In 1933, the New School’s first president, Alvin Johnson, with support from philanthropist
Hiram Halle and the Rockefeller Foundation, initiated an historic effort to rescue endangered
scholars from the shadow of Nazism in Europe at the brink of WWII. These refugees became
the founding scholars of “The University in Exile,” and constituted what became known as the
Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science, now known as The New School for Social
Research. Social Research: An International Quarterly of the Political and Social Sciences was
launched in 1934 by these scholars, who held the deep conviction that every true university must
have its own distinct public voice. Read Alvin Johnson’s introduction to our first issue.
In the years since, Social Research has matured into one of the oldest and most influential
journals in the United States. Papers by authors from around the globe have reached our readers
in nearly 100 countries, and our audience continues to grow. Articles and complete back issues
are regularly used as classroom texts across the United States. Over 250 articles from our pages
have been translated or reprinted in books and journals all over the world, and our special
conference issues are award winners.
Most issues of Social Research address a single theme, which is addressed by scholars, writers,
and experts from a wide range of disciplines. Some of these issues are the proceedings of our
conference series; others are guest coedited by scholars who bring their unique expertise to bear
on multifaceted explorations of the subjects of their interest. Some of our themes are explicitly
drawn from the social sciences (such as "Civil Society" or "Prospects for Democracy" or our several issues devoted to Hannah Arendt’s work);
others consider particular parts of the world (including South Africa, China, and
even "Their America: The US in the Eyes of the Rest of the World." Still other
issues address concepts, ideas, or phenomena that seem ripe for exploration (some recent
examples are "Difficult Choices," "Busyness,” "Shame,”
and "Hope and Despair.” A complete list of our back issues is available online; many are still in print and available for purchase.
In 1988, Social Research instituted a periodic series of issues devoted to East and Central Europe, which now includes nine issues on topics ranging from
nationalism to democratization to prospects for the welfare state. As an outgrowth of the
connection between Social Research and scholars in East and Central Europe, in 1990 Social
Research began the Journal Donation Project (JDP). We asked other journals to join in donating
fifteen subscriptions for distribution to academic and research libraries in the region. The JDP
now provides providing nearly 6,000 gratis and reduced-cost subscriptions per year to
approximately 300 libraries in 21 countries, including Russia and the former Soviet Union,
Nigeria, Vietnam, Cuba, and Indonesia.
In 1988 Social Research also launched its series of conferences at the New School, the proceedings of which are published as special issues of Social
Research. Each of the Social Research conferences examines an aspect of our lives which is
simultaneously central yet has become problematic for significant numbers of people. Rather
than simply confronting these difficult issues directly, which is the normal mode of exploration,
the conferences in this series aim to enhance public understanding of these critical and contested
issues by examining them in a broad intellectual and historical context. To this end, the speakers
at these conferences come from a wide range of disciplines with many different perspectives and
kinds of expertise: Historians, political scientists, and art historians routinely participate
alongside legal theorists, policy makers and journalists, each bringing relevant scholarship to
bear on the contemporary discussions. We believe that this approach is a far more effective way
to illuminate the issues and influence the current public debate.
Arien Mack is the Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, where she has edited Social Research journal since 1970. In 1988 she established the Social Research conference series, which she continues to direct. Professor Mack is also the founder and director of the Journal Donation Project, which assists in rebuilding major research and teaching libraries in countries that have fallen victim to political or economic deprivation, and often both, through the provision of current subscriptions and back volume sets of English-language scholarly, professional and current events journals. In 2007, she launched the Endangered Scholars Worldwide initiative. As a research psychologist, Professor Mack's current interests focus on perception, cognition, and attention. She teaches graduate-level psychology courses and oversees a research lab at The New School for Social Research. Her publications include more than 60 articles, and the coauthored volume Inattentional Blindness (MIT Press 1998).