Tag: Talcott Parsons

Robert Bellah, McCarthyism, and Harvard

Robert Bellah, one of the leading sociologists of the last half-century and author of the path-breaking Habits of the Heart, has died. There haven’t been many obituaries yet. Even so, I haven’t seen any mention in the write-ups so far of a little known episode in Bellah’s past: his encounter with McCarthyism at Harvard. (All of the following information comes from Ellen Schrecker’s No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the topic. You’ll never look at your favorite mid-century scholar the same way again.) As an undergraduate at Harvard in the late 1940s, Bellah had been a leader of the university’s undergraduate Communist Party unit. He left the party in 1949 because […]