Dear AESA friends,
Like many of you, I could not make it to Amherst for Steve’s memorial service, and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to see and hear Zoe, Cathy, Antonio, Jack, and Rick offer their moving reflections on the life of our beloved teacher and friend.
Without wishing to slight any of the other speakers, I feel moved to publicly thank Jack for calling attention to a side of Steve that became obvious to many of us who worked closely with him but which most graduate students of my generation (and professors too) never understood: that Steve cared much more about our learning and flourishing than our commitments to Marxism, and that he was (as Jack put it so wonderfully) “willing to be led by his students.”
Like Jack, I too would describe Steve as “one of the most supportive adults I’ve met in my entire life.” Even as I (and many others) feared his intensity, he gave us attentive encouragement, honest criticism, extra love in moments of crisis, and always a good laugh.
Jack also notes Steve’s radiant dignity — not pride or self-satisfaction but an inner at-homeness-with-self that served as a reassuring rock to angst-ridden grad students, a steady reminder that it was ok to be ourselves.
Steve also gave new meaning to the Althusserian notion of “class struggle in the realm of theory.” Academic feudalism was the dominant mode of Ph.D. supervisor/student relations in Steve’s own educational experience and in the economics profession he joined in the 1960s and 70s. But over his long career he seems to have become increasingly committed to a Marxian vision of the Ph.D. dissertation as a worker self-directed enterprise.
In these and other tangible ways, Steve helped many of us to grow up and find our voices.
Thank you, Jack.
I really hope the album version of “Steve Resnick was my champion” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57hkI0eo_28) will find its way into RM.
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