a rare Sorokin photograph

 

 

Prezentatsiya1

 

 

Students and teachers of the Jurisprudence Faculty of the Imperial Saint-Petersburg University, around 1913-1914. Standing in second row: sixth from right: P. A. Sorokin.

 

 

personal archive of Prof. A.V. Gordon, Moscow

Posted on Сайт Юрия Дойкова (Yuri Doykov’s site) at

ТРУДНО НАМ СЕЙЧАС ЖИВЕТСЯ… И ДЫШИТСЯ… (ПИТИРИМ СОРОКИН И ЯКОВ ЗАХЕР)

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   courtesy Yuri Doykov

Sorokin letter to President Kennedy

 

 

Sorokin letter to JFK 5-23-1961

 

 

 

Sorokin, ‘Mutual Convergence of the US and USSR to the Mixed Sociological Type’

 

 

This letter of May 23, 1961 from Pitirim A. Sorokin to President John F. Kennedy is self-explanatory. The “enclosed reprint of my paper” which Sorokin refers to in the letter is probably his article “Mutual Convergence of the United States and the U.S.S.R. to the Mixed Sociocultural type,” International Journal of Comparative Sociology; January 1, 1960. A copy of this article is posted here (PDF file above).

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   March 2020

 

 

Sorokin, Nabokov

 

 

According to a Wikipedia entry, in 1936, Vladimir Nabokov, then living in Berlin, began seeking a job in the English-speaking world. In 1937, Nabokov left Germany for France. His family followed him to France; they eventually settled in Paris. In May 1940, the Nabokovs fled the advancing German troops to the United States on board the SS Champlain.

In Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years by Brian Boyd (Princeton University Press, 2016), pg. 514, it is stated:

By late October 1939 Nabokov had settled arrangements at Stanford [University, to teach a summer course there] with [Stamford faculty member Henry] Lanz. Now ready to apply for a visa, he sought affidavits from eminent Russians in America: the artist Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, the sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, and his friend the historian Mikhail Karpovich, who appears to have put him in touch with Alexandra Tolstoy, the novelist’s daughter. Head of the newly established Tolstoy Foundation, which looked after the interests of Russian émigrés in America, Alexandra Tolstoy secured an affidavit for Nabokov from Sergey Koussevitzky, the longtime conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Nabokov became an American citizen in 1945.

All of this is of interest, since Pitirim A. Sorokin had close, extensive contacts with the Russian émigré community. Sergey Koussevitzky was a lifelong friend of Sorokin and his wife Elena.

It would be interesting to know if there exists correspondence between Sorokin and Nabokov.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   February 2020

Roger W. Smith, “Sorokin as Bilingual Stylist: His English Language Writings Examined from a Stylistic Perspective”

 

 

Roger W. Smith, ‘Sorokin as Bilingual Stylist’

 

Сборник

 

 

See attached PDF and Word documents, above.
My paper “Sorokin as Bilingual Stylist: His English Language Writings Examined from a Stylistic Perspective” has been published in the following conference proceedings:

 

Pitirim Sorokin i paradigmy global’nogo razvitiya XXI veka (k 130-letiyu so dnya rozhdeniya)

Mezhdunarodnaya nauchnaya konferentsiya

Syktyvkarskiy gosudarstvennyy universitet imeni Pitirima Sorokina

Syktyvkar, oktyabraya 2019 g.

Sbornik nauchnykh trudov

S. 25-30

 

 

Pitirim Sorokin and paradigms of global development of the 21st century (on the 130th anniversary of his birth)

International Scientific Conference

Syktyvkar State University named after Pitirim Sorokin

Syktyvkar, October 2019

Collection of scientific papers

pp. 25-30

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2019

“Professor Sorokine To Remain in U.S.”

 

 

Professor Sorokine To Remain in U.S.

 

The present Russian government has extended a formal invitation to Professor Pitirim Sorokine, who is a guest of President [Henry Noble] MacCracken at Vassar College at present, to return to that country and take up once more the editorship of the Russian Peasant Magazine, which he carried on before his condemnation.

Professor Sorokine says that he is not planning to accept this invitation because he believes that a faction would have him arrested if he refused to subscribe to their opinions. In addition he would be obliged to aid in the public instruction under the communist government, which would not be pleasant. He said Wednesday:

“If the imprisonment of Trotsky by the communists, announced today, is true, I believe that the present Russian government is doomed and that its fall will take place in a short time.”

