Reading the outpouring of recollections of times with Chuck is wonderful. I feel like something of an outsider – I was not one of Chuck’s students, nor a colleague in any of his teaching institutions, nor was I a close collaborator like Sid Tarrow or Doug McAdam. So it has been wonderful to share in all of the memories. If anything I started as a rival, criticizing Chuck’s work and starting my own path on the study of revolutions before we had ever met.
It was thus something of a shock (especially given his grilling of my work in published reviews) to finally meet Chuck and find a completely unpretentious, gregarious, generous and warm soul who welcomed my efforts and invited me join in the “Contentious Politics Group.” It was in this group – in two all-too-brief stints at Stanford – that I finally had a chance to work with Chuck. Seeing him work with graduate students was truly an inspiration, as is completely obvious from the tributes that his legions of students have offered. It was a great joy to be able to continue working with Chuck and seeing him periodically as part of the editorial board of the Contentious Politics series at Cambridge – another vehicle by which Chuck helped advance the work of other scholars.
What all of those who are Chuck’s students may not realize is how unusual it is for a scholar of Chuck’s stature to welcome everyone into his intellectual circle – whether or not they were ever students or colleagues. I can only say how grateful I am for the chance to work with Chuck. Like everyone else has said, he always made my work better.
It is remarkable how Chuck always made time for others. Even this year, when he was trying to finish his own books, he did a special favor for me. He served as the National Academy’s reviewer for a report I had been working on, regarding USAID’s democracy assistance work. I feel guilty now that any of Chuck’s precious time went to this task, but as always, he was the most conscientious and fair critic one could hope for. This was typical of how he was always helping others, just because of his heartfelt commitment to advancing scholarship – everyone’s scholarship – with remarkable energy and selflessness.
Let me close with one personal note: after I presented a paper at Chuck’s workshop at the New School, we went to dinner, and I had brought along my wife and son (then just four years old). Chuck went out of his way to make my wife feel welcome, and he himself picked up my son and helped bundle him into his coat (it was a typical New York winter). My wife was so touched by Chuck’s warmth with our son, she always held a special place in her heart for Chuck among all of my colleagues.
Chuck, we will miss you so much! Future generations will know your scholarship, your penetrating analysis, your brilliant originality. Yet only we who spent time with you will have known and enjoyed you as a human being. For that experience, I am truly grateful.
George Mason University