The Path to Public Service at SEAS
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Responsibility for the development of sociology lies outside the Department, as well as within it. A forty percent increase* in the number of concentrators in five years and an even greater increase in the enrollment of outside men in several courses** indicates the direction in which the Sociology Department is moving. This forward motion can and should be accelerated in several ways.
First, a renovated Sociology A should be an alternative to any one of the "Holy Trinity's" three elementary courses. When the Sociology Department was in process of formation, the question of adding it to the Division of History, Government, and Economics arose. It was eventually decided that the new department should not be sunk beyond recall beneath the overwhelming numbers of the three older fields. Instead Sociology was to be left to develop independently and make as many affiliations as it desired with other fields.
The decision was a wide one and objections to merging the Department still carry weight. However, the status of Sociology A remains unsettled. There is no reason why a concentrator in History, Government, or Economics should not find Sociology A more valuable than either of the present required elementary courses, or even determine that a sociology correlation is more desirable than any other. Such students, none the less, run afoul the somewhat insolent self-sufficiency of the "Holy Trinity". The inescapable conclusion is that the whole value of having this Division is questionable, if it means the practical exclusion of Sociology.
A second matter recommends itself to those interested in sociology. The work done particularly by graduate students, is generally of high caliber. Yet, unlike most departments, Sociology has little or no opportunity to attract brilliant students with scholarships and fellowships or to forward useful work already in progress. Attention should be directed to diverting some of the influx of graduate scholarship funds into sociological channels.
A third important measure would be the establishment of a Harvard Sociological Series. Already established seres, such as those in economics and history, are justly famed as contributions to learning. There are many regular members of the Sociological faculty, of whom Professors Sorokin, Zimmerman, and Parsons are best-known, who would make a similar series in sociology likewise indispensable.
Of the three measures the one most insistently demanding correction and clarification is the relationship between Sociology and her somewhat arrogant sister social sciences. But all three, coupled with internal reorganization, must be consummate before the Sociology Department can stop fighting rearguard actions alone and unaided, and move up to the van of educational progress.
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