Forty Form ‘Counter’ to Gov 146; Banfield Agrees It’s a Great Idea

Robert A. Rafsky, Harvard Crimson, October 18, 1966.


Gov 146, Edward Banfield’s treatment of urban problems and the second largest course in the College, spawned a counter-course last night.

Some 40 undergraduates and graduate students met in Phillips Brooks House to set up a weekly seminar that will question Banfield’s approach and conclusions.

“The idea isn’t simply to refute Banfield or be a truth squad,” said Michael Reich, a first-year grad student in Economics and one of the organizers. “We should use his course as a starting point and discuss different ways of looking at the problems.”

Some of the issues that Banfield neglects, he said, are the limitations of federal programs for helping the poor, the work that volunteers are now doing in slum areas, and black power. He proposed that the seminar invite a Roxbury mother on welfare and other speakers to learn about them.

Members were divided on whether they ought to organize the seminar around Banfield’s lecture topics, but most felt it was inevitable.

Harvard Crimson