Tributes to Retiring Colleagues 2017

June 6, 2017

Nine long-standing members of the FAS began their retirements this year. Following custom, they were celebrated by colleagues at the Yale College faculty meeting on May 19. The tributes below were read in their honor.

Adel Allouche

Lecturer in History

Adel Allouche, Licence des lettres en Philosophie and Certificat d’aptitude à la Recherche en Philosophie University of Tunis, M.A. and Ph.D. University of Utah, faculty member at Yale since 1999, after teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, and Villanova, and serving as Middle East Bibliographer at the University of Pennsylvania: You are a scholar of Islamic and Middle East history and religion and a masterful paleographer, as at home with medieval Arabic manuscripts as with Ottoman Turkish and Savafid Persian documents. Your great command of theological texts is matched only by your knowledge of Islamic historical sources. Your first book, The Origins and Development of the Ottoman-Safavid Conflict, was a pioneering study of Ottoman-Safavid relations in the sixteenth century. It remains the standard study on the subject. The impressive breadth and depth of your work are evident in your second book, Mamluk Economics: A Study and Translation of al-Maqrīzī’s Ighāthah, where you rendered an exemplary translation of an important work of Ahmad ibn ‘Alī al-Maqrīzī, the celebrated fifteenth-century historian of Egypt. In your insightful commentary, you highlight the relationship between the flooding of the Nile River and recurrences of famine in Egyptian history.

Your books are hardly your only scholarship: in articles and encyclopedia entries you have covered a range of topics related to Ottoman and Egyptian premodern history. Your journal article on the famous Tunisian traveler Ibn Bat.t.ūt.ah and his 1326 journey through Syria and Arabia remains a pathbreaking inquiry of exceptional discernment. An inveterate scholar and researcher, you are now engaged in two groundbreaking studies on the early Islamic proto-dynastic rule in the Arabian Peninsula and on the Sunni-Shi’i Persian polemics in the sixteenth century.

Your field is recondite. But in every way your amicable and approachable manner have made you not only a helpful resource for faculty colleagues and a valuable and generous mentor to graduate students, but also a kind adviser to undergraduate advisees in the History department and at Pierson, who have also benefited from your wisdom and your deep knowledge of current affairs in the Middle East and North Africa. A colleague says of you, “Adel Allouche is a scholar in the most authentic sense: enthusiastic, critical, and modest.” As you retire, Yale feels lucky and grateful that you came here and wishes you many more years of happiness and success in your scholarly endeavors.

Stephen R. Anderson

Dorothy R. Diebold Professor of Linguistics and Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science

Steve Anderson, B.S. Illinois Institute of Technology, Ph.D. MIT, faculty member at Yale since 1994, after teaching at Harvard, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins: You are a renaissance linguist, fascinated with tout ce qui touche à la langue. Unique among leaders in the field, your career has been marked by continuing fundamental contributions across the areas of language science, including phonology, syntax, and especially morphology. With characteristic scholarship and precision, your work has shaped current understanding of linguistic structure, teaching us, among much else, that phonological rules can be locally ordered, that morphology is amorphous and word-based, and that clitics (and maybe even Germanic verbs) are optimal.

Your oeuvre compellingly demonstrates the importance of broadening the empirical range of linguistic investigation. You have extended the frontiers of modern linguistics to the islands of Scandinavia, the mountains of Grisons, and the Northwest Caucasus, and your voyages among the Celts of Brittany and the Kwakiutl of the Pacific Northwest have opened our eyes to the range of linguistic diversity and the profound unity of natural language. Your exploration of how the world’s languages can be counted has clarified the nature of language itself and demonstrated the parallelism between linguistic and biological evolution. You have been a powerful champion of the Chomskian program, where linguistics is the study of the human cognitive capacity for language. Your commitment to this enterprise has led you to argue that, however lovely Hugh Lofting’s story (thanks perhaps to its Connecticut provenance), Dr. Dolittle’s purported ability to talk to the animals must have been a delusion, a disappointing outcome for you, no doubt, given your love for members of the animal kingdom.

