage such work by others.  We simply want to ask what sort of conceptual resources we find in each text, taking it as an autonomous work that we seek to experience in its integrity, as best we can under the constraints.  We, merely human, need to contend with the work as peers of it, for it is the fruit of the merely human.  What can we learn from the work?  What can we do with the concepts formed in it and conveys through it?  Do these help us make sense of our experience of our world?  What do we find surprising in them?  Disturbing?  Confusing?  Inspiring? 

     As the texts we read are not authoritative, our reading of them must be tentative and initial.  One week permits an encounter all-too-brief.  But there is value to pursuing a breadth of reflective experience.  An expansive intellect samples many works and much experience, returning recurrently with sustained attention to a chosen few of them.  Those constitute a working canon for each of us, deriving its authority from each of us for each of us.  Here we should work more quickly, seriously sampling possibilities.  For what purpose would I include this work and others by this writer among those to which I think in future I might return?  Of what potentials in my own educational and intellectual options do I find this work exemplary?  What cautionary tales may it offer?  To what degree does the work and the concepts it offers support my interior discourse about the meaning of my world and my potential for action within it?  All these are among the many questions before us.

Here are some College-wide course notices.

College Policy on Activating Columbia Network ID

Teachers College students have the responsibility for activating the Columbia University Network ID (UNI), which includes a free Columbia email account. As official communications from the College – e.g., information on graduation, announcements of closing due to severe storm, flu epidemic, transportation disruption, etc. -- will be sent to the student’s Columbia email account, students are responsible for either reading email there, or, for utilizing the mail forwarding option to forward mail from their Columbia account to an email address which they will monitor.

College Policies on Incompletes

The grade of Incomplete is to be assigned only when the course attendance requirement has been met but, for reasons satisfactory to the instructor, the granting of a final grade has been postponed because certain course assignments are outstanding.  If the outstanding assignments are completed within one calendar year from the date of the close of term in which the grade of Incomplete was received and a final grade submitted, the final grade will be recorded on the permanent transcript, replacing the grade of Incomplete, with a transcript notation indicating the date that the grade of Incomplete was replaced by a final grade.

If the outstanding work is not completed within one calendar year from the date of the close of term in which the grade of Incomplete was received, the grade will remain as a permanent Incomplete on the transcript.  In such instances, if the course is a required course or part of an approved program of study, students will be required to re-enroll in the course including repayment of all tuition and fee charges for the new registration and satisfactorily complete all course requirements.  If the required course is not offered in subsequent terms, the student should speak with the faculty advisor or Program Coordinator about their options for fulfilling the degree requirement.  Doctoral students with six or more credits with grades of Incomplete included on their program of study will not be allowed to sit for the certification exam.

Americans with Disabilities Act statement

The College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students are encouraged to contact the office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities for information about registration (166 Thorndike Hall). Services are available only to students who are registered and submit appropriate documentation.

Meeting 16  •  January 20 — Karl Mannheim (1893-1947)

Karl Mannheim
  • Loader, Colin. "The Political synthesis (1929)." The Intellectual Development of Karl Mannheim: Culture, Politics, and Planning. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985) pp. 95-124.  •  Electronic Reserve.
  • Mannheim, Karl. "Ideology and Utopia" Chapter II in Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge Louis Wirth and Edward Shils, trans. (New York: Harvest Books, 1936, 1985) pp. 55-108.  •  Electronic Reserve.

Meeting 17  •  January 27 — Walter Benjamin (1892-1940)

Walter Benjamin
  • Hannah Arendt. "Introduction." in Walter Benjamin, Illuminations (New York: Knopf, 1979), pp. 1-55.  •  Electronic Reserve.
  • Walter Benjamin. Illuminations (1935+/-). Hannah Arendt, ed. (New York: Knopf, 1979). "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936), and "Theses on the Philosophy of History" (1940), pp. 217-264.   •  Electronic Reserve.  •  $13.50.

