Professor Farnum took an honors degree in sociology at Princeton and subsequently took his doctorate at Penn, where he studied with Talcott Parsons and Digby Baltzell. He joined the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Art in 1980.
Professor Farnum’s courses include “Case Studies in Sociology,” a SIFT core course introducing both science and sociology; “Individual and Society,” the influence of social forces on action; “American Society,” core American beliefs and current social trends; “Contemporary Social Problems and Institutions,” three American social institutions and their current problems; and “The Good Life,” a Humanities Seminar on conceptions of virtue. He has also taught “Sociology of Art,” “Modern Culture,” “Modernism” and “Western Culture.”
Several of Professor Farnum’s publications, including “Elite College Discrimination and the Limits of Conflict Theory,” “Penn’s Road Not Taken,” “Prestige in the Ivy League” and “The American Upper Class and Higher Education,” examine relations between the university and the class structure. “On Ressentiment as a Motive Force in Sociological Research” considers the shift in academic sociology from analysis to advocacy.