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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 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.

Recommended Databases