“Individual fates are blown around like leaves in a storm once history strikes”
–Stanley Hoffman (1928-2015)
The obituary of Stanley Hoffman, an esteemed, humane and quotable international relations scholar, appeared in today’s New York times. Once himself an individual displaced by war and prejudice, his counsel – at a time when discrimination and displacement are endemic – will be greatly missed.
One thought on “Stanley Hoffman (1928-2015)”
It’s telling that I completed a master’s program in international relations and was never assigned any Stanley Hoffman reading. This may be a function of the program I was in or the courses I chose, but it’s also because IR as a field has become increasingly insular over the past few decades. Interdisciplinary writing and study is discouraged, and this is the kind of thing that Hoffman excelled at. (The New Republic obit mentions a course he taught titled simply “War,” in which he assigned all of War and Peace.) I understand that each academic field codifies its own language and methodologies over time, but scholars like Hoffman and his late colleague Samuel Huntington were better at bridging the theory-policy gap that IR profs complain about but do little to correct. (But then there’s also Kissinger, about whom the less said, the better.)
Semirelated note 1: I hope Robert Jervis lives forever, but if he should ever leave us, I hope he gets as kind a public send-off as Huntington and Hoffman.
Semirelated note 2: It amuses me to think that Huntington and Hoffman may have saved money together by ordering monogrammed towels in bulk.