This seminar will consider the development of social work as a profession since the late 19th century. How and why did social work emerge as a profession? In what ways did developments in political and moral philosophy, philanthropy, social science theory, the growth of the welfare state, the development of other professions, and various political and economic forces shape the social work enterprise? This will include an examination of the attempts over the past century to define what social work is, and what it is not. Is there a “mission” for the social work profession, and if so, what is it? What has been the role of social work education and research in the development of the profession? The seminar will also involve an examination of selected issues facing the profession today. The pursuit of answers to these questions will involve extensive reading and discussion of competing histories of the profession and seminal works by leaders in the field.