Angelus Novus by Paul Klee
  • Theodor Adorno. "A Portrait of Walter Benjamin," Prisms. Samuel and Sherry Taylor, trans., (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1981), pp. 227-241.  •  Electronic Reserve.
  • Uwe Steiner. "The True Politician: Walter Benjamin's Concept of the Political." New German Critique, No. 83, Special Issue on Walter Benjamin (Spring - Summer, 2001), pp. 43-88  •  JSTOR.   •  This is a substantial article, but one that sets Benjamin very well in the intellectual history of his time.
  • David S. Ferris, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).  •  Cambridge Collections Online.

Meeting 18  •  February 3 — Erich Fromm (1900-1980)

Eric Fromm
  • Neil McLaughlin. "Origin Myths in the Social Sciences: Fromm, the Frankfurt School and the Emergence of Critical Theory." The Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers canadiens de sociologie, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Winter, 1999), pp. 109-139. JSTOR
  • Erich Fromm. Escape From Freedom, (AKA in the UK as: The Fear of Freedom) (1942). (New York: Routledge Classics. 2001). Chapters 1 & 2, 4 & 5. Electronic Reserve. B&N, $14.00.
  • Neil McLaughlin. "How to Become a Forgotten Intellectual: Intellectual Movements and the Rise and Fall of Erich Fromm." Sociological Forum, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 215-246. JSTOR

Meeting 19  •  February 10 — Max Horkheimer (1895-1973)

Max Horkheimer
  • Hullot-Kentor, Robert. “Notes on Dialectic of Enlightenment: Translating the Odysseus Essay.” New German Critique..56, Special Issue on Theodor W. Adorno (1992): 101-108. Retrieved 4 July 2007 JSTOR.
  • Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments (1947). Edmund Jephcott, trans. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002). xi-xix, 1-62.   •  Electronic Reserve_1   •   $22.95.
  • Martin Jay. The dialectical imagination: a history of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973).   •  ACLS Humanities e-book.

Meeting 20  •  February 17 — Theodor Adorno (1903-1969)


Theodor Adorno with Heinrich Boll
  • Contextual reading
  • Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments (1947). Edmund Jephcott, trans. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002). 94-136, 217-252.   •  Electronic Reserve_2.   •  $22.95.
  • Theodor Adorno. "Theory of Pseudo-Culture," Telos, No. 95, Spring 1993, pp. 15-38.   •  Electronic Reserve.

Meeting 21  •  February 24 — C. Wright Mills (1916-1962)

  • David B. Truman. "The American System in Crisis." Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 74, No. 4 (Dec., 1959), pp. 481-497. JSTOR.
  • C. Wright Mills. The Power Elite (1956). (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). Chapters 1, 5, 6; pp. 3-29, 94-146. Electronic Reserve.
    Treat these chapters as introductory.
  • C. Wright Mills. The Power Elite (1956). (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). Chapters 12-15; pp. 269-361. Electronic reserve.
    Lets concentrate on these chapters in our class discussion.
  • Richard Gillam. "C. Wright Mills and the Politics of Truth: The Power Elite Revisited." American Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Oct., 1975), pp. 461-479. JSTOR.

Reassessments of Sociological History: C. Wright Mills and the Power Elite Author(s): Ivan Light Source: Theory and Society, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Autumn, 1974), pp. 361-374 Published by: Springer Stable URL: .

Meeting 22  •  March 3 — John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)

  • J. R. Stanfield. "The Affluent Society after Twenty-Five Years." Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Sep., 1983), pp. 589-607.  •   JSTOR.
  • John Kenneth Galbraith. The Affluent Society. Fortieth Anniversary Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1958, 1998. Chapters 1-11, 21-24. pp. 1-131, 223-264.  •   Electronic Reserve.   •  $13.50.

Meeting 23  •  March 10 — Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979)

  • Stanley Aronowitz. "The Unknown Herbert Marcuse." Social Text, No. 58 (Spring, 1999), pp. 133-154.  •   JSTOR.
  • Herbert Marcuse. One Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (1964). (New York: Routledge Classics, 2002). Chapters 1 & 2, pp. 3-58   •   Electronic Reserve; and Chapters 8-10; pp. 207-261.  •   Electronic Reserve.  •   $14.40.