Matters historical have long been a concern of yours. Your magisterial history of phonology in the twentieth century remains the standard source. Your study of diachrony demonstrates how processes of language change can shape linguistic patterns, removing explanatory burden from the cognitive capacity and facilitating the development of a biological theory of language evolution. Linguists, psychologists, and scientists have lauded your contributions, granting you fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Linguistic Society of America.

You have contributed immensely to professional organizations promoting language science. You served the LSA at a crucial time in its development, including an unprecedented two consecutive terms as president. You guided the society back to a healthy administrative state and helped to establish the twenty-first-century agora for open access publication that is flourishing today. For this excellent work, the LSA recognized you with its highest honor, its Lifetime Service Award. Your energy has likewise been shared with linguists across the world, whom you served as vice president of the Permanent International Committee of Linguists. You have advocated for the representation of linguistics among the sciences, working to establish and serving as chair of Section Z of the AAAS.

Your arrival in 1994 came at a delicate time for Linguistics at Yale. Through enlightened guidance and administrative wizardry, you fashioned a department that is thoroughly modern in its focus, but distinctively attentive to the field’s (and the department’s) rich intellectual heritage. You were instrumental in the creation of Yale’s Cognitive Science program. Your colleagues are grateful for your years of leadership as chair, and as we look to a future, sadly without you, your broad-ranging conception of the field will never be far from our thoughts.

Karsten Harries

Howard H. Newman Professor of Philosophy

Karsten Harries, B.A. 1958 and Ph.D. 1962 Yale University, faculty member at Yale since 1961: Ever since your undergraduate days, studying drawing with the great Josef Albers, you have been embarked on a pathbreaking philosophical journey, grappling with art, architecture, and human existence, including what Heidegger termed “the being of beings.” Beginning with your dissertation on the problem of nihilism, you have focused on the ways in which objectifying science and technology confronts modern subjects with the issues of meaning and value. Your studies of important transitional philosophical figures, like Nicholas of Cusa, who stands between the middle ages and the Renaissance, and bridging artistic and architectural movements, as in The Bavarian Rococo Church: Between Faith and Aestheticism, improve our grasp of historical moments when the modern problematic was coming into view in philosophy, architecture, and art.

Author of more than two hundred scholarly articles and many important books, you have plumbed the deepest issues of aesthetics and metaphysics. You first made your mark in philosophical aesthetics in The Meaning of Modern Art, published in 1968. Your book The Ethical Function of Architecture, published in 1997, won the American Institute of Architects Annual International Architecture Book Award for Criticism. Your widespread influence has manifested itself in two Festschriften. One, Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth), was published by the Architecture faculty at Brandenburgische Technische Universität in Cottbus, Germany. The second, Ethics in Architecture, was published in the International Journal of Architectural Theory.

Your work in metaphysics, especially on Heidegger on the problem of being, has sought to illuminate the distinctive philosophical problems besetting modernity, including the issue of nihilism, which has concerned you from the beginning. This has also informed your work in the philosophy of art, both on Heidegger’s aesthetics (in Art Matters: A Critical Commentary on Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art”) and on architecture, where you have urged a “post-Copernican geocentrism.” You are a recognized boundary crosser whose intellectual presence  has helped shape not only philosophy, but also the humanities at Yale more generally, including in the School of Art and the School of Architecture, where you delivered the David W. Roth and Robert H. Symonds Memorial Lecture in 2017.

You have been a legendary teacher at Yale. The Yale College Class of 1963 gave you its award for “Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Remembered With Gratitude Over Half a Century” at its fiftieth reunion. A supervisor of more than sixty dissertations, you have been famous for helping students find their own philosophical voices and for producing students who are not disciples. Finally, you have given invaluable service to Yale, as the Philosophy department’s chair and director of graduate studies for many years, and on many important University committees. As you retire after fifty-six years of service on this faculty, Yale proudly and gratefully salutes its own Yale son with a loud “Bow Wow.”

