Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

GEC2105 The modern social sciences as history: Home

Course Description

The modern social sciences seek universal explanations of human actions, but social scientists hold contesting theories. Radical critics even argue that there is no objectivity in the social sciences. Grand theory seems obsolete nowadays. To a certain extent, the diversity of the social sciences is the historical consequence of institutionalisation and professionalization for centuries. This course, from the historical perspective, sheds light on the development of the modern social sciences since the Enlightenment. We are going (1) to discuss influential theorists and their social positions such as Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Thomas Kuhn; (2) to examine the disciplinary institutionalization and professionalization; (3) to look into the key rule that the state had. In short, it is a self-reflexive course, aiming to reveal the long-term ignored unique relationship between history and the modern social sciences.

Recommended Books

The Second Sex

'What is a Woman?' This is the question asked by Simone de Beauvoir in this classic feminist text. Beauvoir makes it clear from the beginning that woman is the Other. In Volume One, Beauvoir provides a narration of these 'constructions of femininity' as they have occurred in biological data, history, and myth. Beauvoir rejects the biological determinism that has been used to maintain woman as inferior. In Volume Two, Beauvoir maps the stages of a woman's life from birth to old. This section of the text shows woman to be trapped in multiple types of psychosis because she is imprisoned by the male construction of femininity, by her Otherness.

第二性

波伏娃在本书中发出了“女人是什么”的提问,并做出了女人相对于绝对主体的男人是“他者”的观察。卷I探究了女人被界定为他者的原因,卷II按女人的观点描绘固有的世界,以期探明女人在竭力打破非本质的处境的过程中遇到的问题。波伏娃采用的观点是存在主义的道德观——女性并非试图将男人拖入内在性的领域,而是想摆脱两性关系的束缚,追求超越性以确立自己并实现自由。波伏娃认为,女性不应被动地等待男性赋予女性超越性的机会,而应主动创造新的处境。

Tristes Tropiques

This book is a memoir written by Claude Lévi-Strauss in only five months at the end of 1954 and the beginning of 1955. The book consists of 40 chapters divided into 9 parts. The beginning parts deal with the voyages of Lévi-Strauss, leaving Europe and visiting the New World and Tropics. Part Five to Eight deals with a particular native culture each: Caduveo, Bororo, Nambikwara and Tupi- Kawahib. The final part closes the book with the reflections on the nature and purpose of anthropology, humankind's connection with the world and each other, etc.

跟大卫·哈维读《资本论》

大卫﹒哈维认为《资本论》融合了不同的知识传统,从而为知识体系构建了一个全新而革命性的框架。汇集在《资本论》中的三个大的概念框架是:17到19世纪中期的古典政治经济学、古希腊哲学、乌托邦社会主义。大卫﹒哈维认为马克思的目的是将激进的政治研究,从他所认为的一种相当浅薄的乌托邦社会主义,转变为一种科学共产主义,以及通过对政治经济的批判,来理解资本主义是如何运行的。大卫﹒哈维在导读中还加入了关于《资本论》与当今世界的相关性的观点。

The History of the Social Sciences Since 1945

This book covers the main developments in the social sciences since the Second World War. Chapters are divided by disciplines. Mitchell G. Ash contributed from the perspective of psychology. Roger E. Backhouse contributed from the perspective of economics. Robert Adcock and Mark Bevir contributed from the perspective of political science. Adam Kuper contributed from the perspective of social anthropology. Rom Johnston contributed from the perspective of human geography. The last chapter argues that there are limitations to the type of disciplinary history that is offered in the preceding six chapters.

Internationalisation of Social Sciences in Central and Eastern Europe

This book serves for undergraduate and graduate students of European Integration, Central and Eastern European or Transitional Studies, and any courses related to science policies, and also relevant to science administrators and policy-makers at national and European level. This book explores the way in which social sciences have been divided by the political orders of West and East, discusses how the internationalisation of the social sciences and the convergence between Western and Eastern social scientific life is hindered by factors including funding, academic contacts and curriculum development, and prompts that coherence in European social sciences can be reached only if new academic traditions and cultures are developed, and science policies harmonized.

What Is the History of Knowledge?

This book writes about history of knowledge. Chapter 1 explains what is distinctive about the history of knowledge and how it differs from the history of science, intellectual history, the sociology of knowledge or from cultural history. Chapter 2 discusses some of the main concepts such as order of knowledge, situated knowledge and knowledge society. Chapter 3 tells the story of the transformation of relatively raw information into knowledge via processes such as classification and verification, the dissemination of this knowledge and its employment for different purposes. Chapter 4 identifies central problems in the history of knowledge, from triumphalism to relativism, together with attempts to solve them.

