Wednesday, November 20, 2013

George Elliott Howard: Cornerstone of American Sociology

Continuing with our 104-part series on past ASA presidents, I am pleased to introduce you to the seventh president: George Elliott Howard.

George Howard, a balding white man in a suit. Black and white photo.
His mustache says hello.

Born in 1849, George Howard, like many of the previous ASA presidents, not only received an impressive domestic education, but also traveled abroad. Howard visited Munich and Paris where he studied law.

Howard became a professor at his Alma Matter, the University of Nebraska, and taught history. His interest in history greatly influenced his sociology, and he even went on to found the Nebraska State Historical Society. Like many of his contemporaries, Howard was a social Darwinist and felt that mankind was perpetually moving away from its animal-like tendencies. To him, an understanding of history was vital to understand the evolution of society.

Also an early feminist, Howard petitioned for equal education for men and women. Later in life he published three volumes on marriage and divorce. His "A History of Matrimonial Institutions..." is available online at the Internet Archive. He further believed that women should have a place in the public sphere.

Howard supported his predecessor, Edward A. Ross, by leaving Stanford during the uproar that was caused by Ross' political views. Howard believed that firing Ross was a violation of academic freedom and resigned as a result.

Throughout his life, Howard supported the rights of women, the development of higher education, and the integration of history into our understanding of society.

You can read more about Howard at the ASA website, or by reading his book linked above.

1 comment:

  1. I like this post a lot. I will definitely be back. Hope that I will be able to read more insightful posts then. Will probably be sharing your knowledge with all of my associates!


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