Ronald Freedman, international demographer, the UM Roderick McKenzie Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology, and founder of the Population Studies Center, died November 21, 2007, in Ann Arbor. He was 90.
Benjamin S. Kleinberg, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, died of cancer on February 4, 2008, at the age of 74.
Ralph Lane, University of San Francisco, died in San Francisco on October 8, 2007, at age 84.
Robert C. Sorensen, a lifetime member of the ASA and practitioner who applied social science to trademark research, died on February 22. He was 84.
- J. Michael Armer
- Charles M. Bonjean
- Gail Jefferson
- Benjamin Kleinberg
- Bernard Nathan Meltzer
- Steven L. Nock
- Harold Orlans
- Robert C. Sorensen
John Michael Armer died at his home in Santa Fe, NM, on January 21, 2008. Sociologist, poet, graphics artist, pianist, certified Kripalu Yoga instructor, scuba diver, world traveler—the list of accomplishments goes on and on. Most important to his heart and mind were his loving capacities as son and brother, husband, father, and grandfather, mentor and friend, and especially teacher. Mike’s graceful spirit shone never brighter than when he was teaching, in his gentle, unassuming manner, whether in a classroom, in field work, in a data lab, on a playground, or, late in life, as cancer survivor. The thousands of persons whose paths paralleled Mike’s, however briefly, will remember that spirit and carry it forward, to the continued benefit of others.
Mike’s journey of 70 years began in central Arizona, where he inherited the quiet determination of two pioneer ranching families in the Tonto basin, the Armers and the Webbs, dating from the 1870s. The grit of cattle dust in one’s teeth is daily spur to move on, and in this case "moving on" was to Whittier College in California. While en route to his 1959 baccalaureate, Mike participated in the first Crossroads Africa summer program and in a semester-long exchange program at Fisk University. In 1960 he and his bride, Loretta Jane Gotch, moved to Madison for the graduate program at the University of Wisconsin, where Mike became a student of William Sewell, among others, learning the latest advances in many fields of sociology, especially processes of socialization and modernization theory. Awarded his PhD in 1964, with a minor in African studies, Mike and his young family packed off to Nigeria for extensive field work in Mike’s post-doctoral research project, which was headquartered in another dusty town, Kano. An extraordinary adventure in many ways, the experience resulted not only in a cache of sociological data and insights that Mike could utilize during the next several years but also in a network of friendships that lasted into this century.
The following decades brought new research projects, grants from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, National Institute of Mental Health, American Council of Learned Societies, and other agencies. He was well published with articles appearing in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Journal of Social Psychology, Studies in Comparative International Development, and other mainstream journals. His books include African Social Psychology (1975) and Comparative Social Research (1973), a collection of essays from a conference on methodological problems and strategies in comparative research, co-organized with Allen Grimshaw. Most of Mike’s published writing maintained his strong commitment to international comparative research, which culminated in a volume produced for the ASA, Syllabi and Resources for Internationalizing Courses in Sociology (1983).
After returning from Africa, Mike became an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Oregon, quickly advancing to associate status. From there he moved to Northwestern University and then to Indiana University. During those years he also served as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in Senegal and France (1968-69) and as a visiting professor at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. In 1979, Mike was recruited to the department chair in sociology at Florida State University, where he led a major effort of revitalization and expansion. Mike’s infectious optimism and exuberance inspired all who participated in institution building. Before his retirement in 2004, Mike’s colleagues recognized his career-long dedication to excellence in teaching by creating the Mike Armer Teaching Award.
In 1998, a diagnosis of gastro-esophageal cancer led to 24 hours on a surgical table, a long post-surgical treatment, and gradual recovery. Recurrence in 2001 was again followed by difficult treatment and remission. Recurrence in 2006 ended differently. It will surprise no one who has known Mike that his resolutely progressive spirit did not fail him during his last decade.
Loretta, their daughters Cathy and Traci, sons-in-law Stuart and Todd, grandchildren, sister Judy, and other relatives are grateful for the many memoirs of condolence and remembrance. Memorial services have been held in Mike and Loretta’s last hometown, Santa Fe, NM, in Tallahassee, FL, and in the Tonto basin.
On behalf of Mike’s many colleagues and students from around the world.
Irene Padavic and Lawrence Hazelrigg, Florida State University
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of our colleague and friend, Charles (Chuck) M. Bonjean, a beloved member of the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin and retired Executive Director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. He died peacefully on February 20, 2008, in Florida, where he had been living near his family since late December 2007.
Chuck will be remembered for his many contributions to the Department of Sociology at Austin; his many years of leadership at the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas-Austin; his exceptional service to the American Sociological Association and to the Southwestern Social Science Association; as well as numerous boards, granting agencies, and other professional organizations. He joined the faculty of the University of Texas in 1963. He was chair of the department from 1972 until 1974, when he was appointed Hogg Professor of Sociology, a position he held until he retired in 2002. In 1974, he was appointed as Executive Associate of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, where he later became Vice President and then Executive Director, serving until his retirement in 2002.
Chuck received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Drake University, an MA in Journalism, and PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. As a sociologist, Bonjean’s academic interests encompassed formal organizations, sociology of the community, evaluation research, and mental health. He was a prolific researcher, writer, and editor whose name appeared as author, co-author, or contributor to more than 65 books, articles, chapters, and book reviews. He served on or chaired two dozen different ASA committees, including the Committee on Nominations and the Executive Office and Budget Committee.
He was also the editor of a number of academic publications and journals. He served a very long term as editor of Social Science Quarterly from 1966 to 1993. When he became the editor, the journal was but a small regional publication known then as the Southwestern Social Science Quarterly (SSQ). Under Bonjean’s leadership, the journal changed its name and soon became a nationally visible, highly regarded journal. As an editor, Chuck was known for his detailed reviews and the help he gave authors to improve their work. He always promised to send three reviews within six weeks of the date the manuscript was submitted to SSQ. More often than not, he was able to fulfill this promise. He nurtured many young sociologists in his role as editor, colleague, and friend. Along with the journal, Chuck served in many positions of the Southwestern Social Science Association, including as its President in 1994-1995.
Perhaps the activity for which he was most proud was his significant role in the ASA’s Minority Fellowship and MOST Programs. He was one of the founders of the first MOST Program and graciously hosted the ASA Task Force that first developed this program. He provided support through the Hogg Foundation, and his work was critical in garnering funding for this program from the ASA Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Maurice Falk Medical Fund. Because he so loved Texas and Austin especially, he was always eager to share his beautiful home on Lake Travis and his hometown with those of us who collectively created the original MOST Program. Indeed, there was nothing he liked better after a long day of hard meeting deliberations than club-crawling along Austin’s infamous 6th Street, where he would introduce his friends to the diverse music of this fun-loving community, carefully handpick bawdy tee shirts for each of them, and indulge their cravings for Texas food and libations. In Chuck’s true spirit, he facilitated the demanding and time-consuming work of the Task Force, always managing to find ways for the group to have fun at the end of hard working days.
Chuck loved to travel and was on the road more than 100 nights each year in connection with the Hogg Foundation and other responsibilities. He traveled the world in his free time and was one of only a handful of “two-million milers” with Delta Airlines.
Chuck loved sociology, he loved working, he loved jazz, he loved Texas, and he loved his good times with friends—and we loved him for it all. If one thing stood out about Chuck, it was his unique ability to make and remain friends with everyone he met. He will be missed by the many friends he has left behind. In accord with his wishes, when spring returns to the Texas hill country, Chuck’s family will bring his ashes home to Lake Travis.
Margaret L. Andersen, University of Delaware; Patricia Hill Collins, University of Maryland; Marion Coleman, Austin, TX; Clarence Lo, University of Missouri; Lionel Maldonado, Portland, OR; Dudley Poston, Texas A&M University; Howard F. Taylor, Princeton University; Mark Warr, University of Texas, Austin; Charles V. Willie, Harvard University
Erving Goffman concluded his presidential address to the ASA in 1982 with the injunction that "human social life is ours to study naturalistically" and that as sociologists we should "sustain in regard to all elements of social life a spirit of unfettered, unsponsored enquiry." No one’s work better exemplifies unsponsored enquiry than that of Gail Jefferson, who died in Rinsumageest, the Netherlands, on February 21, 2008, two months short of her 70th birthday.
