Social Studies Concentrators Do Not Sell Out


To the Editors of The Crimson:

When you published, on March 19th, my letter in reply to Professor James Davis's attack on Social Studies, you left out a passage in which I defended its students.

I said that: "It is true that many of the students have been uneasy with the world as it is, and eager for change. This is no crime, and anyhow it is bizarre to blame them both for a lack of conformism that often led them, as students, to investigate real social and political problems, and for becoming corporate lawyers, thus, presumably, selling out.

"The proportion of Social Studies concentrators who become lawyers is probably the same as that of other social science concentrations, Sociology included. Many Social Studies concentrators, by the way, have become academics, even in very distinguished sociology departments; neither for them nor for their teachers has Social Studies been a dead end.

"The devotion of Social Studies instructors to teaching has always been one of the concentration's main attractions. And the notion that developing the students' skills at argument, at sophisticated reasoning and at self-expression is somewhat a shameful social waste is as surprising in an educator as the rest of Davis's outburst."


If so many excellent teaching fellows coming from other departments--young men and women who know perfectly well that their academic future depends on these departments--have volunteered to teach in Social Studies, isn't it clear that it is because of the quality of the students and of the program itself? Departments that have far better reasons than sociology for believing that if Social Studies did not exist its concentrators would go to them, have never indulged in the kind of aggression that has now occurred.

Today as in 1960, when the program was established, Social Studies accomplishes something different from, and as valid as, what regular departments do. Stanley Hoffman   Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France