Giovanni Arrighi, Johns Hopkins University, passed away peacefully in his home in Baltimore on June 18, 2009. He had been diagnosed with cancer in July 2008.
Alexander Logie Clark, University of Texas-Dallas, died May 31 in Richardson, TX, at the age of 80.
Donald M. Crider, Pennsylvania State University, died on January 28, 2009, in State College, PA, at the age of 84.
Helen Miller, University of Illinois-Chicago, passed away on May 5. Helen long served both the Department of Sociology as an academic adviser and professor and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as assistant dean.
Mary Rogers, University of West Florida, died unexpectedly on February 27, 2009, at the age of 64. She dedicated herself to social justice in her teaching, scholarship, and community activism.
Neil Alan Weiner, University of Pennsylvania and Vera Institute for Justice, died of sudden heart failure on July 2, 2009, at the age of 61. He was an internationally regarded criminologist known for his expertise in, among other areas, criminal and juvenile justice, justice and welfare, death sentencing, criminology theory, and public policy formulation and evaluation.
Jerry Alan Winter, Connecticut College, died on March 31, 2009, after a long illness. He was 71.
Bill Devall, environmentalist and professor emeritus at Humboldt State University, passed away peacefully in his home in Trinidad, CA, on June 26, 2009.
Widely known for his writings on deep ecology, Bill dedicated his life to protecting nature. Inspired by the works of Arne Naess and Gary Snyder, his first book, Deep Ecology, with George Sessions, introduced the philosophy and practice of Deep Ecology to the North American audience in 1985, and to this day it remains in print. It is widely cited as the key reference text for Deep Ecology. Following its publication, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "Deep Ecology is subversive, but it’s the kind of subversion we can use." The intention then was to reorient environmental thinking and action from one that is reformist to a new ecological philosophy and practice. For Bill, the continuing environmental crisis was one that had to be understood as a crisis of character and of culture. What was needed was a shift from a view that was anthropocentric to one that was ecocentric. This call did not need something new, all that was required was to reawaken something very old, something what he would term "Earth wisdom"—the dance of unity of plants, animals, humans, and the Earth. Bill’s subsequent books, Simple in Means and Rich in Ends (1988) and Living Richly in an Age of Limits (1993), put these ideas into practice. Living Richly in an Age of Limits was written as a manifesto for America’s middle class. His last book, The Ecology of Wisdom, appeared late last year.
By no means was Bill’s effort to saving nature only devoted to authoring books. As a deep ecologist, he was involved in the practice of conservation and environmental action at both the local and national levels. At the local level, he was a founding member of the North Coast Environmental Center based in Arcata, CA, and was very active in efforts to establish recycling and the protection of the local beaches, forests, and endangered species. Nationally, he was actively involved in the protection of the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest. He was frequently the target of anti-environmentalists in their writings who associated his conservation work and philosophy with Earth First! Alston Chase’s book In a Dark Wood repeatedly identified Bill as one of the main political ideologists of the radical environmental movement coupling him with Dave Foreman. Bill’s efforts in "Redwood Summer"—a summer of blocking access to the ancient forests of northern California and lumber production in 1990—led to a national campaign to bear witness to the clear cutting of our ancient forests. Funded by the Foundation of Deep Ecology, the national campaign led to the Sierra Club publication of a pictorial book, Clear Cut: The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry (1995), edited by Bill.
Bill was also a teacher. Born in Kansas City, he went to University of Kansas-Lawrence for his undergraduate degree followed with graduate degrees at the University of Hawaii and the University of Oregon. He taught briefly at the University of Alberta-Edmonton and spent the rest of his teaching career at Humboldt State University. At Humboldt, he taught courses on the forests, radioactive wastes, and issues on the wilderness—courses that were not within the confines of sociology where he was a tenured professor. Throughout his time at Humboldt, his home in Trinidad was a place where students, professors, and environmentalists met to discuss ongoing environmental campaigns and issues. There were always house guests. Most of his students went on to lead productive careers and always return to visit Bill. Bill also spent his time practicing Buddhism, which gave him solace and comfort having to live in an anthropocentric destructive world. As a friend, Bill was always there for you. Even at the end, he was a "warrior" for nature.
Sing C. Chew, Humboldt State University and UFZBack to Top of Page
Seymour (Sy) Leventman, Associate Professor of Sociology at Boston College, died on April 26 at the age of 78. He had been a sociology professor for 51 years, the last 40 of which were spent at Boston College.
