Russell Middleton: from his “History of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison”

 

Middleton excerpts

 

Posted here as a Word document are fascinating excerpts pertaining to Sorokin from History of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Volume 1: Challenges, Ups, and Downs, 1874-2016 by Russell Middleton (Madison, Wisconsin: Anthropocene Press, 2001).

 

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email from Russell Middleton to Roger W. Smith

August 22, 2018

 

Dear Mr. Smith:

I am happy to give you my permission to cite and quote from my discussion of the relationship between E. A. Ross and Pitirim Sorokin. Ross strongly disagreed with Sorokin’s view of the Soviet leaders, but he was taken in by Soviet propaganda. Nevertheless, he had great respect for Sorokin as a scholar and played a major role in helping him land a job at the University of Minnesota and later as chair of the Sociology Dept. at Harvard.

When I was a graduate student at Minnesota in 1951 there was a joke circulating among the sociology graduate students that Sorokin had read every book in the library. I almost came to believe it when I was looking for some good French sociology texts to use in practice for my French reading exam (which was required for the PhD then). In the stacks I pulled down some very old issues of L’année Sociologique, the famous French journal of Durkheim, Mauss, etc. I was startled to see that Sorokin was the last (and only) person who had checked out the volume in all the years since Sorokin had taught there.

When I run across people who argue that Lenin was a decent leader, in contrast with Stalin, I tell them to go read Sorokin’s autobiography.

Best wishes,
Russell Middleton
Prof. Emeritus of Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

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I wish to thank Professor Middleton for giving me permission to post these excepts from his book.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     August 2021

dedication page, “Social and Cultural Dynamics”

 

 

dedication, 'Social and Cultural Dynamics'

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the dedication page of the first volume of Sorokin’s Social and Cultural Dynamics (1937). Peter and Sergei were Sorokin’s sons.

Few would disagree, I am sure, that there was something wonderful — authentic, deep, sincere — about Sorokin the person. And I feel this can be seen in his family and the Russian émigré milieu he and they moved in: their closest associates and friends.

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 2020