Over four decades, for the majority of which she held no university position and was unsalaried, Jefferson’s research into talk-in-interaction has set the standard for what became known as Conversation Analysis (CA). Her work has greatly influenced the sociological study of interaction, but also disciplines beyond, especially linguistics, communication, and anthropology. It would not be so much true that her work was inter- or multi-disciplinary as that disciplinary boundaries were irrelevant to her enquiries into what Goffman referred to as the interaction order.
In the spring of 1965, to fulfil a requirement for graduating at UCLA as a dance major, Jefferson enrolled in a course Harvey Sacks (1935-1975) taught. Having had previous experience in transcribing in 1963 as a clerk typist at the University of California-Los Angles Department of Public Health to transcribe sensitivity-training sessions for prison guards, Jefferson began transcribing some of the recordings that served as the materials out of which Sacks’s earliest lectures were developed. Later she did graduate work under his supervision, by which time she was already beginning to shape the field conceptually as well as through her transcriptions of the exceedingly fine details of interaction, including laughter. She captured as closely as possible precisely what is said and how it is said, rather than glossing things in the talk as, for instance ((S laughs)). The distinctiveness of Jefferson’s research, in contrast to the more ‘structural’ (sequence pattern) work in CA, was to focus on the machineries through which interaction is constructed and how they are deployed in the moment-by-moment shaping and re-shaping of interaction. Her special contribution was to reveal how interaction is endlessly contingent. For almost the last decade, and right up to her death, Jefferson has been transcribing the Watergate tapes. Jefferson’s last paper, delivered at a conference in Sweden in last July—the month that her cancer was diagnosed—was about the machinery for laughter. Much of the data for that paper were from the Watergate materials; in it, she resumed the dialogue she’d had with Sacks more than 40 years previously.
The warmth of the reception when she entered the packed auditorium in which she delivered that last paper was like that accorded to a rock star, conveying the very considerable admiration scholars had for her and her work. So many people in CA and beyond felt a profound regard for her work. She was sometimes feared for the uncompromising standards of scientific rigour she maintained and insisted upon, but she was loved in equal measure. She held a teaching position for only four years (1974-1978), yet she was known as an exceptionally fine teacher, in part through summer schools and training workshops, and in part also through her comments on people’s work (Goffman wrote to the editor of Language about her review of a paper—a critique of CA—he had submitted: "Her 11 pages of specific suggestions ...were really quite remarkable, a product of a closer and more loving reading than anyone deserves").
Jefferson was born April 22, 1938, in Iowa City, and after re-locating to New York for a short while, her family moved to Los Angeles, where she attended high school, then the University of California-Los Angeles (BA, Dance, 1965). After completing her PhD (Social Sciences) at UC Irvine in 1972, she had temporary appointments at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and California (University of California-Los Angeles, Irvine, and Los Angeles), then research positions at the Universities of Manchester (UK) (1978-1981), Tilburg, Netherlands (1981-1983), and an honorary position at York (1984-1985). She then moved (back) to the Netherlands and married (1987) Albert Stuulen. She was the most incorruptible of scholars, whose work has contributed inestimably to our understanding of a key area of social life and conduct—our ordinary socially situated interactions with one another.
Paul Drew, John Heritage, University of California-Los Angeles, and Anita Pomerantz,University of Albany.
Ben Kleinberg, died at the age of 74 at his home in Columbia, MD, after a long illness.
Kleinberg was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1933. He received his BA from City College and his PhD from the New School for Social Research in 1969. He joined the faculty of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) as an assistant professor in 1969, retiring in 2003. At the time of his death, Ben was emeritus associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Ben served the Sociology and Anthropology Department at UMBC in a variety of capacities over the years. In addition to serving on virtually all department and many university committees, he was department chair from 1972 to 1974. He was especially influential in the early development of graduate education at UMBC. He was active, administratively and academically, in the development of the Policy Sciences Program (now Public Policy). He helped develop the early curriculum for the PhD program and the sociology track in the Mater of Public Policy Program. He was also Acting Director of the program from 1975 to 1977.
