Classical Sociological Theory (Graduate- Level) Professor Jeffrey Guhin

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1 Classical Sociological Theory (Graduate- Level) Professor Jeffrey Guhin The Course There are a lot of readings here. It s going to be a lot of work. However, when you re done with the semester, you will have a solid grasp on the foundation of much of contemporary sociology, both empirical and theoretical. We go back pretty far in this course: it s basically impossible to understand why we do what we do as sociologists if you don t understand the historical moment from which its key thinkers originated. The questions those thinkers considered which are the questions which we will begin the course, and to which we will regularly return are still largely the questions that dominate social science. There are important conversations I look forward to having with you about the nature of a sociological canon. I have provided you with a fairly broad sense of sociology s source material, but there is necessarily much here that is lacking. I would encourage you to read widely, and to look for other materials besides what I ve provided here. I have not here given you any recommended reading, though I am happy to recommend similar work to something you really like, or to suggest additional readings from the same author. However, if you ve somehow found some extra time in a particular week, my biggest recommendation would generally be to read the rest of the text that week rather that the selection I ve provided. The purpose of this course is to help you familiarize yourself with the conversations that helped to form and, to a large degree, still maintain, the sociological tradition. There are other important conversations besides the ones in this syllabus, but the questions we are looking at here will continue to be raised in your other courses and your broader work as a sociologist. Theory is supposed to be useful, and I believe you ll find every reading here both interesting and applicable to your own work. This course is also a series of instructions on how to theorize, that is, how to get better at writing your own theoretical arguments. This syllabus is a mixture of examples with two coexistent goals: (1) teaching how to write theory by reading good theory and (2) socializing you into the dominant theoretical tradition in mainstream sociology so that you can better read and write sociology. I also believe this course will be a lot of fun, but that is, as we sociologists like to say, an empirical question. Grading Your grade will be based on six marks: 1. Final Exam (35%) 2. Paper 1 (15%) 3. Paper 2 (15%) 4. Paper 3 (15%) 5. Participation (15%) 6. Office Visit (5%)

2 Final Exam There will be a final exam ensuring that you remember key ideas and terms from each of these thinkers. While it is not required, I would recommend making a page or so summary of each argument as we go. If you do that, you should be in good shape. The purpose of tests like this isn t to drill you on arcane information. It s simply to make sure you ve remembered the arguments well enough to use them as you read and write sociology. Three Paperså You ll have three writing projects this semester, due after weeks five, ten, and fifteen. These papers should be between three and five pages, and they should actually make an argument, which is obviously not the same thing as a summary. The papers must compare and contrast two of the writers we read here. Put them in a real conversation, identifying similar and different level of analysis, theoretical goals, and intellectual influences. How is our analysis of both thinkers improved by this comparison? Take these seriously and you could get a theory article out of them. Participation (1) Talk in class. Make sure that talk is about the text at hand, and not the many things that might be similar to that text. Make sure that talk includes others in the room and doesn t turn a seminar into a competition. Generosity is one of the most important qualities in a scholar, both towards the text and towards interlocutors. If you re feeling really shy or intimidated, come see me in office hours. I know that this might itself make you shy, but I promise I m a nice guy who is not that much more awkward than your average human being. (2) See me. I m requiring everyone to come visit me during office hours to talk about the class. You re obviously free to come more often than once. (3) You re adults and so you don t have to explain to me why you ve missed a few classes. If for some reason you re going to miss more than three courses, do let me know, as more than three absences will affect your participation grade. Contacting Me Please come by my office hours or e- mail me to meet at some other place and time if you re having any problems with the reading, the work, or graduate school more broadly. The purpose of this course is to help you become good sociologists, and I m committed to that goal both in and outside of class.