Meeting 24  •  March 24 — Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

  • Jürgen Habermas. "Hannah Arendt's Communications Concept of Power." Social Research. (Vol 44, No. 1, Spring, 1977), pp. 3-24.  •   Periodicals Archive Online.
  • Hannah Arendt. The Human Condition (1958). 2nd edition. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998). Prologue, Chapters I and II, pp. 1-78  •  Electronic Reserve; and Chapter VI, pp. 248-325  •   Electronic Reserve.
  • For a special issue on Hannah Arendt's work, see Social Research (Vol 44, No. 1, Spring, 1977) Periodicals Archive Online. It has an excellent set of contributors.
  • Villa, Dana. The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Cambridge Collections Online.
Les pensées d’escalier

Meeting 25  •  March 31 — Jürgen Habermas (1929- )

  • Hohendahl, Peter U. “The Dialectic of Enlightenment Revisited: Habermas' Critique of the Frankfurt School.” New German Critique..35, Special Issue on Jurgen Habermas (1985): 3-26.   •  JSTOR.
  • Jürgen Habermas. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (1962). Thomas Burger, trans., (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1991). Chapters 16-25 (pp. 141-250) are on electronic reserve. We highly recommend getting the book and reading the whole thing, however.  •   Electronic Reserve.
Les pensées d’escalier

Meeting 26  •  April 7 — Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

  • Contextual reading
  • Foucault, Michel. Selections from The Essential Foucault. Paul Rabinow and Niklos Rose, eds., (New York: The New Press, 2003). pp. 43-57, 126-169, 229-245, and 301-318.  •   Electronic Reserve.
  • Gutting, Gary. The Cambridge Companion to Foucault. 2nd edition. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005). Cambridge Collections Online.
Les pensées d’escalier

Meeting 27  •  April 14 — Paolo Freire (1921-1997)

  • Contextual reading
  • Textual reading
Les pensées d’escalier

Meeting 28  •  April 21 — Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002)

  • David L. Swartz. "From Critical Sociology to Public Intellectual: Pierre Bourdieu and Politics." Theory and Society, Vol. 32, No. 5/6, Special Issue on The Sociology of Symbolic Power: A Special Issue in Memory of Pierre Bourdieu (Dec., 2003), pp. 791-823.  •   JSTOR.  •   An interesting overview of Bourdieu's accomplishment.
  • Frederic Vandenberghe. "'The Real is Relational': An Epistemological Analysis of Pierre Bourdieu's Generative Structuralism." Sociological Theory, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 32-67.  •   JSTOR.  •   A dense essay, viewing Bourdieu in the context of philosopphy, not politics.
  • Pierre Bourdieu. Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.  •   Electronic Reserve.

Meeting 29  •  April 28 — Fredric Jameson (1934- )

  • Contextual reading
  • Fredric Jameson. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1984). (Durham: Duke University Press, 1991) pp. 1-54,
    Chapter 1: "The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism."   •   Electronic Reserve. $23.95.
      •   Original article: Jameson, "The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," The New Left Review, July-August, 1984, pp. 53-92.

Meeting 30  •  May 5 — Wrap-up

  • Contextual reading
  • Textual reading
Les pensées d’escalier

As a strategy of study in Readings in Communication Theory and Social Thought, we are respecting the intellectual integrity of individual theorists, introducing the work of each as a reflective effort worthy of our trying to understand it "from the inside," so to speak. Many scholars study the same assemblage of inquiries and ideas "from the outside," however, in a more synthetic effort to describe movements of thought and to assess their effects. Such work, forever churned by changing initial interests, can expand and inform our sense of the context relevant to understanding the work of each theorist, for unique and significant circumstances surround each effort to live an examined life. Here we list a selection of worthwhile secondary sources, far more than you might engage in this academic year, but perhaps useful should you continue to pursue the topic.

