by AndrewMc | 5/28/2009 06:31:00 PM
Late Tuesday night the noted Asianist Ron Takaki passed away. You can find a full remembrance here.

We are now, unfortunately, entering a period where some of the great luminaries of the New Left have begun to die. Among those who influenced me, two years ago Elizabeth Fox-Genovese passed away. A few months later one of my MA advisers, Roy Rosenzweig, succumbed to cancer. Then John Hope Franklin died in March. Now Ron Takeki.

I'm not going to get into a lengthy post, except to quote a bit from AsianWeek.

To be remember in this way would be nice enough for most:

Ron Takaki was one of the most preeminent scholars of our nation’s diversity, and considered “the father” of multicultural studies. As an academic, historian, ethnographer and author, his work helped dispel stereotypes of Asian Americans.

but I think the following gets at the heart of what we do as historians and teachers:

As a Professor, Takaki hoped that his students would learn that skills of critical thinking and effective writing could be used in a revolutionary way. Epistemology, critical thinking, or in Takaki’s words “how do you know, you know, what you know about the America and the world you live in?” was a question Takaki posed to his students to challenge the way they looked at history, current policies, and even life.

Use this as an open thread.

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Blogger Jonathan Dresner on 5/28/2009 10:45 PM:

Takaki was an immensely influential historian, no question. I have no real opinion on the "New Left" contingent, but Takaki's scholarship on ethnicity and immigration were part of the generation of scholarship which cracked the "Great White Men" historiography in both US and World studies.

Certainly my own scholarship on migration would be inconceivable without scholars like him raising issues and questions.

My only quibble is that he was not really an "Asianist": his training was in US history and he did not make use of Asian-language materials or draw all that heavily on Asian historiography.

It was the next generation, and ours, building on Takaki's foundations, which began to make the study of migration truly transnational.


Blogger AndrewMc on 5/29/2009 8:26 PM:

Yes, you are correct. My bad. He dealt with Asian-American themes. Apologies.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 5/30/2009 2:50 PM:

Roy Rosenzweig was too young to be a "New Left" historian, wasn't he? Making his passing all the more tragic.

Another New Left historian who has recently passed is Alan Dawley.


Blogger AndrewMc on 5/31/2009 8:57 PM:

Well, I'd say Roy was certainly in the tradition of the New Left, although he sometimes called it the "New, New Left."

Maybe better stated that he was a "radical Historian."


Blogger AndrewMc on 6/03/2009 1:22 PM:

CNN has finally gotten around to saying something: