Miriam Jacobson|Jan 17, 2019
I've been reading your journal entries and thinking about you, Marcia, Becky, Jenny and your wonderful grandkids. I had such a delightful time when you came to Athens to give a talk on Real Utopias at UGA a couple years back: I'd always known you as a bright, witty, giving, and most of all FUN dad of my theatrical friends, so it was genuinely intellectually delightful and enlightening to meet and converse as adults and scholars. And also, you are still fun. What a joy (and not a surprise) to discover your talents as a writer, despite the suffering you've had to endure. We can't change our characters very easily and what I am is an optimist, I think, like you, so I basically cannot believe it's over yet, and am going to think that you'll be with us for more than a couple weeks. Hugs from me and my mom--who was here in Georgia a couple of weeks ago and reading your blog with me.
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Chris Carlson|Jan 16, 2019
Hi Erik, you may or may not remember me, but I took a couple classes with you when doing my masters at Wisconsin in 2011-2012, and would just like to let you know the important impact you had on me. This was my first taste of graduate school, so I really had no idea what to expect as far as how helpful and receptive professors would be to my ideas, etc. I soon found out that most of those who I approached were not nearly as helpful or as receptive as you were. I can honestly say that I learned how to be a more honest and humble scholar as a result of your classes and the various conversations I had with you. It is extremely rare to find people who are so open about the weaknesses in their own arguments, and so willing to change their position when presented with evidence to the contrary. Learning this from you has allowed me to advance greatly in my own work, as I learned to question old dogmas and throw out dubious frameworks that were impeding my full understanding of various phenomena. If only all scholars and activists could be so honest! Thanks a million for being who you are, for dedicating your life to helping others better understand the world, for helping so many young academics become better scholars, and for writing this wonderful blog reflecting on your life! You have been a model for more people than you even know!
Chris
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Shabai Mei|Jan 15, 2019
Dear Erik, I am a Chinese PhD student translated your article several months ago. So sad to hear this!
And thank you for sharing your experience. We will continue building a better world!
Shabai
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Thad Williamson|Jan 15, 2019 (edited)
Erik, your last, revolutionary sentence both sums up what you are all about and the task that is left for all of us. Thank you. (And by the way....I've just finished my spring syllabus, which includes "American Society: How It Really Works." I always loved the statement in that book to effect of: "we've used the best data we can get our hands on. But if you have better data and can correct a point, let us know so we can improve." Such transparency and humility is another form of generosity for which we are grateful.)
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Margaret Somers|Jan 14, 2019
Dear Erik, I was just reminded of the time we were headed to the ASA in Atlanta--the year you were the President or maybe President-Elect--and I made you wait with me for almost an hour at the baggage claim waiting for my suitcase--only to discover that my suitcase had been circling around the carousel the entire time, right in front of my eyes, but I didn't recognize it.
You were so gracious not to call me crazy. My excuse was that I was so engrossed in our conversation that I lost my mental facilities :)
I used that suitcase for years (it was "persimmon" colored) and always thought of you whenever I did. Such a funny embarrassing moment...
love, Peggy
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Margaret Somers|Jan 14, 2019
Erik, as you write about generosity and I read Ron's wonderful comments about your disdain for standard academic hierarchies of privilege and power, I'm reminded of the first time I had a real conversation with you. It was in Cambridge, at Gosta's apartment (probably when I was TA'ing for him in political sociology) and while I'd been around you and admired you for years, as a grad student I don't think I'd ever talked to you and I was of course totally intimidated. Somehow suddenly I found myself face to face with you and you were talking to me as though you'd known me for years and it was all par the course that a renowned star sociologist like you would be having a perfectly normal conversation between equals with a nobody grad student. I was stunned...and felt like we were fast friends from then on.
Your gift is to make your generosity and kindness seem effortless and involving no sense of sacrifice; now I understand that that's always actually been true for you. In real life; in real time. What a gift to know you!
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Ron Aminzade|Jan 14, 2019
I agree with your point about the virtues of generosity and kindness not requiring sacrifice or heroism but I think that the main point to make about your generosity and kindness is not only that it’s almost an instinctual part of your continuous effort to build a loving and caring community but also that your expression of these virtues is oblivious to the entrenched status hierarchies of academia. It’s expressed alongside your staunch commitment to equality so that it doesn’t matter if you are interacting with an undergraduate trying to make sense of difficult material, a struggling young graduate student filled with self-doubts, an assistant professor worried about getting tenure, or a prominent world-renown scholar like yourself. You treat all of them as equally deserving of your kindness and generosity. I’ve always loved and admired your disdain of conventional and often taken-for-granted status hierarchies and your unwillingness to let them set boundaries on your effortless expression of kindness and generosity. Saying goodbye to you yesterday in Milwaukee was so difficult and tears are again flowing as I write this message so I need to stop here.
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Charles Camic|Jan 14, 2019
It's been 40 years, almost to the day, since I met you Erik. In the time since, I've never stopped admiring that character(and the more so, the more I got to know you): kind and generous, yes, but also brilliant, honest, earnest, humane, indefatigable on behalf of noble causes, small and large. It's been inspiring all through. Deep gratitude. Chas
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Amanda Maull|Jan 14, 2019
Thank you for sharing your perspective and experiences with all of us, and for all that you've done for sociology.
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Saskia Sassen|Jan 14, 2019
Dear Erik:
sooo sad to hear this!! You have had a life that has given so much to your colleagues, to several knowledge domains...what a loss to all of us!
Your calm and clarity of mind are admirable, and this is what I will remember.
saskia sassen
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