Sy was born in Brooklyn in June 1930; conceived in prosperity and born after the crash, as he observed in an oral history celebrating Brooklyn. Sy said that this circumstance of his birth was emblematic of his perspective: "high expectations coupled with a cynical outlook." Many of the historical, significant events of his early years—the advent of talking pictures, the Depression, World War II, the Dodgers winning their first pennant in over 20 years, and Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier—find echoes in his eventual fields of sociological expertise: race and ethnic relations, the experience of veterans, social theory, the history of social ideas, and American popular culture.
Sy received his PhD in sociology from the University of Minnesota in 1958. He taught at four colleges—Macalester College, Pennsylvania State University, Bryn Mawr College, and the University of Pennsylvania—before coming to Boston College (BC). He was hired at Boston College in 1968 and served as an Associate Professor on the faculty of the sociology department until his retirement in 2002, after which he continued to teach on a part-time basis for BC’s College of Advancing Studies. The breadth of his knowledge, his curiosity, his total lack of pretension, and, above all, his sense of humor made him an extremely popular professor with students at all levels.
In an interview at the time of his retirement, Sy said that he was originally drawn to sociology through "perversity." "I found that sociology went beneath the façade of manufactured reality…. Sociology turned society upside down and made the invisible visible." He initially focused on the history of ideas and sociology, but developed an interest in ethnic studies when his advisor, Don Martindale, argued that a thesis should be empirical. Sy subsequently wrote his dissertation on the Jewish community of Minneapolis, which he later developed into his first book, Children of the Gilded Ghetto: Conflict Resolution in Three Generations of American Jews, co-authored with Judith R. Kramer in 1969.
In the 1970s his encounters with several BC students who were Vietnam veterans sparked his interest in their experience. His thinking in this area was influenced by Howard Becker’s presentation on "spoiled identity," the idea that soldiers left as heroes and returned as deviants, and by then-BC grad student/Vietnam veteran Paul Camacho’s observations on the "gook syndrome" in foxholes. As a result, Sy became interested in the concept of "manufactured deviancy," and in 1980 he co-edited with Charles Figley Strangers at Home: Vietnam Veterans Since the War.
His additional books include Counterculture and Social Transformation: Essays on Negative Themes in Social Theory (1981) and American Popular Culture: Historical and Pedagogical Perspectives (2008), based on the 2005 Conference of the Popular Culture Association (PCA). Over the years, Sy had organized, chaired, and presented papers at dozens of sessions of professional organizations, but in the last several years of his life he was particularly interested in and involved with the PCA.
Sy is survived by his wife, Paula, his daughter, Rachel Leventman Schwalb and her husband, Gene Schwalb, and his son, Aaron Leventman and his partner Phillip Retzky. They have set up a guest book for him at www.legacy.com/Link.asp?I=GB000126850104> where friends and colleagues can offer condolences or share memories.
Jean Lovett, Boston CollegeBack to Top of Page
Mary F. Rogers, 64, longtime professor at the University of West Florida, died unexpectedly on February 27, 2009.
Mary was a loving wife, devoted teacher, good neighbor, beloved sister and daughter. and accomplished author of several books. She held a wide range of professional and personal interest. While she held a PhD in sociology, her bachelor’s degree was in chemistry—an indication of Mary’s range. She was a champion of the underdog and the underprivileged. In 2002, Mary founded the Escambia Sociology Center, which promoted multicultural awareness, literacy enhancement, social justice, and community research.
Mary was passionate about teaching. She gave her best to her students and in return, expected the best from them. She was a scholar who continued to pursue new areas of study. She published numerous papers and book chapters on phenomenology, ethnomethodology, multiculturalism, women’s studies, and the sociology of literature. She spent a summer studying phenomenology under Maurice Natanson at Yale University. In 2002, her book Barbie Culture was published.
Mary received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Marycrest College in Davenport, IA. Almost immediately afterward, she switched her studies to sociology. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Mary spent four years teaching sociology at Providence College in Providence, RI. In 1976, Mary accepted a position as an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of West Florida. Since 1985, as a professor, Mary taught courses in feminist theory, social change and reform, social justice and inequality, and qualitative research. From 1984 to 1986, Mary served as acting dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to that, Mary served two years as chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department.
When Mary’s husband Don became less mobile following surgery five years ago, Mary devoted much of her time to ensuring his comfort and well being. When time permitted, Mary liked putzing around in the yard. She was an avid reader and used to enjoy brisk walks and lap-swimming. Mary long held an interest in healthy eating and was an accomplished cook. One of her specialties was Italian cuisine, a talent she picked up from her neighbors and friends when she lived in Providence.
Mary is survived by her husband Donald Eisman of Pensacola; her mother, Genevieve Rogers of Moline, IL, her brother Donald, and his wife Carolyne, of Rice Lake, WI; her brother Michael and his wife, Barbara, of Pensacola; her sister Kathleen of Moline, IL; her brother John of Rock Island, IL; her sister Martha of Pensacola; her brother Patrick of New York, NY; her sister Sharon of Hinsdale, IL; and special friend Peggy Mier. Mary’s father, Donald, preceded her in death.
A scholarship is being established in Mary’s name at UWF. Contributions in Mary’s name also may be made to Global PEERS, 827 Glenview Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53213.
Re-published from the Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists websiteBack to Top of Page
Allan Schnaiberg, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Northwestern University, died June 6, 2009, at his home in Chicago, at age 69.
Son of Belle and Harry Schnaiberg, Allan was born August 20, 1939, in Montreal. He graduated with distinction in general science from McGill University and went on to earn an MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan. He joined the sociology faculty at Northwestern University in 1969 and served as sociology department chair from 1976-1979, receiving numerous honors and awards for his scholarship over the years. He retired from Northwestern in 2008 but remained actively engaged in his field.
Allan Schnaiberg was a brilliant and incisive critical analyst. He was the author of over 70 scholarly articles and books on topics ranging from globalization and the environment to labor and social inequality. His contribution to the sociological understanding of the relationship between social systems and ecosystems was groundbreaking, prescient, and enduring. Although he never accepted the designation of "environmental sociologist," he was a founder of the subfield, providing it with a deeply rigorous analytical foundation upon which it rests today. His "Treadmill of Production" framework for understanding the social causes and consequences of environmental problems formed the first, and arguably still the most comprehensive and influential, sociological approach to understanding environmental problems. His 1980 book, The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity, remains one of, if not the most, important works in the field, and a necessary point of departure for any student of environmental sociology. He was presented with the ASA Section on Environment and Technology’s Distinguished Contribution Award in 1984 and served as the section’s Chair from 1991-93. His work was motivated by a deep and sincere concern for people’s quality of life. The body of work that he produced has remained central to intellectual debate in environmental sociology. Many of his earliest insights have come to be accepted as basic premises of socioenvironmental analysis, although they were far from such when he first theorized them.
In addition to The Environment, Schnaiberg co-authored four books with his former students: Environment and Society: The Enduring Conflict (1994; 2000), Local Environmental Struggles: Citizen Activism in the Treadmill of Production (1996), Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Community Development (2000), and The Treadmill of Production: Injustice and Unsustainability in the Global Economy (2008).
The concern for the real lives of real people, which drove Allan’s intellectual work, was even more evident in his interactions with his students. Allan was a great and caring mentor, whose rare combination of intellectual depth and breadth and openhearted humanity inspired his students to follow their own intellectual paths and to reciprocate by becoming caring mentors to their own students.
Allen was also a world-class eater and locator of gastronomic hidden urban treasures. He was a talented finder of high-quality, low-end eateries, with a specialization in Asian cuisines. For Allan, the word "lunch" came to stand for joie d’ vivre, a raison d’être, a reliable path to quality of life.
Allan is survived in his immediate family by his wife, Edith Harshbarger; step-sons, Dan Harshbarger (Sharon Kucera) and Alan Harshbarger; daughters, Lynn Schnaiberg (Geoffrey Bolan) and Jill Schnaiberg (Brendan Sylvander); and his beloved grandchildren, Ella and Benjamin Bolan; Milo and Sylvie Sylvander; Sam, Alex and Lucy Harshbarger. He also leaves behind his sister, Eileen Miller; his niece, Julie; his nephew, Bram, and several cousins.
Allan will be greatly missed, but his intellectual contributions and his model of mentorship will endure. His unique insights into our human relationship with nature continue to be taught to students all over the world, and will no doubt influence the ways in which that relationship is renegotiated in the 21st century.
Kenneth A. Gould, Brooklyn College of the City University of New YorkBack to Top of Page