Pitirim Sorokin, a distinguished American sociologist, comes to Harvard this fall as Professor of Sociology and Chairman of the Committee on Sociology and Social Ethics. He will offer two full courses to be given in the Department of Economics, one an undergraduate course in contemporary sociological theories, and the other a graduate course on social organization.
The appointment of Professor Sorokin marks an important addition to the instruction in Sociology available to students at Harvard. For some years Professor T. N. Carver has been giving courses in that subject in the Department of Economics, and the Department of Social Ethics has covered other parts of the field. Some other departments have also given work closely related to Sociology. Finally, in 1928 an attempt was made to coordinate this scattered work by the establishment of the tutorial field of the Sociology and Social Ethics, administrated by the Committee of that name, which is composed of members of the departments of History, Government, Economics, Anthropology, Philosophy and Psychology, and Social Ethics. The purpose of the field is to provide an opportunity for the combination of a descriptive study of human society with a critical examination of sociological theories and of selected contemporary social problems. To this end students are encouraged to combine strictly sociological material with material drawn from the resources of these and other departments offering work related to Sociology, and with the help of tutorial guidance, to correlate the knowledge thus obtained into a unified view of society. Not only will Professor Sorokin and greatly to the strictly sociological instruction offered, but a Chairman of this Committee he will form a focus for the correlation of the many efforts in various departments of the University to further sociological studies.
Born in Russia
Professor Sorokin was born in Northern Russia in 1889. After his early education in the public schools of that region, he prepared for the university at the Psycho-Neurological Institute of Petrograd. In 1910 he entered the School of Law of the University of Petrograd from which he was graduated in 1914. A little later he was awarded the degree of Master of Criminal Law and Procedure, the requirements for which are even more stringent than those for the American Ph.D.
In 1916 he became Privat Docent in the University of Petrograd, but in the following year, owing to the Revolution, he discontinued his teaching and engaged in political activities. He held several important posts under the Kerensky regime, including those of secretary to the prime minister, and member of the council of the Russian Republic.
Following the accession to power of the Soviet Government he became a political prisoner and was not able to resume his teaching at the University of Petrograd until 1919.
A few months later Professor Sorokin was banished by the Soviet Government and took refuge in Czecho-Slovakia, where he spent ten months as the guest of President Masaryk. In 1924 became to the United States and became Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota, where he has remained until called to Harvard.