Reading the tributes to Chuck Tilly has been more moving than I expected, even having known he was ill in recent years. I was fortunate to benefit from Chuck’s mentoring while finishing my Ph.D. as one of the Mellon fellows on the seminar on contentious politics that he, Doug McAdam, and Sid Tarrow began in 1997. Beyond his influence on my writing, I find myself realizing the impact he had on how I thought of the academic world and the consolation I felt in Chuck’s insistence that academic work is social. In a profession that often operates on the model of the solitary genius, Chuck showed us a way into the community of scholars. The commitments to encouraging work in progress at the Mellon seminars and weekly workshops I followed later at Columbia were ongoing demonstrations that our ideas need feedback and input from others in order to develop. The egalitarianism of insisting that the first comments at his workshops come from people without a Ph.D. showed those of us at early moments in our careers that we were welcome, even that we needed to participate vigorously in this collective debate. The remarkable speed with which he sent comments on drafts, as daunting as it was, could also feel like a lifeline. I used to say that Chuck’s comments saved me a week at least every time. This is how the work is done, I heard him say once, and it seemed somehow almost radical given the hours of solitude in front of a computer. I will miss the constant stream of new Tilly articles on topics I had no idea he knew anything about that offered more insight than I could have imagined, but I’ll miss at least as much his shining example of the collective endeavor.

John K. Glenn
German Marshall Fund of the United States


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