3 The Books These are the books I m assigning. You don t have to buy all of them by any means. For many of them, selections will be available at the course website. Fair use requires that we not put books online when we are using the whole book or a certain percentage of the text. For those, you can get copies at the library. Anything just in quotes in the syllabus is an article or chapter that s on the website Texts 1. Rousseau, Jean- Jacques The Social Contract and other later political writings. (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University 2. Hobbes. Leviathan (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University 3. Burke, Edmund Revolutionary Writings: Reflections on the Revolution in France and the First Letter on a Regicide Peace. (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University 4. Paine, Thomas Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other Political Writings. (Oxford s World Classics). Oxford: Oxford University 5. Hume, David An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. (Oxford s World Classics). Oxford: Oxford University 6. Kant, Immanuel Critique of Pure Reason. London: Penguin. 7. De Toqueville, Alexis Democracy in America. Chicago: University of Chicago 8. Martineau, Harriet Society in America, Volume III. Cambridge: Cambridge University 9. Tönnies, Ferdinand. Community and Society. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. 10. Tucker, Robert C The Marx- Engels Reader. New York: Norton. 11. Durkeim, Emile The Division of Labor in Society. New York: Free 12. Comte, August Introduction to Positive Philosophy. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing. 13. Durkheim, Emile The Rules of Sociological Methods and Selected Texts on Sociology and its Method. New York: Free 14. Nietzsche, Friedrich On The Genealogy of Morals. Oxford: Oxford University 15. Smith, Adam The Wealth of Nations. New York: Bantam Classics. 16. Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Routledge. 17. Weber, Max From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. New York: Oxford University 18. Durkheim, Emile The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: Free 19. DuBois, W.E.B The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Penguin. 20. DuBois, W.E.B Black Reconstruction in America: New York: Free 21. James, William Pragmatism. New York: Dover.

4 22. Simmel, Georg On Individuality and Social Forms. Chicago: University of Chicago 23. Mead, George Herbert Mind, Self, and Society. Chicago: University of Chicago 24. Freud, Sigmund Civilization and its Discontents. New York: Norton. 25. Woolf, Virginia A Room of One s Own. London: Harcourt Inc. 26. De Saussure, Ferdinand Course in General Linguistics. Chicago: Open Court.

5 The Course Week One: How Should Individuals Be Organized? 1. Rousseau, Jean- Jacques. The Social Contract. Books 1-2 (pp ) 2. Hobbes, Leviathan. Book 1. (chapters 1-16, pp ). Week 2: What is Government? Week Two: How Should Government Be Changed? 1. Burke, Edmund. Reflections on the Revolution in France. (pp ). 2. Paine, Thomas. Rights of Man, part one. (pp ). Week Three: How Do We Know What We Know? 1. Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. (pp ). 2. Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. (pp ). Week Four: What Does a Modern Nation Look Like? 1. De Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America (pp ); , 7-10 (pp , ); ( ). 2. Martineau, Harriet. Society in America, Volume III, Part 4. Week Five: What Happened to Community? 1. Tönnies, Ferdinand. Community and Society. Part One (pp ). 2. Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. (pp ). 3. Marx, Karl. Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of (pp ). Week 6: How does the Economy Work? 1. Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Book One, Chapters 1-8 (pp. 8-88). 2. Marx, Karl. Capital. (pp ). Week 7: What is Positivism? 1. Comte, Auguste. Introduction to Positive Philosophy. Chapter 1. (pp. 1-33). 2. Durkheim, Emile. The Rules of Sociological Method. (pp ). Week 8: What is the Genealogical Method? 1. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Genealogy of Morals. Week 9: How Do Beliefs Interact with Economy and Society? 1. Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic. 2. Weber, Max. Religions Rejections of the World and Their Directions. (pp ). In From Max Weber. Week 10: What is Culture? 1. Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

6 Week 11: What is Identity? 1. DuBois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. 2. DuBois, W.E.B. Black Reconstruction in America, chs. 8, 17 (pp , ) Week 12: What is Thinking? 1. James. William. Pragmatism. 2. Dewey, John. Existence as Precarious and Stable. Week 13: What is a Person? 1. Simmel, Georg. Individuality and Social Forms. (pp ). 2. Mead, George Herbert. Mind, Self, and Society (pp ). Week 14: What is the Mind? 1. Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and its Discontents. 2. Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One s Own. Week 15: What is a Sign? 1. de Saussure, Ferdinand. Course in General Linguistics. 2. Peirce, Charles. One, Two, Three: Fundamental Categories of Thought and Nature 3. Peirce, Charles. Logic as Semiotic: The Theory of Signs.

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