Dolores Hayden

Professor of Architecture and Professor of American Studies

Dolores Hayden, B.A. Mount Holyoke College, M.Arch. Harvard University, faculty member at Yale since 1991, after teaching at MIT, Berkeley, and UCLA: One of the leading feminist scholars of your generation, you have explored “the power of place” in the homes and communities we build and inhabit. As an architectural critic and historian, you have told the history of our everyday cultural landscapes and the politics of their planning and design: our cities in the innovative synthesis of urban preservation, public history, and public art, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History; our suburbs in Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820–2000; and our sprawl in the visual lexicon of A Field Guide to Sprawl. But you have also recovered and reclaimed alternative visions of living: the communitarian experiments of your first book, Seven American Utopias: The Architecture of Communitarian Socialism, 1790–1975; and the feminist designs of The Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighborhoods, and Cities. And you have helped reshape public policy and architectural practice with your classic rethinking of the “architecture of gender” in our households and neighborhoods, Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing, Work, and Family Life.

While in Los Angeles, in work that reflects your interest in the applied as well as the theoretical, you founded a nonprofit arts and humanities group called the Power of Place, galvanizing collaborative projects on such spaces as an African American midwife’s homestead, a Latina garment workers’ union headquarters, and Japanese American flower fields, and engaging citizens, historians, artists, and designers in examining and commemorating the working lives of ordinary citizens. The Power of Place—the project and the book—not only revealed the connection between people’s lives and urban landscapes but also suggested how communities and professionals can tap the power of historic urban landscapes to nurture public memory. The excellence of your work has brought you many honors, including an American Library Association Notable Book Award, two awards for Excellence in Design Research from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Donald Award for feminist scholarship, and the Paul Davidoff Award for an outstanding book in urban planning.

At Yale, you have been a wonderful teacher, opening the eyes of your students to the spaces and places around them, making them see afresh, and helping them think about the relationship of the built environment to the way people live their lives. But your story does not end there. Most people do not share the gift of architecture and poetry, but in this you are distinctive. Your beautifully written books are only a signal of your verbal acuity—for you are a fine poet. In recent years your poetry has appeared in two collections, American Yard and Nymph, Dun, and Spinner, as well as in leading journals such as Poetry, Raritan, Shenandoah, The Yale Review, Southwest Review, Slate, The Best American Poetry, and Verse Daily. As you retire, your faculty colleagues salute you for your special ability to open people’s eyes to the power of place in both poetry and prose.

Carol Jacobs

Birgit Baldwin Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures

Carol Jacobs, B.A. Cornell University, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, faculty member at Yale since 2002: Before joining Yale’s German department, you were a luminary in comparative literature, with distinguished scholarship in French, German, and English literature. You taught at the University at Buffalo, where you were a crucial member of their pathbreaking comparative literature program. You practice a form of reading often associated with your teacher Paul de Man, but your readings are distinctive in their rigorous pursuit of words, images, and tropes to reveal underlying assumptions. Without your work, our collective understanding of both the theory and the practice of reading literature would be significantly diminished. Your readings have illuminated epistemological problems, and thereby made great contributions to critical theory.

What sets your books and essays apart is the structure of their arguments. Instead of asserting a point and using textual evidence to confirm it, your work features, at precisely the right moment, an abrupt and perfectly staged turn of thought. This interpretive strategy entails impressive patience. Before the turn of thought, you develop an excellent characterization of the received ideas, with leading scholars duly acknowledged; and then, when the moment arrives, the weight of evidence supporting interpretive consensus is used to undermine that consensus and draw a different conclusion. This is the true spirit of dialectic, but you have truly perfected this technique.

Institutionally, German’s inspired decision to hire you represents a turning point in the history of the department. Your stature in comparative literature, combined with your intellectual openness and flexibility, allowed Yale German to retain its traditional strength and emphasis on literature, while transforming the department to reflect the comparative and theoretical approaches that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. Your farsighted emphasis on established literary-critical virtues and an open-minded yet skeptical view of the shifting academic landscape kept Yale German at the forefront internationally.