Ben was an urban sociologist and was active in many community organizations in Baltimore and Columbia. He wrote an influential book, American Society in the Post Industrial Age: Technocracy, Power, and the End of Ideology and was working on another volume, Urban America in Transformation: Perspectives on Urban Policy and Development.
In recent years, Ben and his wife Susan divided their time between their homes in Maryland and Florida. Ben is survived by his wife Susan, children Alan and Leah, and three grandchildren.
James E. Trela, University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Bernard N. Meltzer, Professor Emeritus of sociology at Central Michigan University, died following a brief illness on January 29, 2008, at the age of 91. Meltzer was born October 17, 1916, in New York City to Phillip and Anna Kemper Meltzer. In Detroit, MI, on June 11, 1944, he married Ida Wasserman, his beloved wife of 63 years. The Meltzers resided for 56 years in Mt. Pleasant, MI, where he served as a faculty member at Central Michigan University (CMU) for 40 years and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work for 30 years. He retired in 1987. Throughout his career, he was an outspoken critic of authoritarianism and a champion of racial equality
Meltzer received his BA (1943) and MA (1944) from Wayne State University and published the results of his master’s research in The American Journal of Sociology (AJS). Studying primarily with Louis Wirth and Herbert Blumer, he completed his PhD in Sociology at the University of Chicago in 1948, again publishing his research results in the AJS. According to Edward Gross, Bernie convinced his fellow graduate students to work cooperatively, sharing lecture notes, references, and bibliographies in preparing each other for the PhD exams.
Apart from two years at McGill University (1949-1951) and brief visiting professorships at Wayne State University, McMasters University, and the University of South Carolina, Meltzer spent his entire career at CMU. Under his leadership, the sociology program there emerged as a leading center of symbolic interactionism; it remains so today. He was a master teacher who, in his minorities and criminology classes, attracted many talented students to the symbolic interactionist (SI) perspective. His command of and contributions to the SI literature and well-known championing of democratic departmental governance, attracted a large number of symbolic interactionists to the CMU faculty. During his lengthy term as Chair, the department added fine programs in anthropology and in social justice, and he successfully encouraged cooperative research and publication among the sociology and anthropology faculty.
During the 1950s, when both authors were undergraduate students at CMU, black students often confronted open and extreme bigotry on the part of some faculty and students. In 1953, one of us (Scott) was one of only seven black students on campus. Some professors told the black students that they should not be at CMU and would not be there the next year. Meltzer gathered them together and encouraged them to fight back. He loaned them books and tutored them in both his office and home. Some of the seven were elected to student government, where they were able to successfully challenge the restrictive covenants of several student organizations. Most of the seven graduated with honors and three of them earned PhDs.
The great majority of Meltzer’s three dozen plus articles and five books, many written when he was teaching four or five classes per semester, deal directly with the SI perspective. Perhaps his best known work is the booklet The Social Psychology of George Herbert Mead (1959), reprinted 20 times. Also widely read are Symbolic Interaction: A Reader in Sociology (1967, 1972, 1978) with his best friend Jerome G. Manis and Symbolic Interactionism: Genesis, Varieties, and Criticism (1975) with John W. Petras and Larry T. Reynolds. At the time of his death, Bernie was anxiously awaiting the copy-edited versions of his major new chapter on Mead to be published in a collection edited by Cardell Jacobson and Jeffrey Chin, as well as an article co-authored with his son Bill scheduled to appear in Studies in Symbolic Interaction.
Bernie was a life-long intellectual who surrounded himself with other intellectuals, including his immediate survivors: his wife Ida Meltzer, a political scientist; daughter Iris Meltzer, with degrees in psychology and public health; son William J. Meltzer, an anthropologist; daughter-in-law Cathy Malkin, a psychologist; and granddaughter Moira Meltzer-Cohen, a curriculum specialist with a background in philosophy. To one of us (Scott), Meltzer was a real father figure and his family a second family; to the other he was a true mentor. To both of us he was a first-rate teacher, colleague, and friend. His former colleagues and students will sorely miss him; they remember him as a colleague’s colleague.
