The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Charles Tilly video interview

April 11, 2008

Daniel Little has a wonderful project instantiated in his website “UnderstandingSociety ChangingSociety” aimed at providing resources for those interested in social processes and social change.

He’s collected a number of interviews with prominent figures. I’ve watched the one with Charles Tilly, which is really a remarkable interview with a remarkable scholar and intellectual.

I highly recommend that readers of the Duck take a look, particularly those of you in academia or thinking of going that route. The first part of what turns out to be a very long discussion is below.

Although I’ve heard a lot of the content of Chuck’s interview before–I imagine most of his students and collaborators will recognize much of the commentary–seeing it all put together was an extraordinary experience.

Pay special attention to Chuck’s discussion of his intellectual odyssey, how his views on fundamental issues in social-scientific analysis changed over time, and his reflections on the tensions between the “ideal” of social-scientific progress and the social-psychological dynamics of advising PhD students.

I plan to check out the one with Sid Tarrow next.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.