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 North Carolina
 Central University

Bob Davis,
 North Carolina
 Agricultural and
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Ken Land,
 Duke University

Miles Simpson,
 North Carolina
 Central University

Ron Wimberley,
 N.C. State University

Robert Wortham,
 North Carolina
 Central University

Editorial Assistants Rob Tolliver,  North Carolina  Central University Shannon O'Connor,  North Carolina  Central University

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Volume 4, Number 2
Fall 2006

Max Weber Visits America:
A Review of the Video


Michael Wise

Appalachian State University

   Professors Larry Keeter and Steve Hall from Appalachian State University have prepared an interesting video recounting their adventures "in search of" Max Weber's visit with his North Carolina cousins.  Sociation Today is happy to make available to the scholarly world and for use in instruction in sociology classes Parts I, II and III of the video in a form which can be downloaded.  Please see below for details. 

   Weber's visit to the 1904 World's Fair has been well documented, but the visit of the distinguished professor and his wife to rural North Carolina is a more obscure chapter in his life.  The video is a detective story showing the perseverance and skill of two sociological detectives who at one level uncover the mystery of Weber's visit and at another demonstrate the sociological scholarship necessary for their quest. There is also a third level in which one sees two master teachers at work.

   The first part of the program has Professors Hall and Keeter discussing the origins of the search. Professor Hall evokes from Keeter the inspiration for the project---evolving as it did from questions raised in a theory class, through the frustrations of the early stages to the eureka moment when a student discovers the family connections showing the path to the Fallensteins and Millers of Surrey County. The excitement of this moment is then topped by the most amazing finding that two of Max Weber's American cousins are alive and remember "Uncle Max's" visit.

   Uncle Max's visit was, as one would expect, quite an event in the small town of early 20th century Mount Airy.  Memories of the event are still vivid to these two elderly women. They have a typical young person's perspective on the immanent scholar. They were struck by Weber's clothes. He favored knickers---worn only by youths in America---browns and plaids. His demeanor was serious. Marianne, his wife, is described as dressing plainly. 

   And, they recalled that given the world tensions of the time, many in the community thought that Weber might be a German spy. The full interviews of these two remarkable women are in the second segment of the program. The quality of the videos reflects the technology of the times. As Keeter notes the tapes are amateurish and of poor quality---but, regardless, without them, we would not have these wonderful eyewitness accounts of "Uncle Max's" visit. 

   Throughout the video one sees and hears the professors' respect for and knowledge of Weber's many contributions to sociology. The interviews with contemporary Weber scholars (Dubiel at NYU and Ay of the Max Weber Archives) shows the depth of Keeter's and Hall's knowledge of Weber and their curiosity concerning some of the finer points of Weberian scholarship. These two interviews cross a linguistic barrier that creates some confusion but as record of the continuing interest in Weber's work, they too are valuable. 

   In the last segment is a testament to the skills of the master teachers. The research was inspired and sustained over more than twenty years by student interest and effort both in the classroom and on treks to urban centers in the United States and Europe sponsored by these teachers. A monument is placed at the house where Max and Marianne Weber stayed. Support for this monument came from the North Carolina Sociological Association and several of the universities who have over the years been mainstays of that Association. But, as Keeter notes in the dedication, this project would never have arisen had it not been for his students and the efforts of these students in all phases over the years. Indeed the often dry bones of sociological theory were wonderfully animated by the "search" and the reciprocal enthusiasm between teacher and students over the years. 

Editorial Note:

   In order to make the video widely available on the Web, the files have been heavily compressed from the original DVD into the .mp4 format.  They work well with RealPlayer, which is the program many computers will automatically default to.  There are two choices, download or streaming video. 

   For  Part 1, using the first selection, the video will load the entire file and then begin to play.  The player does not stream the interview, but the advantage is that it can be saved onto individual computers for use later by students. The video is best NOT expanded to the entire screen due to compression. 2X enlargement is satisfactory, however.  Each part below is a separate file and is downloaded separately.  A high speed internet connection is best for downloading the files.  This is a .mp4 format file. 

   If you wish to view the video through streaming, just use the video window below.  Click on the start arrow on the left. 

   Because Parts 2 and 3 are short, both will download to your computer. 

Part 1:
   Max Weber made a trip to visit relatives in Mount Airy in 1904.  This 2004 narrative by Larry Keeter and Stephen Hall is the story of locating and interviewing two living eyewitnesses (1976) to Max Weber's visit with his relatives.  It includes information about his contributions to modern sociology.  The interview lasts 23 minutes, 19 seconds.

Max Weber Visits America
(Saves the download to your computer, .mp4 format)

Part 2:
Part 2 runs 9 minutes, 48 seconds and downloads quickly.  It took place October 28, 1976 in High Point, NC.

Complete Interview with 
Maggie Fallenstein, Max Weber's cousin
(Saves the download to your computer, .mp4 format)

Part 3:
Part 3 was recorded November 27, 1976 in Mount Airy, North Carolina.  It runs 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

 Part 3: Interview with Annie Miller Booker, 
Max Weber's cousin.
(Saves the download to your computer, .mp4 format)

Streaming Window
Double Click on Arrow Pointing Right to begin. 

   The DVD, avilable from the authors (listed below), also contains a presentation on the dedication of the Max Weber monument in 1995, and two interviews with German scholars on Max Weber.  The highlights of each, however, are included in Part 1. 

   The address for obtaining the DVD or VHS tape (NTSC or PAL) is:

Professors Keeter and Hall
Department of Sociology
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608, USA

 Return to the Fall 2006 Issue of Sociation Today

©2006 by the North Carolina Sociological Association