Students who care for adventure combined with solid scholarship have the chance of a life time, this year. A new man is at Harvard whose vitality in thinking and in teaching has seldom been equaled since the days of William James. Professor Rosenstock-Hussy's field is very different. William James, of course, dealt with psychology and philosophy, Rosenstock-Hussy explores history (including sociology) and the philosophy of history. But his mind can best be compared to William James, because, like James, Rosenstock-Hussy is as alive and as spirited as a race-horse winning a race.
This quality is inborn, but nourished by a unique experience. Rosenstock-Hussy is very widely and very individually a man of the world. At twenty, he took his doctor's degree at Heidelberg. He was promptly appointed professor at Leipzig. He served four and a half years as an officer in the war. At the front he wrote a challenging book, "War and Revolution". It was a call to make the world war end all war. It was a protest too against a threatened hardening of class lines into a conflict between classes. After the war Rosenstock-Hussy devoted himself to the cause of education among factory workers. This brought him into the founding of the Academy of Labor at the University of Frankfurt.
Organized Work Camps
In 1912, he originated democratic Work Camps as a new form of education, and took a leading part in the Camps, for students, workmen and farmers together, which were finally established in Silesia. From those camps he was called to the Chair of History and Sociology at the University of Breslau. There he published a great work on "Revolutions in European History".
His interest in adult education led him into active connection with work in this field in England. In 1927, he lectured at Oxford, on the invitation of L. P. Jacks, on post-war conditions in labor and education in Germany. He has always been interested in social changes, particularly revolutionary changes, and he came to this country largely because of his interest in the American Revolution. As Visiting Lecturer on Government at Harvard, last winter, he gave a series of public lectures on the Revolutions in Western Civilization. In these he revealed the effect of revolutions on national characteristics and national thought.
As Kuno Francke Professor during this half year, Professor Rosenstock-Hussy is giving two courses open to undergraduates, History 73 and 74 on German Constitutional History from Otto the Great to Charles V and on German Constitutional Documents in their Cultural Setting; also a Seminary, Philosophy 20, in which he will work out a comparison between Hegel's ideas of the philosophy of history and Goothe's. Undergraduate students of history are lucky in their chance to work with a man of such experience of life, such democratic ideals, such a stirring intellectual temperament. Graduate students of history and of philosophy will find in Philosophy 20 a seminar which will grow through their active participation under an intellectual leader whose vitally stimulating, very spirited teaching may well be compared with the great teaching of William James.