Darwin-L Message Log 1:95 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<1:95>From TREMONT%UCSFVM.BITNET@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU  Sat Sep 11 12:22:15 1993

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1993 10:18:36 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Universities and charities as fiefs
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Hi all. I"m a sociologist, studying the instituitional history of
evolutionary biology. I am moved to respond to Ray Lewis' comments on
Peter Junger's remarks on long-term institutional changes
in restitutive law (which I found fascinating).

Modern universities and charities like the March of Dimes do not
resemble medieval fiefs in any way. Universities and charities are
both market-oriented corporations (even if they have non-profit legal
status), while feudal relationships were very complex formal personal ties.
In fact modern universities and charities don't even resemble their
medieval counterparts very much, although they do perform some of the
same functions.

The problems of understanding long-term institutional change are some
of the toughest faced by social scientists and historians; there really
isn't a lot of good theoretical support available.

Elihu M. Gerson
Tremont Research Institute
458 29 Street
San Francisco, CA 94131
415-285-7837  tremont@ucsfvm.ucsf.edu

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