Editor’s note: This newest addition to HAR Reviews pairs a review essay with a brief author Q&A. Our reviewer, Karen Field, drafted the essay first and then brought some questions to the author. We thank Karen for suggesting this format and Patrick Schmidt for his participation, and we welcome more experiments with HoA writing and conversation.

Patrick L. Schmidt

Harvard’s Quixotic Pursuit of a New Science: The Rise and Fall of the Department of Social Relations

Rowman and Littlefield, 2022

264 pages, notes, bibliography, index

Maya Angelou once said, “you can’t really know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” If she was right, then everyone with a stake in the social sciences today should read and reflect upon Harvard’s Quixotic Pursuit of a New Science, a new work by Patrick L. Schmidt that traces the rise and fall of Harvard University’s Department of Social Relations, a department whose founders strove to unite sociology, anthropology, and psychology into a single discipline dedicated to the understanding of human behavior. 

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