Thursday, May 28, 2009

RIP Ronald Takaki

I am shocked and saddened, having just learned of the death of Ronald Takaki. What a great and brilliant man. What a progressive voice. He was one of the firmest apponents to the effort to end affirmative action in California. He was also one of the most brilliant and profound scholars in the field of ethnic studies. What a loss... Here is the posting from Portside...

Professor Emeritus Ronald Takaki passed away on the evening of May
26th, 2009. 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. In his study of
multicultural people's history in America, Takaki seeked to unite
Americans, today and in the future, with each other and with the rest
of the world.

He was a professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California,
Berkeley, where he taught over 20,000 students during 34 years of teaching.

Born in 1939, Professor Takaki was the grandson of immigrant Japanese
plantation workers in Hawaii. He graduated from the College of
Wooster, Ohio, in 1961. Six years later, after receiving his Ph.D. in
American history from UC Berkeley, Takaki went to UCLA to teach its
first Black history course.

In 1972, Professor Takaki returned to Berkeley to teach in the newly
instituted Department of Ethnic Studies. His comparative approach to
the study of race and ethnicity provided the conceptual framework for
the B.A. program and the Ph.D. program in Comparative Ethnic Studies
as well as for the university's multicultural requirement for
graduation, known as the American Cultures Requirement. The Berkeley
faculty has honored Professor Takaki with a Distinguished Teaching Award.

Takaki has lectured in Japan, Russia, Armenia, New Zealand, the
Netherlands, Austria, and South Africa. He has debated Nathan Glazer
and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. on issues such as affirmative action and
multicultural education.

Professor Takaki wrote 12 books. Iron Cages: Race and Culture in 19th
Century America has been critically acclaimed. Strangers from a
Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans has been selected by
the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best 100 non-fiction books
of the 20th century, and A Different Mirror: A History of
Multicultural America is read on college campuses across the country
and has over half a million copies in print.

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