Toby E. Huff, Ph.D.

Toby Huff

October to December 2012
Ph.D., Research Associate, Sociology and History of Science
Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

Studied Sociology in Cambridge, USA (Harvard)

Research Project
Max Weber and Civilizational Analysis

In the last essay Max Weber completed before his untimely death in 1920, the so-called ›Author’s Introduction‹ to his ›Collected Essays in the Sociology of Religion‹ he set out a broad agenda of comparative civilizational analysis. While Weber’s primary objective was to understand the uniqueness of the West, its economic ascendancy, its unique legal structures, and its nonpareil commitment to modern science, he was deeply interested in how a broad range of religious, legal, political, philosophical and cultural formations had come to be established in other parts of the world, that is, in China, India, Ancient Judaism, and the Islamic world. In that sense Weber was the pioneer of multicultural studies. Furthermore, when Weber spoke of the undeniable ›world historical‹ importance of European breakthroughs in many areas, he was anticipating what now is called globalization. Nevertheless, contemporary students of Weber’s legacy have paid little or no attention to these extraordinary intellectual openings to civilizational analysis enunciated by Weber. They have been focused largely on exegetical studies and Weber’s conceptual apparatus, but devoted very little effort to comparative and historical research as Weber outlined it.
During my tenure at the Lichtenberg Kolleg I plan to revisit Weber’s preliminary articulation of comparative civilizational analysis with a view toward collating and extending his insights, especially regarding law, science, and economic development by merging the results of my own studies reported in ›The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West‹ (1993/2003), and ›Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution: A Global Perspective‹ (2011), as well as other studies.

Selected Publications

Huff, T. E. 2003. The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Huff, T. E. 2011. Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution. A Global Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Huff, T. E. (ed.) 2012. On the Roads to Modernity: Conscience, Science and Civilizations. Selected Writings of Benjamin Nelson. Reprinted. New York: Lexington Books.

Huff, T. E. (Co-editor) 1999. Max Weber and Islam. Piscataway: Transactions Publishers.

Huff, T. E. 1984. Max Weber and the Methodology of the Social Sciences. Piscataway: Transactions Publishers.