What is historical sociology...?

The snow outside Macky Auditorium at CU-Boulder.

The snow outside Macky Auditorium at CU-Boulder.

In January, I enrolled at the University of Colorado here in Boulder to take a few sociology classes in advance of applying to graduate programs in the discipline this fall. My plan was to take stats, theory, and a few history classes for fun on subjects that I didn't get to while at Gordon. However, before the first day of class, I was perusing syllabuses for my upcoming courses, and looking up my professors. I stumbled over the CV of my Classical Theory professor (Dr. Isaac Reed), and saw that he specialized in something called "historical sociology."

Could there really be something that blended my first passion, history, and this new one, sociology? I made it my mission to find out what it was. After the first or second day, I asked Isaac if I could come to his office hours to chat about what historical sociology is. He agreed, and I learned that historical sociology is a unique way of studying the social world through the lens of the past - usually in a comparative way, although sometimes on a case by case basis. I am still trying to grasp the whole of it, but it seems like history, and social theory is just another tool in the historian's toolkit. 

I am really excited to learn more about this field, and Isaac has agreed to take me on as an informal advisee. I am also going to sit in on his Graduate Theory course so I can go a bit deeper with the material than I can in the undergraduate course. 

After all of this, I've decided to postpone applications, and apply credits from my first degree to my work here at CU so that I get a second BA in sociology. This will give me time to build more substantial transcripts, improve my GPA, get new, more updated references, and perhaps more importantly, some research experience. I've talked with Isaac about perhaps doing a research assistantship with him this summer, so I'm looking into the application process. 

All very exciting stuff! Can't wait to explore more into the world of historical sociology!

Anne Taylor