Peace to your ashes, sir, and honor to your name.
Larry T. Reynolds, Central Michigan University, and Joseph W. Scott, University of Washington
Steven L. Nock, University of Virginia, died on January 20, 2008, at age 57 after a life-long battle with complications from diabetes. He was a Professor of Sociology, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, and Commonwealth Professor at the University of Virginia, where he had provided highly distinguished service for 30 years.
Steve was born in Norfolk, VA. As a high school student, his musical talent and mathematical aptitude were evident, but he concentrated on his rock and roll band (the backup on some of Tommy James’s hits).
A first-generation college student, Steve discovered his passion for learning at the University of Richmond where he graduated in 1972, Phi Beta Kappa. Steve always credited generous mentors in religious studies, philosophy, and sociology as inspirations for his own career.
Despite Steve’s intention of becoming a theorist at the University of Massachusetts, Pete Rossi soon persuaded him that his future lay in statistical empirical research. He earned his PhD with distinction in 1976. Steve’s colleagues could not miss his pedigree: “Rossi-isms,” sharp aphorisms about methods and scholarly life peppered his own comments, and “Pete stories” were told with awe.
Steve’s greatest reward for attending the University of Massachusetts was that he met Daphne Spain, his wife of 36 years. Steve loved her with all his heart. They had a marriage of pure love, bringing joy, laughter, and unfailing support to each other. In social settings, Steve also relied on Daphne’s unerring sense of when to interject a quiet "Steven" to deter unusually excessive behavior.
Steve was liked and admired by people from all walks of life because he was so good-spirited and passionate, kind and charitable, and smart and interesting. More than a friend, Steve was a hero to many, even if he would have summarily dismissed any comm ents to that effect. He had zest for life and never-stop energy; every day you could see his commitment to others.
He had to be unimaginably brave and tough. Every day he faced pain, was heavily medicated, and knew that his life would be short—despite the best efforts and care of many talented doctors and nurses. Few people who faced similar circumstances grabbed life so fully. If you told Steve this, he’d say, "What else can you do?" Steve’s death was a shock to many because they did not know that he endured such poor health. That is exactly what he intended. He never wanted people to feel sorry for him. When asked how he was, he responded, "Fine, fine. How are you doing?"
Steve was a gifted storyteller in the southern tradition who knew that good stories should never be rushed, and that the long build up was as important as the punch line. He knew that facts should never be allowed to get in the way of humor, especially if exaggeration served his purpose. The best part of these stories was that no one laughed louder than Steve.
Steve lived a life of kindness and charity. Countless students benefited by his patient attention to their emotional lives. He reached out to families whose child was about to have an organ transplant. He warmly comforted those facing family losses. He was a long-time board member of the local United Way, often contributing his sociological expertise to its efforts.
Steve brought his passion to the scholarly life. At the University of Virginia, he specialized in the study of the family. He published 86 articles and seven books. This work engaged important issues, was methodologically rigorous, and often broke new ground. He never backed away from expressing unpopular views. As the true scientist, he called it as he saw it and he only called it on the basis of good evidence. His interests included family social status, the life cycle approach to family development, the impact of divorce, the pattern of dual-earner couples’ work schedules, premarital fatherhood, covenant marriages, and women’s marital quality.
His most famous book was Marriage in Men’s Lives (1998). It received the 1999 William J. Goode Book Award from the ASA Family Section. Its central point is that marriage actually makes men better, not just that better men get married. Married men become healthier, harder working, more involved in their communities, and more charitable because of marriage. Beneath all the statistical analyses there appears to be some autobiography: Marriage was good for Steve.
