Classical Sociological Thought 2.0

Dr. Gerald Levy

Q: Why am I re-taking a course that I first took 28 years ago?

A. I’ve always had a thing for sociological theory.
B. It is going to be the frame-work for some writing I want to do.
C. This is my mentor, Jerry Levy’s, last course.
D. All of the above.

The answer is D. All of the above.

Let me explain a little more clearly.  Starting tomorrow, I will be sitting in on my former professor and mentor, Jerry Levy’s course on Classical Sociological Thought.  This will be the final course he will be teaching at Marlboro College before he retires.  When I first heard that this Fall I knew I wanted to be there.  I wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to be there? I had to do some soul-searching and make sure it wasn’t Mitch-Albom-envy.  You know, writing something profound and inspiring about a former teacher of yours?  Once I convinced myself that this just wasn’t a stunt, I had to get on to the hard work and figure out what I wanted to do with this experience.

In the proper mindset of participant observer research, I can’t say with certainty what I will come away with from this experience, but here is how I am approaching it:

Sociology, particularly Classical Sociological Thought, played a big part in my development intellectually and as a person.  Jerry was my guide through this material and through that time in my life.  In many ways, Jerry, is a model teacher, and had perfect “pedagogical pitch” when it came to teaching me.

I want to write a series of essays of reconsideration.  I want to write some essays on these types of topics:

  • Teaching
  • Being a student
  • Sociology and authenticity
  • And a series of articles reconsidering some central classical sociological thinkers in the context of the world I/we live in today — the digital world of technology-mediated, social media.  Will probably include:
    • Max Weber
    • Karl Marx
    • Georg Simmel
    • Emile Durkheim
    • Thornstein Veblen

I am debating with myself whether or not to do some of the writing “in public”  or not.  But in either case, I’ll keep you all posted!

Right now I have to finish reading some Mary Wollstonecraft!


One response to “Classical Sociological Thought 2.0

  1. Will,
    What a great idea-I’ve been wishing that I could go back and retake some of the courses I took as an undergraduate, when I had no idea how important they would turn out to be!
    I look forward to your reflections,

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