The Social Thought Program at Penn State has served since 1992 as a network of communication and mutually enhanced scholarship for those members of the university community in various disciplines with shared interests in social, cultural and political theories. This joint venture in teaching and research has been developed by means of an interdisciplinary approach to learning that emphasizes an historical understanding of intellectual change. The Program is aimed at graduate students whose academic interests are broad, and is taught by faculty with a similar orientation. It offers a doctoral minor in Social Thought that augments a student’s principal field of study. The Program also coordinates public events, informal gatherings, reading groups, and other modes of interaction for young scholars and their faculty colleagues.
The internationally known faculty that make up the Social Thought Program, from no fewer than thirteen disciplines, are unified by the conviction that lively conversation among what are normally disparate fields of inquiry is the only reasonable way to forge ahead in comprehending impending social change. What unifies these faculty members is not only a commitment to working jointly in training talented graduate students, but also recognizing that recent theoretical developments in social critique, interpretation, and theory have redefined and united traditional disciplines such as philosophy, political science, history, social and political analysis, education, gender studies, aesthetics, literary criticism, family and development studies, and foreign languages.