 

Poughkeepsie Eagle-News (Poughkeepsie, New York), January 17, 1924, pg. 6

“Sorokin Would Welcome Fuehrer, Duce at Harvard”

 
“Sorokin Would Welcome Fuehrer, Duce at Harvard”

The Minneapolis Tribune

February 25, 1939

pg. 15
ALSO published as:

Harvard Savant Would Teach 3 Dictators “Common Sense”

The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland)

February 25, 1939

pg. 3

 

 

[By the Associated Press]

Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 24 — While one Harvard scientist [Percy W. Bridgman] today gained support in his “manifesto” to bar scholars of totalitarian states from his laboratories, another said he would “welcome Mr. Hitler, Mr. Stalin and Mr. Mussolini to my classes, so that they might learn the ABC’s of common sense.”

Commenting in an interview on Physicist Percy W. Bridgman’s announcement in Science magazine that he wanted to make it more difficult for totalitarian states to get scientific information they might misuse, Prof. Pitirim Sorokin, of the sociology department said:

“Any scientific discovery or invention which could be applied in war should be kept secret except from the Government concerned — because today’s friends may be tomorrow’s enemies.

“However, in the case of the social sciences, since our theories are different from the totalitarian ideologies, and critical of them, it would be useful if the Nazis, the Communists and the Fascists–yes, even Mr. Hitler, Mr. Stalin and Mr. Mussolini–would come to our classes to learn some common sense.”

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

See also (pdf file below):

 

“Physicist Shuts Laboratory To Subjects of Dictators”

The New York Times

February 24, 1939

pg. 1

 

 

‘Physicist Shuts Laboratory to Subjects of Dictators’ – NT Times 2-24-1939

 

my favorite Sorokin photo

 

 

 

Sorokin 1917
Pitirim Sorokin in St. Petersburg, 1917; from cover of The Unknown Sorokin: His Life in Russia and the Essay on Suicide,  edited by Denny Vǻgerö

 

Such a handsome young man. Sorokin was age twenty-eight at the time. In his face and expression, one can see the earnestness and idealism that would manifest itself in his life and writings.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   September 2019

“Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis” by P. A. Sorokin (1938)

 

 

 

Sorokin, ‘Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis’ – Harvard Alumni Bulletin

 

 

 

Posted here (above) is the following downloadable PDF file:

 

“Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis”

By Dr. P. A. Sorokin, Professor of Sociology

Harvard Alumni Bulletin

Vol. XL, No. 16

February 4, 1938

1. 512-514

 

 

Sorokin gave this address in December 1937 as part of a series of radio talks

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

We have here Sorokin writing in the characteristic style of the years following the publication of his Social and Cultural Dynamics, the fist three volumes of which were published in 1937 —  a style that foreshadows that of The Crisis of Our Age, which was published in 1941.

Scholars currently studying Sorokin’s early works in Russian are learning more about his career as a writer. Overlooked (mostly) in the past was the early journalistic experience he had. Sorokin qua writer is a topic that deserves study. One will find, I believe, both strengths and weaknesses.

The fact that Sorokin wrote the majority of his major works in a second language is not something to be ignored. Even in this rather straightforward article, there can be seen occasional infelicities in grammar and wording.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   August 2019

 

 

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addendum:

 

An article of interest — in Russian — which I have not yet seen has recently been published:

 

Американский этап лингвистической биографии Питирима Сорокина (“The American Stage of Pitirim Sorokin’s Linguistic Biography”)

 

by Сергиева Н.С. (Natalia S. Sergieva)

 

Полилингвиальность и транскультурные практики (Polylinguality and Transcultural Practices)

 

Vol. 16, No..1 (2019), pp. 35-44

 

 

Abstract:

 

The article discusses the features of the bilingualism of an eminent sociologist of the twentieth century Pitirim Sorokin in the American period of his life. The purpose of the study is to identify and explain the linguistic features of his scientific thinking in connection with the development of his scientific worldview. The study is based on the materials of Pitirim A. Sorokin Collection at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada). Archival manuscripts and research notes allow us to trace the process of changing the language and switching codes in the professional activities of Pitirim Sorokin after moving to the United States of America. It has been established that the use of a mixed metalanguage by Pitirim Sorokin can be considered as additional evidence of the continued connection with the Russian period of his life and scientific activity. Russian remained for him a tool of scientific thinking, planning and management.