As a teacher, adviser, and mentor, you always give the right advice at the right time and in the right tone. Unfailingly supportive and humane with students, you never relax your high intellectual standards. You are generous with your time, carefully applying your full critical intelligence to dissertations, prospectuses, and papers. You lead by the example of your no-nonsense attitude, in an academic world that is sometimes marred by self-importance, flattery, and jargon. Your qualities as a mentor also inform your interactions with colleagues and your mentoring of junior colleagues. During your time as chair, the department made crucial hires, and, in the wake of changes to Yale’s tenure process, your supportive mentoring helped junior faculty find the path to promotion. 

Your most remarkable qualities are your citizenship and collegiality. As chair of the Yale College Executive Committee you took on a job “above and beyond” and did it with humanity and grace. As one member of the German department remarked, “In many years of association with her, no one has ever heard her speak an unkind word about anyone.” And no one ever heard an unkind word spoken about you. You are a legend at Yale and beyond for your integrity and professionalism, coupled with your uncompromising intellectual attitude. These are rare enough virtues to find in one person, but it’s especially rare to find them combined with compassion and kindness.

Marcia K. Johnson

Sterling Professor of Psychology

Marcia K. Johnson, B.A. and Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, faculty member at Yale since 2000, after teaching at Stony Brook and Princeton: You are an intellectual giant in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Your ideas about how memories are formed and retrieved, and how we distinguish between real and imagined events, have influenced generations of scientists. You exemplify the highest integrity in science, and you are a selfless citizen on many levels, generously giving of your time and wisdom. You are a much-respected senior stateswoman in the field, a dream collaborator, and an inspiring role model and mentor for students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.

What distinguishes your scientific career is your singular talent as both a theoretician and an experimentalist. You have transformed the field with not just one but two comprehensive models of cognition, the Multiple-Entry Modular Memory model and the Source Monitoring Framework. These theoretical advances have led the cognitive neuroscience of memory, articulating how the brain combines perceptual and reflective (memory) component processes to support the full range of human cognition, and how the brain distinguishes between real and imagined events (reality monitoring). Furthermore, your empirical work epitomizes the very best approach to cognitive neuroscience, synergistically combining strong cognitive theory with elegant behavioral designs and thoughtful application of advanced neuroimaging techniques. Your breadth of inquiry is unmatched, involving every age group, and extending to patients with amnesia, alcoholism, and brain diseases. Beyond psychology and neuroscience, you have influenced other disciplines from law and policy to psychiatry and neurology.

For your significant contributions, you have been honored with an astonishing bouquet of the highest accolades possible in Psychology: election into the National Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology, the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions, the Association for Psychological Science William James Fellow Award, and the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Fred Kavli Distinguished Career Contributions Award.

Your research program has been continuously funded by awards and grants from NSF, NIA (including a MERIT award), NIMH, Alzheimer’s Association, and Pew Charitable Trust. In addition, you have received the Master Mentor Award from the American Psychological Association Division 20 and the Mentorship Award from the Yale Graduate School. Always on the cutting edge in building collegial environments for scientific discovery, you elevated Yale Psychology into one of the world’s most distinguished departments, having served as chair from 2006 to 2011 and as acting chair in 2003 and 2013. In 2015, to celebrate your accomplishments, and in appreciation of your friendship, more than a hundred colleagues from all over the world gathered in New Haven for MEMfest.

With such a busy research agenda, one might think you had little time to be a good citizen on this faculty. Quite the opposite. You have done yeoman’s service, not only in the department but in the university as well on the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty, the SOM Advisory Committee, the FAS Tenure and Appointments Policy Committee, and more. The impact of your science and mentoring reflects the nature of human cognition, which you revealed to be free and boundless over space and time. For your superb scholarship and for the work, caring, and distinction you have brought Yale in the past fifteen years, your colleagues salute you as you continue to explore the limitless mysteries of the human mind.

