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Varieties of Social Imagination

Edited and with a Preface by Andrew Abbott
In July 2009, the American Journal of Sociology (AJS) began publishing book reviews by an individual writing as Barbara Celarent, professor of particularity at the University of Atlantis. Mysterious in origin, Celarent’s essays taken together provide a broad introduction to social thinking. Through the close reading of important texts, Celarent’s short, informative, and analytic essays engaged with long traditions of social thought across the globe—from India, Brazil, and China to South Africa, Turkey, and Peru. . . and occasionally the United States and Europe.

Sociologist and AJS editor Andrew Abbott edited the Celarent essays, and in Varieties of Social Imagination, he brings the work together for the first time. Previously available only in the journal, the thirty-six meditations found here allow readers not only to engage more deeply with a diversity of thinkers from the past, but to imagine more fully a sociology—and a broader social science—for the future.

320 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2017

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Sociology: General Sociology


“Like Rómulo Gallegos’s Doña Barbara, Doña Barbara Celarent comes ‘de más lejos que más nunca’ to reconstitute social thought to its integrity. Her recovery and analysis of odd or forgotten clairvoyant English-speaking social scholars, or her going beyond the ‘English only’ comfort zone, introducing thought-provoking Nairobi, Mexican, Brazilian, Chinese or Peruvian thinkers, reveal the often-missed blend of echoes and voices that deciphering human societies has necessarily encompassed. Varieties of Social Imagination  is an enchanting reading that reinstalls the meaning of erudition that the true sociological imagination demands.”

Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo, University of Chicago

Varieties of Social Imagination is a beautiful book—deeply learned, deeply original, and deeply humane. If the ‘roots of humane social science,’ as the wise Barbara Celarent suggests, ‘lie in translation, in making the systematic leap from one social standpoint to another,’ then this book is both a compelling exercise in translation and a distinctive contribution to a humane social science.”

Rogers Brubaker, University of California, Los Angeles

“A social scientist of outstanding culture, Abbott takes us in his reading room to revive a wonderful diverse set of authors and works, mostly non-Westerners. The reward is twofold. First, the selection paves the way for a global history of social thought. And second, Abbott’s masterful art of reading proves itself to be a heuristic that makes for better conversation between scholarship and imagination.”

Pierre-Michel Menger, Collège de France (Paris)

Table of Contents

I Michael Young
II Henry David Thoreau
III Frances Donovan
IV Bernard Berelson and Gary A. Steiner
V Oliver Cromwell Cox
VI Herbert Marcuse
VII Gilberto Freyre
VIII Jomo Kenyatta
IX Qu Tongzu
X Mariama Bâ
XI G. S. Ghurye
XII Frantz Fanon
XIII Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati
XIV Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
XV Chen Da
XVI Ali Shariʾati
XVII Ziya Gökalp
XVIII M. N. Srinivas
XIX Ellen Hellmann
XX Euclides da Cunha
XXI Fukutake Tadashi
XXII Fei Xiaotong
XXIII Deliar Noer
XXIV Radhakamal Mukerjee
XXV Léopold Sédar Senghor
XXVI Gino Germani
XXVII Taha Husayn
XXVIII Fukuzawa Yukichi
XXIX Heleieth I. B. Saffioti
XXX Alberto Flores Galindo
XXXI Sol T. Plaatje
XXXII José Vasconcelos
XXXIII Edward W. Blyden
XXXIV José Rizal
XXXV Joaquin Capelo
XXXVI Raden Ajeng Kartini


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