A Social History of Knowledge: From Gutenberg to Diderot

This book maps the main types of knowledge that were in existence between the invention of printing with movable type in Germany to the publication of the Encyclopédie. Mostly, it is based on texts published between the 16th and 18th centuries, but it also takes account of oral knowledge, images (including maps) and material objects such as shells and coins collected for display. It explores the difference between the old sociology of knowledge and the new, as well as the changing composition of the European clerisy since the Middle Ages. It also deals with the geography, anthropology, politics and economics of knowledge, as well as the way readers appropriated knowledge.

A Social History of Knowledge II: From the Encyclopédie to Wikipedia

This book offers a general view of changes in the world of learning from the Encyclopédie (1751-66) to Wikipedia (2001). Part 1 argues that activities which appear to be timeless- gathering knowledge, then analyzing, disseminating and employing it- are in fact time-bound and take different forms in different periods and places. Part 2 tries to counter the tendency to write a triumphalist history of the growth of knowledge by discussing losses of knowledge and the price of specialization. Part 3 offers geographical, sociological and chronological overviews, contrasting the experience of centers and peripheries and arguing that each of the main trends of the period coexisted and interacted with its opposite.

Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War

This book analyzes the interrelation of anthropologists’ work with American government policies and practices during World War II. After a background introduction of World War I, the book introduces Allied and Axis contributions to World War II. Then the book examines specific areas where anthropologists had high visibility, such as college campus, the Institute for Human Relations at Yale, the Smithsonian Institution, and the White House. The book then focuses on fieldwork done by anthropologists, the work of anthropologists in the Office of War Information, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Intelligence Service, and the Office of Strategic Services. The book concludes with the ambiguities of anthropologists' World War II work.

21世纪资本论

本书回顾了自工业革命以来收入及财富分配及分配不平等说引发的社会、政治和文化矛盾的历史,主要基于现今发达国家的历史经验,尤以英、法、美、德、日五国的经验为主。皮凯蒂指出,财富和收入不平等的深层结构没有改变;当前,资本收益率持续高于经济增长率的趋势,将不断加剧收入不平等,有可能威胁到现代民主的价值观。皮凯蒂认为,可以通过政治制度和手段——在全球范围内实行累进资本税——来抑制贫富分化和收入不平等。

Chaos of Disciplines

This is a book of sociological theory. Abbott insists that knowledge in any discipline is organized by common opposites that function at any level of theory or method. Abbott examines the fractal opposition of quantitative and qualitative approaches in social science, then realism and constructionism in recent sociology, three complex episodes in the borderlands between history and sociology, and whether recent intellectual ferment in social science is attributable to a worldwide intellectual crisis or just the “fractal effect”. He concludes with self‐similar social structures and how these “make sense” of the politicization of American academia.

Modernization As Ideology: American Social Science and “Nation Building” in the Kennedy Era

This book reveals how social science theory helped shape American foreign policy during the Kennedy administration. Latham examines three Kennedy administration initiatives- the Alliance for Progress, the Peace Corps, and the Strategic Hamlet Program in Vietnam. He shows that the concept of global modernization has moved beyond its beginnings in academia to become a motivating ideology behind policy decisions in the midst of America’s protracted struggle to contain communism in the developing world- these ideas claimed to provide an objective basis for diagnosing and acting to alleviate conditions that might make for Communist revolutions in the Third World.

Cold War Anthropology: The CIA, the Pentagon, and the Growth of Dual Use Anthropology

This book considers some of the ways that military and intelligence agencies quietly shaped the development of anthropology in the United States during the first three decades of the Cold War. It focuses on how shifts in the Cold War’s political economy provided anthropology with rich opportunities to undertake well-funded research of interest to anthropologists, while providing this new national security state with general and specific knowledge, and analyzes how Cold War anthropologists’ work at times aligned with the interests of rich and powerful agencies, such as CIA or the Pentagon.

Unthinking Social Science: The Limits of Nineteenth-Century Paradigms

This book collects 20 essays, divided into six themes. The first deals with the social history of the epistemology in question. The second deals with the concept of development. The third deals with the concepts of time and space. The fourth and the fifth turns to two major thinkers- Marx and Braudel. The final part turns to world-system analysis. With the presumption that nineteenth-century social science serve as the central intellectual barrier to useful analysis of the social world, Wallerstein calls upon the readers to “unthink” social science so as to get rid of the nineteenth-century paradigms’ limits.

Recommended Databases