Later in his career Steve turned to policy-related work on the family. He was a co-principal investigator on a NSF-funded project to study the covenant marriage initiative; he enjoyed productive collaboration with Jim Wright and Laura Sanchez. The fruits of their labor will appear later this year, Covenant Marrige and the Marriage Movement in America. Steve was proud to consult for the state of Oklahoma on its marriage initiative, and for the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for development of research on healthy marriages. In 2006-07, he was a Special Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, HHS.
Steve served as an associate editor for Social Forces, Journal of Family Issues, Journal of Marriage and the Family, and Social Science Research. He was Chair of the ASA Family Section. He also was dedicated to his department and the larger UVA community. He was Director of Undergraduate Studies, Graduate Studies, and Graduate Admissions. He was a Senator and Executive Committee member on the Faculty Senate and chaired a number of university committees.
Steve always professed to be first and foremost a researcher, but deep in his heart he loved teaching. In 1991-92 he was awarded the All-University Outstanding Teaching Award. The secret to his success was that he was enthusiastic about his subject and enthusiastic about his students learning it. Students knew that he was on their side. He could get math-phobic students to learn statistics and enjoy the challenge. He bragged about their "conversions."
Nothing gave Steve more pleasure than helping the stream of students looking for research assistance. They always received a smile, encouragement, and good advice. When a student got published, he practically burst with pride. One graduate student echoed the sentiments of many, "Of all the people in the department, he probably had the least amount of time to give but always gave the most."
Steve was one of the good and noble people of the earth. His passionate commitment to research, his students, and his university stands as a model of the scholarly life. In his last weeks, when he must have known that the end was nearing, Steve was working on large grant proposal with a longitudinal component.
Paul W. Kingston, University of Virginia
Harold Orlans, who died in Bethesda, MD, December 14, 2007, was one of a remarkable generation of post-World War II social scientists. Born in New York City in 1921, he attended the City College of New York, where he was part of a left-wing student Zionist organization, self-defined as one of the “anti-Stalinist” groups, which disputed with the then-politically dominant young Communists. Many of them would become—often through unconventional paths—distinguished scholars, academics, and journalists.
From 1941-42, Orlans was a reporter on the San Francisco News Call-Bulletin, and after returning to New York City he worked for a while on the liberal newspaper PM. During World War II, he simultaneously became a conscientious objector assigned to work in a mental hospital and a graduate student in anthropology at Yale University. Brilliant essays in the journal Politics describe how he combined the two roles and what he learned from the experience. In addition, Orlans was exploring unconventional approaches to social research, including a fascination with the English organization "mass observation," which took a wikipedia-like approach to researching issues by depending on amateur reports in volume.
Orlans went to England to do a community study in the style of the Lynds’s Middletown, but the community he chose, Stevenage, became the first of the English "new towns," designed to staunch the growth of London. His book, Utopia Ltd (Yale, 1953), was a sophisticated analysis of the problems of planning and exhibited Orlans’s characteristic mix of detailed and careful research with a skeptical stance as to whether one could really ever get it right. His master was Montaigne, whose humanism and unillusioned clear-sightedness marked all of Orlans’ work. The book was published at a time of enthusiasm over planning and its possibilities. Had it been published later, it might have formed, with Jane Jacobs and Herbert Gans, a classic trio demonstrating that there can be no planning perspective that transcends the conflicting interests that must arise from different locations in society.
There is no indication in Utopia, Ltd. that the book was his doctoral thesis, no credit is given to any member of the Yale faculty (“Mr. Edward Shils and Prof. David Glass of the London School of Economics took some interest in the research,” is as far as he goes in giving credit to any senior scholars), which suggests one reason he may not have connected with an appointment in a major research university. Orlans became an analyst and section chief at the National Science Foundation in Washington (1954-59), a senior fellow at the Brookings institution (1960-73), and a specialist on the relations between the federal government and the universities (The Effects of Federal Programs on Higher Education: A Study of 36 Universities and Colleges, 1962; Contracting for Atoms: A Study of Public Policy Issues Posed by The Atomic Energy Commission’s Contracting for Research, Development, and Managerial Services, 1967; Science Policy and the Üniversities, an edited volume,1968). For the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, he wrote The Non-Profit Research Institute (1967). He conducted studies and organized conferences on various issues while he was with the National Academy of Public Administration worked on issues of affirmative action in higher education, and edited an issue of The Annals (1992) on the problems posed by affirmative action. From 1988 to 1999, he served as an associate editor of Minerva, and in more recent years wrote a column for the journal Change. Orlans established with his wife, sociologist Kay Meadows, the Capital Chapter of the Association of Independent Scholars, and became the editor of its newsletter The Independent Scholar.
He devoted his last years primarily to a lifelong interest in the career, work, and life of T.E. Lawrence. His T.E. Lawrence: Biography of a Broken Hero (2002) displays Orlans’ formidable research skills, his elegant use of language, and his characteristic level-headedness in his response to the issues raised by the career of that fascinating character.
In all his work and in his life, Orlans displayed a distinctive voice, in language and style, and a distinctive stance—an irony that on occasion appeared like cynicism, but was rather an acceptance of reality and mortality. He had few parallels among social scientists and shaped a unique career.
Nathan Glazer, Harvard University
Dr. Robert C. Sorensen, who applied social science to matters ranging from jury selection to trademark research, died in his Manhattan home on Friday, February 22. He died due to cancer at the age of 84.
During the second half of his 60-year career, Sorensen was a leading figure in the application of survey research to trademark litigation. In this capacity, he designed and administered opinion surveys to measure consumer perceptions, with a special focus on public confusion over trademarks and product source. He provided expert testimony on his findings in over 70 cases in U.S. District Courts, state courts, and proceedings of the Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. International Trade Commission.
Robert Chaikin Sorensen was born on September 7, 1923, in Lincoln, NE. He earned his bachelor’s (1944), master’s (1948), and PhD (1954) degrees from the University of Chicago, all in sociology. His doctoral dissertation was titled, “The Role of Public Sentiment and Personal Prejudice in Jury Trials of Criminal Cases.”
Son of a Depression-era Nebraska Attorney General, Sorensen and his four siblings grew up no strangers to the law. His career began with an assistant professorship at the University of Nebraska-College of Law in 1948, where he spent three years as the only social scientist on the law school faculty.
Between 1952 and 1954, Dr. Sorensen applied sociological training to military, economic, and political problems at the Operations Research Office of Johns Hopkins University. During the Korean War, he worked on psychological warfare efforts for the U.S. Army in Korea.
In 1954, Sorensen moved to Munich, Germany, with his wife and two small children, where he would spend the next five years as Director of Audience Research and Analysis for Radio Free Europe. Sorensen measured the effectiveness of broadcasts to five Eastern European countries during these charged Cold War years, which saw the suppression by Soviet forces of the popular uprising in Hungary.
In 1959, Sorensen settled in New York City, where he worked as Director of Research for This Week Magazine (1959-1961), Vice President and Corporate Director of Research at D’Arcy Advertising (1961-1966), Executive Director at the Center for Advanced Practice (1966-1968), and Vice President and Corporate Director of Marketing at Warner Communications (now Time Warner) (1972-1974). In 1968, Sorensen formed Sorensen Marketing/Management Corporation, where he pioneered the application of public opinion research techniques to trademark infringement and intellectual property issues. From 1981 to 1993, he was a professor of marketing at Rider University.
Sorensen has been Chairman of both Childreach/Plan International (formerly Foster Parents Plan) and Scandinavian Seminar, as well as Vice President of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, and Board Member at the Center for Advanced Studies of Religion and Science, Primary Stages, Inc. (a theatrical company), and Scandinavian Seminar College. He was a member of numerous scientific and business organizations. Dr. Sorensen’s publications include a book on adolescent sexuality (1973), editorship of a book on free will and determinism (1987, with Viggo Mortensen), and numerous professional articles.
Sorensen is survived by his wife of 65 years, Marjorie, and two sons, Robert "Chris," of New City, NY, and David, of Copenhagen, Denmark. A daughter, Katherine, of Dallas, died in 2001. He is also survived by three siblings, Theodore C. Sorensen, Philip C. Sorensen, and Ruth Sorensen Singer, as well as four grandchildren.