J. D. McClatchy

Professor Adjunct of English and Editor of The Yale Review

Sandy McClatchy, B.A. Georgetown University, Ph.D. 1974 Yale University, assistant professor in the seventies before leaving for Princeton, then editor of The Yale Review and faculty member since 1991: You are one of the foremost men  of letters of your generation. Your eight collections of poems, including the Pulitzer Prize shortlisted Hazmat, have been widely acclaimed for their formal skill and technical mastery, but book by book they show not only verbal fluency, wit, and suave verbal magicianship, but also increasing depth of subject matter, penetration, and intensity of feeling.

You are always a poet first, but your poetic achievement is only the start of what has distinguished your career. In prize-winning literary essays, critical writing, and book reviews by the score, and in your extensive editions and anthologies as well as selections for archival recordings, you have become the trusted voice of the American literary establishment, the indispensable moving spirit of our general literary life. As if that were not enough, an opera lover since childhood, you have also had a prominent career as a librettist. Called by The New York Times “the dean of American opera librettists,” you have had your work performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala, the San Francisco Opera, and other leading opera houses. Your singing translation of The Magic Flute for the Metropolitan Opera, which was broadcast live to movie theaters around the world, aired on Great Performances and is regularly performed worldwide.

Not every man of letters has administrative gifts, but yours, combined with your literary distinction and your cosmopolitan ways, have made you the most called-on and eloquent moderator, commentator, and introducer of your time. Countless readings, performances, and literary events at Yale and everywhere beyond have depended on you and benefited from your fluency and charm. A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, a member of its board of directors, and a former president of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters, you have been called on to organize, lead, and speak for your fellow artists time and again.

At Yale, in addition to teaching the courses “Writing of Verse,” “Literary Translation,” and “The Opera Libretto,” you chaired the English department writing program for several decades, and again and again were the person who brought the wider world of letters to campus. First, when you were living in Silliman College in the 1970s, running a literary salon there, and later as well, you invited every major living American literary personage of any distinction to Yale—and mostly because of you, they all came. As editor of The Yale Review, whose future you personally secured with endowments, you were able to draw on your incomparably large circle of literary friends to acquire and publish the most distinguished authors of our time, side by side with new voices. For more than twenty-five years you placed your distinctive stamp on the magazine, making it one of the vibrant journals of its time.

Any one of these achievements would have earned you the admiration and gratitude of your colleagues and your university, but together they assemble a breathtaking array of accomplishment. For your distinction as a man of letters, for bringing the winds of the literary world to Yale for more than four decades, and for making Yale very much the richer for your teaching and your influence, the members of this faculty offer you grateful thanks.

Michael Roemer

Professor Adjunct of Film, Yale School of Art, and of American Studies

Michael Roemer, A.B. Harvard University, faculty member at Yale since 1966: You are one of the impressive filmmakers and teachers of filmmaking of your generation. Born in Germany during the time  the Nazis were coming to power, you were part of one of the Kindertransports to England when your father could not find work enough to feed his family. Later you reached America, and Harvard, and your gift and passion for filmmaking began there, where you directed A Touch of the Times, the first feature film to be produced at an American college.

Over the years, you have made many films, both fiction and documentary, which have earned strong accolades. As a young man, you cut your teeth producing twelve films on Shakespeare for the Ford Foundation with the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival Company. You have produced films for the National Science Foundation and Heath Publishing Company, all widely shown on public television, and have continued to make films for that medium. At the same time, you have made your own important full-length feature films and documentaries, films that have the mark of your individual genius. It would be impossible to note all of your major work here, but among the films with the greatest acclaim one might mention Nothing But a Man, your neorealist feature-length film on the American black experience, with its Motown soundtrack, called by The Washington Post “one of the most sensitive films about black life ever made in this country,” and a prizewinner at the Venice Film Festival; your public television documentary Faces of Israel; and your searing masterpiece Dying, nominated by the Television Critics Circle as the best documentary film of the year in 1976. In all of these you have chronicled the nature of human experience, and deepened and enriched our sense of ourselves.