  • Jeffrey Alexander, Twenty Lectures: Sociological Theory since World War II (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), situates post-War work in sociological theory against diverse currents of 20th-century thought.
  • Raymond Aron, Main Currents in Sociological Thought (Richard Howard and Helen Weaver, trans., 2 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1967, 1998), reflected on the work of separate thinkers in – Montesquieu, Comte, Marx, Tocqueville, Durkheim, Pareto, and Weber in this well-known study.
  • Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1972), introduce complex ideas about the social construction of knowledge with brevity and clarity.
  • Alex Callinicos, Social Theory: A Historical Introduction (New York: New York University Press, 1999), addresses developments in 20th-century social thought from a more recent, post-Cold War perspective, unfortunately writing in a highly expository voice with too little condifence in his own role as thinker.
  • _____, Making History : Agency, Structure, and Change in Social Theory (2nd edition, Leiden, NL: Brill Academic Publishers, 2004) Ebrary.
  • Frisby, David, Fragments of Modernity: Theories of Modernity in the Work of Simmel, Kracauer and Benjamin (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1986). Frisby concentrates on three figures we study and relates them to many others on our list.
  • Anthony Giddens, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim, and Max Weber (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1971), introduces the ideas and influence of three pivotal thinkers.
  • Geoffrey Hawthorn, Enlightenment and Despair: A History of Social Theory (2nd edition, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), gives an intelligent survey of the role of social theory in the effort, which has taken place since the Enlightenment, to cope adequately with historical contingency. He writes from the vantage point of an intellectual in a Europe recovering from World War II in the midst of Cold War uncertainties.
  • H. Stuart Hughes, Consciousness and Society: The Reorientation of European Social Thought, 1890-1930 (1958, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002), is wonderful for the clarity with which it synthesized a great diversity of developments. For an historical sense for the European background it provides the best starting point. Hughes's The Obstructed Path: French Social Thought in the Years of Desperation, 1930-1960(1968, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002) is also very illuminating, although the cast of thinkers with which it deals are less crucial to our Readings.
  • Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin, Wittgenstein's Vienna (New York, Ivan R. Dee Publisher, 1976, 1996), team to give an illuminating picture of the formative influences shaping 20th-century thinkers like Wittgenstein.
  • Martin Jay, The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950 (1973, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), has been the standard introduction to the Frankfurt School since it first appeared. In Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005, Ebrary), Jay develops a picture of social thought with great range and depth.
  • Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983)is well-known for valuable synthesis about turn of the century changes in the textures of life, which have not yet fully run their course and deeply affect communication and reflection on it.
  • Harry Liebersohn, Fate and Utopia in German Sociology, 1870-1923 (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1988), gives a good overview of German social thought prior to the Frankfurt School.
  • Armand Mattelart, Theories of Communication: A Short Introduction (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998), touches on a great range of work, providing an informative initial survey. Translations of his more extended studies, Mapping World Communication: War, Progress, Culture (1994) and The Invention of Communication (1996), both University of Minnesota Press, look at the historical sources and dynamics of communication theory in greater depth.
  • Robert A. Nisbet, The Sociological Tradition (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1966, 1993), concentrated on the development of certain key themes in the work of social thinkers — community, authority, status, the sacred, and alienation.
  • Carl Schorske, Fin de Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (New York: Knopf, 1980), provides deep insight into the cultural context out of which 20th-century currents of social thought emerged, one of several excellent books treating Vienna at the end of the 19th century as a representative locus of intellect.
  • Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday: An Autobiography (Harry Zorn, trans., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1943, 1964), wrote an engrossing reflection on his life as a European man of letters shortly before his suicide in 1942, despairing of the culture he had spent his life celebrating.

