Food for Thought: or, „Eat a balanced intellectual diet.“

Post in: German

How much are food and work connected metaphorically? That’s the topic I’m working on this Sunday morning.  My introductory sociology class, which meets for the first time this week, will hear from me on Tuesday that, just as a healthy food diet includes a variety of foods, a healthy university education includes a variety of courses, with a variety of instructors, a variety of theories and methods, and the opportunity to put together a unique viewpoint as a university-educated world citizen.  A healthy university education includes a variety of courses, instructors, theories and methods, to put together a unique viewpoint as a university-educated world citizen. This message will be accompanied by exhibits from my “food porn” photo collection of desserts (see the gallery below for a taste of what’s to come). If that’s all we ate, we might enjoy it at first, but at some point there would be a sugar crash. Have a look. The monotony of it all. Please pass the salad! How about some mushroom dumplings with grated parmesan?

I have seen in my time a few intellectual sugar crashes, and even cases of sugar-induced intellectual diabetes. These are not pretty.

A balanced intellectual diet, like a balanced food diet, is a healthy way to go. That’s one reason I am thrilled to be teaching the Return to the classics and the core. You’ll get something new out of them every time. “Introduction to Sociology” lecture this semester for the first time, to over 500 first-semester students.  It’s a great way for me to get back in touch with the roots and the breadth of the field. Each of us should return to these perspectives at some time. That’s one of the arguments Robert K. Merton makes in his 1967 Treatise, “On Theoretical Sociology” (coincidentally on the reading list in week 2). Return to the classics and the core. You’ll get something new out of them every time, because you’re someplace different each time. If you don’t get something new, it means either you’re not growing intellectually, or the work wasn’t as deep as you thought it was.

Merton, Thomas K. 1967. On Theoretical Sociology. New York: The Free Press.

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