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General Education in the Social Sciences

Centennial Reflections on the College of the University of Chicago

Higher education’s most vibrant and contentious issues—common and specialized learning in the curriculum, conceptions of general and liberal education, the design of common core sequences, the merits of classic texts and contemporary research, Western and non-Western course materials, the place of undergraduate teaching in scholarly careers—have for decades been debated by the faculty of the College of the University of Chicago. At the College, they have become embodied in educational programs of sufficient historical depth to reveal patterns of intellectual and pedagogical continuity amidst changing social and institutional circumstances.

Social Science 2 holds the place of honor among these educational projects. For more than half a century, Soc 2 has been one of the most influential courses in American undergraduate education. This unique, year-long course, the oldest and most distinguished of its kind at any American university, has served as an ongoing experiment in how the social sciences can be taught and learned in the general education context.

In this collection John MacAloon has gathered essays by fourteen eminent social scientists—such as David Riesman, Michael Schudson, and F. Champion Ward—who as either teachers or students were profoundly shaped by Soc 2. Their multifarious and selective memories—full of dissonances and harmonies of recollection, judgment, and voice—create a compelling biography of a course and a college that have survived tumultous change through sustained and committed argument.

This book will be of great interest to anyone interested not only in the theory but the practice of higher education.

Table of Contents

Preface by John J. MacAloon
Introduction by John J. MacAloon
Part I - The College in the University
1. Not Very Simple, but Overflowing: A Historical Perspective on General Education at the University of Chicago
David E. Orlinsky
2. Requiem for the Hutchins College
F. Champion Ward
Part II - Soc 2 in the College
3. Classics and Conversations
Donald N. Levine
4. Chicago General Education in Social Sciences, 1931-92: The Case of Soc 2
David E. Orlinsky
5. A Ruminating Retrospect on the Liberal Arts, the Social Sciences, and Soc 2
Michael Schudson
6. Through the Lens of a Career: A Student’s Recollections and Assessments of Soc 2
Robert Ginsberg
Part III - Intellectual Biographies and Institutional Settings
7. A College Remembered
Lewis A. Coser
8. The Scholarly Tension: Graduate Craft and Undergraduate Imagination
Joseph R. Gusfield
9. My Education in Soc 2 and My Efforts to Adapt it in the Harvard Setting
David Riesman
10. Comment on "My Education in Soc 2," by David Riesman
Harold S. Wechsler
Part IV - Enduring Controversies in Changing Times
11. Why Read Freud? Psychoanalysis, Soc 2, and the Subjective Curriculum
Bertram Cohler
12. The Portable Soc 2; or, What to Do until the Doctrine Comes
Marc Galanter
13. Alternative Social Sciences
McKim Marriott
Afterword by Ralph W. Nicholas
The Contributors
Index of Names

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