  • Thomson, David. "The transformation of social life." The Shifting Balance of World Forces 1898–1945. Ed. C.L. Mowat. The New Cambridge Modern History. Vol. 12, Ch. 2. Cambridge University Press, 1968. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Thomson, David. "Social and political thought." Material Progress and World-wide Problems 1870–1898. Ed. F. H. Hinsley. The New Cambridge Modern History. Vol. 11, Ch. 4. Cambridge University Press, 1962. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Hookway, Christopher. "Pragmatism." The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870–1945. Ed. Thomas Baldwin. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Adair-Toteff, Christopher. "Neo-Kantianism: the German idealism movement." The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870–1945. Ed. Thomas Baldwin. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Callinicos, Alex. "Western marxism and ideology critique." The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870–1945. Ch. 57. Ed. Thomas Baldwin. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Bohman, James. "The methodology of the social sciences." The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870–1945. Ch. 55. Ed. Thomas Baldwin. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Callinicos, Alex. "Marxism and anarchism." The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870–1945. Ch. 22. Ed. Thomas Baldwin. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online].
  • Hawthorn, Geoffrey. "Sociology and the idea of social science." The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870–1945. Ch. 17. Ed. Thomas Baldwin. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Anderson, R. Lanier. "The debate over the Geisteswissenschaften in German philosophy." The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870–1945. Ch. 15. Ed. Thomas Baldwin. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Palumbo, Antonino and Alan Scott. "Weber, Durkheim and the sociology of the modern state." The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Eds. Terence Ball and Richard Bellamy. The Cambridge History of Political Thought. Vol. 6, Ch. 17. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Dews, Peter. "Postmodernism: pathologies of modernity from Nietzsche to the post-structuralists." The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Eds. Terence Ball and Richard Bellamy. The Cambridge History of Political Thought. Vol. 6, Ch. 16. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Bellamy, Richard. "The advent of the masses and the making of the modern theory of democracy." The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Eds. Terence Ball and Richard Bellamy. The Cambridge History of Political Thought. Vol. 6, Ch. 3. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • McLellan, David. "Western Marxism." The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Eds. Terence Ball and Richard Bellamy. The Cambridge History of Political Thought. Vol. 6, Ch. 13. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Khilnani, Sunil. "French Marxism – existentialism to structuralism." The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Eds. Terence Ball and Richard Bellamy. The Cambridge History of Political Thought. Vol. 6, Ch. 14. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Revel, Jacques. "History and the Social Sciences." The Modern Social Sciences. Eds. Theodore M. Porter and Dorothy Ross. The Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 7. Ch. 21. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.
  • Bannister, Robert C. "Sociology." The Modern Social Sciences. Eds. Theodore M. Porter and Dorothy Ross. The Cambridge History of Science. Vol. 7. Ch. 18. Cambridge University Press, 2003. Cambridge Histories Online.

MSTU5606/MSTU5607 Grading Policies

     Participants in MSTU5606/MSTU5607 seeking letter credit will be assigned separate grades for the fall and spring semester.  The instructors consider grades at an advanced level of graduate education to be an extrinsic part of the academic system, not an intrinsic part of the course.  At this stage, youmay learn with them, but not from them.  By that, we mean that grades are necessities possibly marginally furthering your ability to advance through the system, but they do not give you any real, substantive feedback.  For a self-directing scholar (and at this stage you should think of yourself as a self-directing scholar), substantive feedback comes from your inner accounting about the development of your understanding, about the scope of your awareness, about the state of your agenda of inquiry.  Your understanding should deepen; your awareness expand; and your agenda of inquiry become more subtle and demanding.

     Essentially, we provide grades for the system on the principle of "do no harm." They have three variants — excel (A), succeed in two flavors (A- or B+), and caution with degrees of emphasis (B, B-, or down).  We base these grades on our judgment about the quality of your participation in class discussions and in the course wiki.  To succeed, you need to have made a serious effort to prepare for class discussions by engaging the assigned readings thoughtfully, you need to contribute your questions and observations actively to class discussions, and you need to participate with some regularity and creativity in developing the course wiki.  Harm can be done in grading by failing to recognize genuinely standout achievement or failing to warn when effort, or its result, falls short of reasonable expectations.  Otherwise, the question of grades should be neutral, not intruding on the substantive process of inquiry and interpretation.

     Bottom line: The course is difficult; the grading easy.

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