“In Memoriam: P. A. Sorokin” (Supplement, Indian Journal of Social Research, 1968)

 

 

 

tributes to Sorokin – Indian Journal of Social Research, April 1968

 

 

Posted here (PDF file above) is a series of post mortem tributes to Pitirim A. Sorokin that were published in in 1968 as a special supplement to the Indian Journal of Social Research, Volume IX, Number 1 (April 1968), pp. i-xvi

 

“In Memoriam: Pitirm Alexanderovich Sorokin: January 21, 1889-Feburary 10, 1968, pp. i-iii

 

“Reminiscences of Sorokin,” by Charles P. Loomis, pp. iv-viii (written by Professor Loomis in 1959 and published posthumously)

 

TRIBUTES:

 

by Carle C. Zimmerman, pp. ix-xii

 

by Kenneth V. Lottich, pp. xii-xiii

 

The New York Times (reprinted from an anonymous obituary, condensed and slightly edited), pp. xiii-xiv

 

by Kewal Motwani, pp. xiv-xv

 

by Arnold J. Toynbee, pg. xvi

 

by Michael V. Belok, pg. xvi

 

by Santosh K. Nandy, pg. xvi

 

 

The editor of the journal, responsible for assembling the supplement, was G. C. Hallen, Professor of Sociology at J. V. College, Baraut (Meerut), India

 

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   August 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sidney Hook and Lewis Mumford on Sorokin

 

 

1 Sidney Hook, ‘History in Swing Rhythm’ (review of Dynamics) – Nation 7-10-1937

 

2 Lewis Mumford, ‘Insensate Ideologue’ (review of Dynamics, vols. 1-3)

 

3 Sidney Hook review of The Crisis of Our Age – NY Herald Tribune 1-11-1942

 

4 Sidney Hook review of Society, Culture and Personality – NYTBR 8-17-1947

 

5 Lewis Mumford review of The Reconstruction of Humanity – J of Religion

 

 

Several of the most savage — if that is not too strong a word; one can safely say highly critical and damaging — reviews of Pitirim A. Sorokin’s major works were written, not in scholarly journals, but in newspapers and a magazine by two polymaths: the American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford and the American pragmatist philosopher Sidney Hook. It is hard to gainsay the validity of conclusions reached by these two prominent New York intellectuals about flaws in Sorokin’s scholarship, his methodology, his overreaching in sweeping statements and conclusions, his carelessness in the use of evidentiary material, his lack of objectivity in works supposedly the result of exhaustive research based on data compiled scientifically.

What I would be inclined to say is that Sorokin wrote hastily and aimed high — at profundity and broad scope. I feel that the criticisms are valid. Sorokin’s flaws should be acknowledged. They do not necessarily invalidate his works (written during the mid-twentieth century, when, as Sorokin wrote, mankind was in the midst of crisis unprecedented “in all its stark and unquestionable reality” … “of an enormous conflagration burning everything into ashes”), the breadth and depth and timelessness of which are indicators of their lasting importance.
— Roger W. Smith

   August 2019

 

 

I have transcribed and posted here (above), as downloadable Word documents, the following reviews:
review of Social and Cultural Dynamics, Vols. 1-3

by Sidney Hook

The Nation

July 10, 1937
review of Social and Cultural Dynamics, Vols. 1-3

by Lewis Mumford

The New Republic

July 14, 1937

pp. 283-284

 

 

review of The Crisis of Our Age: The Social and Cultural Outlook

by Sidney Hook

New York Herald Tribune

January 11, 1942
review of Society, Culture, and Personality: Their Structure and Dynamics

by Sidney Hook

New York Times Book Review

August 17, 1947

 

 

review of The Reconstruction of Humanity

by Lewis Mumford

The Journal of Religion

Vol. 29, No. 4 (October 1949), pp. 301-302

 

 

 

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Sidney Hook (1902-1989) was an American philosopher known for his contributions to the philosophy of history, the philosophy of education, political theory, and ethics. After embracing Communism in his youth, Hook was later known for his criticisms of totalitarianism, both fascism, and Marxism-Leninism.

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) was an American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic. Noted for his study of cities and urban architecture, he had a broad career as a writer. His works ranged from a groundbreaking study of Herman Melville to books such as The Culture of Cities and The City in America; The Condition of Man; and Technics and Civilization, in which he divided human civilization into three distinct epochs, in a manner somewhat similar to Sorokin.