Six Pretty Good Books: Explorations in Social Science (Fall 2013)


This four-credit introduction to interdisciplinary social science is co-taught by social psychologist Jeff Hancock and sociologist Michael Macy. The course is a social science version of "great books" courses in the humanities but instead of classic works of fiction, the course is organized around recent books by some of the world's most prominent social thinkers, rather than the more traditional theme-based approach in much of the social science curriculum. The books were selected because they inform fundamental puzzles that motivate scientific inquiry regarding human behavior and social interaction. Lectures expose students to disciplinary similarities and differences in perspectives, theories, concepts, assumptions, and methods.   In addition, there are informal guest lectures by the authors of each of the six books, during which students have the opportunity to engage them in conversation about the material.

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