Recently, socblogger celebrities Andrew Perrin and Kieran Healy posted their graduate social theory syllabi on their respective blogs. Like most grad social theory classes, these two focused on the classics – Marx, Weber, Durkheim – with a smattering of interesting contemporaries (e.g. Bourdieu) and antecedents to contemporary work. The two theory sequences I’ve taken (at UCSD and Michigan) had much the same structure.
A cohortmate of mine and I decided this summer that we wanted to focus on the part in between – the folks from the 1930s (or so) to the 1970s (or so) that set the stage for contemporary debates, but are now little read (in required courses anyway). We learn to criticize some of this work but don’t really know what it was or why it was influential (Parsons being the exemplar). So, the two of us decided to run an independent study we are affectionately calling “Theory 3”, with a focus on mid-20th century American and European social theories we’ve heard of but not read much of. Unfortunately, this left us in the awkward position of constructing a syllabus about authors we knew little about! We scraped things together, Googling syllabi and asking around, and we’re fairly happy with what we’ve come up, but we’d love to have your input. Here’s the syllabus. What do you think?