At Yale you have been the anchor, guide, and guru to literally generations of young filmmakers searching to find their way and now making their mark around the globe. Part of your brilliance as a teacher has been the range of what you have been able to bring to bear in the classroom. Characterized by some of your students as “one of the smartest people we’ve ever met,” someone with an “unusually lively mind,” and “exceptionally learned about film,” you are a great scholar and a fine film historian, as well as someone knowledgeable about “making.” You bring to your teaching the breadth and depth of this knowledge, the incisive eye of the critic, and the passion of an artist. Extremely able as a technician, you nevertheless are the opposite of someone whose sole focus is on technique. You have taught your students, rather, how to think creatively about filmmaking, how to ask the big questions and to get inside subjects: in short, you have taught them not filmmaking alone, but the nature of the creative process.

As we step back with a wide-angle lens, Michael Roemer, what we see is a grand panorama of what you have given to Yale: the creative work you have made and the students you have taught. As we focus in, we are pleased to put you at the center of the screen, just this once, as we thank you with full hearts for a half-century of dedication to art and teaching.

Craig M. Wright

Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music

Craig Wright, Bachelor of Music from Eastman School of Music, Ph.D. Harvard University, faculty member at Yale since 1973: You are the consummate music historian, long a leading voice in the study of European medieval and early-Renaissance music, focusing on critical moments of historical stylistic change. Through archival scholarship laid out in lucid prose, you have unraveled many of the mysteries surrounding the origins and early development of polyphony and measured rhythm from the late 1100s through the early 1400s: the haunting sounds of the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Notre Dame organum, the stratified complexities of the fourteenth-century polytextual motet, and the mid-fifteenth-century turn to the cyclic polyphonic mass. Your first two books, Music at the Court of Burgundy, 1364–1419 and Music and Ceremony at Notre Dame of Paris, 500–1550, won you the highest accolades that the discipline has to offer and opened our horizons to the life and work of some of the most influential early composers of the time. You were able to put human faces on names that had formerly been only abstractions, enabling us to see them now as active persons working within specific institutions, each with their own local traditions.

At the same time you have been an invaluable mentor and inspiration to countless Yale students. Your graduate seminars in early music have been legendary, and you have nurtured generations of early-music scholars who have subsequently become eminent in their own right. Equally telling have been your four decades of undergraduate teaching, in which your course MUSIC 112, “Listening to Music,” has long been a cherished staple of Yale College students. With this course you have taught more undergraduates than any other faculty member in the history of the Department of Music, opening ears and minds to centuries of grand repertory. This course led to your own textbook, Listening to Music, which has by this point gone through eight editions and shows no signs of slowing down.

In the past two decades you have been reaching out to ever-wider audiences, initially with your interdisciplinary book on architecture, music, mazes, and labyrinths, The Maze and the Warrior. More recently you have turned your attention to the phenomenon of artistic and political genius, starting with a study of Mozart and moving on to the broader concept itself. This has led to another successful, interdisciplinary course taught yearly in Yale College, “Exploring the Nature of Genius.” In 2013 your commitment to outreach led to your appointment as the first academic director of Online Education at Yale, a program now partnering with Coursera in the offering of interactive online courses (MOOCs). With you initially at the helm, the program now offers twenty such courses, one of which you yourself teach: “Introduction to Classical Music.” In that online course alone, now in progress, there are currently 56,000 active learners, and approximately 450 join in each week.

And the honors continued to accrue: in 2004, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Chicago; in 2010, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2013, an honorary membership in the discipline’s flagship organization, the American Musicological Society; and just last year, 2016, the publication of a Festschrift grate- fully dedicated to you by devoted former students and present colleagues.

For all your accomplishments and for your unwavering devotion and admirable modesty, your colleagues raise their voices in an Alleluia chorus of thanks and praise.