Rod Dreher has converted to Catholicism, then to Orthodoxy, and now to hippie. This is a strange personality type. Nonetheless, well done for the moment, Rod. I’ve always thought that if I were going to bother converting to a religion I’d just go on and be clasped to the bosom of the holy mother Russian church. Why mess around, you know?

Perhaps uncharitable shorter Rod Dreher: “You know, although I’d listened to the Black Sabbath song ‘War Pigs‘ many times before, I felt now as if only now I were hearing it for the first time.”

(With charity towards all, I advise readers to go out and listen to some Sister Rosetta Tharpe. If you’ve never heard her music, it will blow your mind.)

Institutions and Politics

by Henry Farrell on January 13, 2007

I’m teaching a Ph.D. level course this semester on institutions and politics, which is intended to provide our students with an introduction to the three main varieties of institutionalism as I see them – rational choice, historical institutionalism and sociological and ideational approaches – with a few classes at the end devoted to comparing the different ways in which they tackle the same, or similar phenomena. I’d be grateful to any interested CTers who have comments on things that I should or shouldn’t be including in the syllabus – it’s the first time I’m teaching it, and there may likely be interesting stuff out there that I’m not aware of. NB that the reason that I include a couple of pieces of my own in the syllabus isn’t because I think that these are classics of modern thought on the topic, but because I’m better aware of the strengths and flaws of these pieces as applications of institutional theory, and can thus use them to provide guidance for students contemplating how to deal with their own dissertation projects etc. The reading list is beneath the fold.

Update: This “syllabus”: for a course that Jonathan Zeitlin teaches in sociology is a very helpful alternative, covering some debates in depth that my syllabus only touches in passing, if at all.
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