I created this website so I could share my love for classical sociology, art, and the intersections between the two. During my graduate studies and beyond, what has most fascinated me in the study of sociology are the big ideas of the great thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries. These sociologists (and anthropologists, with the occasional psychologist) saw what they did not as merely a way to inform government officials and the social service industry about the problems in society and possible ways to fix them (which is a worthy goal, I must say) but also as a project of understanding, and ultimately, autonomy.
The scientists I discuss on my site created theoretical systems to help organize the messy reality of everyday life into a comprehensible sequence of events through which Modernity is unfolding. For me, perceiving how we are part of this large-scale social process, which started with industrialization in England three hundred years ago and continues up to today with our ever-more-connected global knowledge society, gives us a badly-needed perspective on our contemporary lives and the problems and possibilities inherent in our historical moment.
This comprehension of how we fit into this process can help us see ourselves more clearly and hopefully, can help us think more critically about our world and the information we receive about it. And this, ultimately and ideally, should lead to greater autonomy, that is, more control over our own lives and the effect we would like to have on others around us and the greater society.
On this site, you will find my weekly (sometimes monthly) blog, where I analyze a contemporary event using ideas inspired by these foundational social scientists. You will also find art reviews, as art exhibits are, especially recently, another font of sociological knowledge, one that is summarily overlooked by mainstream American sociology departments. Contemporary artists, for the past few decades, have taken it upon themselves to make statements about society, about what is, what shouldn’t be, and what could be. The aim is often quite similar to that of social scientists: trying to raise awareness, address social problems, encourage viewers to see reality in a different light.
You will also find selected publications and presentations about the above topics. My consuming interest since my childhood has been to understand art’s role in society. Most of my work has focused on precisely that topic. I have found the contemporary philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas particularly helpful in clarifying these issues. Click on the “Articles, Papers, and Presentations” tab to find out why!
I will also occasionally post about politics: I was heartened by Senator Bernie Sander’s fearlessness, energy, and honesty in the last presidential campaign, and have since been inspired to try to do my part in speaking up, organizing, and working for the issues he so doggedly brought to public attention: unsustainable levels of financial inequality in the U.S.; health insurance as a human right; and free public college tuition, just to mention a few that are particularly dear to my heart.
Finally, you will find a “Online Sociology Courses” tab where I will post fully online classes I’ve designed. Feel free to poke around in these classes and contact me if you are interested in my services as an online instructor or course designer.
So- enjoy… and come again!