harvardquixoticZoom Lecture: Harvard’s Quixotic Pursuit of a New Science

Join us as Patrick L. Schmidt ’78 discusses his book, which charts the rise and fall of Harvard’s Department of Social Relations, the revolutionary attempt to create a new interdisciplinary social science.

Tuesday May 9, 2023 @ 7:00PM
Virtual Event via Zoom (details sent after registration)


Cost: No charge
Contact: Maiya Verrone @ maiyawv@aol.com

Harvard’s Department of Social Relations promised an interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences, with an importance rivaling Harvard’s Economics, Government, and History departments. The Department of Social Relations eventually intersected with everything from Timothy Leary’s notorious psychedelic drug experiments to the Unabomber’s three-year involvement with an abusive psychology test. In Schmidt’s work, towering scholars including Talcott Parsons, David McClelland, Howard Gardner, and David Riesman loom large, as do the intellectual stakes—and the personal and institutional factors that brought the department down.

Speaker Bio

Patrick L. Schmidt ’78 is an attorney in Washington D.C., focusing primarily on matters relating to Latin America and the Caribbean. After graduating from Harvard, Schmidt received a law degree from Georgetown University, and an MIPP degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Schmidt also completed graduate studies in the PhD program of the University of Madrid (Complutense) Faculty of Law. He first examined the history of the Department of Social Relations in his undergraduate honors thesis at Harvard, interviewing 28 of its faculty members.



7:00PM - 8:00PM Tue 9 May 2023, Pacific timezone

Virtual Event Instructions: