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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Fukuyama on Weber

Brady told me he's still checking on me, so I'll keep up the new spate of entries, with a UofCentric post:

I was just cleaning out some NYTimes Books Update e-mails from the past couple months, and came across an essay by Francis Fukuyama on Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism titled "The Calvinist Manifesto."

Figured I'd save the link for if and when I ever get around to reading Weber. Weber's book was one of those handful of texts that it seemed like everyone at the UofC intersected with in some core course, but it was one that I missed out on. I was talking about this when I was hanging out with Jon Groat when I was in AA last summer for SMB, and so I borrowed his copy of his bookshelf (along with a couple other sociology books he recommended, all of which have merely been sitting on our bookshelf since then).

Another one of those UofCentric texts that I missed catching while there--and that I was recently thinking that I really should read--was Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. I've had a copy of that one all along--I received it as a high school graduation present, paired with another such text: Tocqueville's Democracy in America. (Who gives such a present as a high school graduation gift? A UofC alum, naturally.)

Tocqueville I did read, in my Soc class, but I've been thinking about revisiting ever since. Which bring me to another link I was going to post...

The current Atlantic Monthly's cover story is the first in a series in which Frenchman Bernard-Henri Lévy reprises Tocqueville's journey through America:

The Atlantic Monthly | May 2005
In the Footsteps of Tocqueville
How does America look to foreign eyes? This year marks the bicentennial of the birth of Alexis de Tocqueville, our keenest interpreter. We asked another Frenchman to travel deep into America and report on what he found by Bernard-Henri Lévy

Edward Rothstein--who we learned, through his piece on Bellow that appeared last weekend (look here), was a grad student in the Committee on Social Thought (can't get much more quintessentially UofC than that)--wrote a piece on Lévy's project that was in Monday's Times: "Touring an America Tocqueville Could Fathom."

1 comment:

mArIo said...

Goo
You are a gentleman and a scholar. I read Weber at UC and probably didn't understand a word of it at the time. I think it may be because you and your fraternity brothers were always hazing me, leaving me little time to think of broader intellectual pursuits.

However, I did reread Weber on my second journey through UC and got a lot out of it. The ability of these people to identify, describe, and problematize emerging and abstract forces like capitalism is amazing... not to mention the relevance of their work in understanding contemporary issues, not that he got everything right, but still very coooool.