Around the Quads
Jacob Coleman “J.C.” Hurewitz ’50 GSAS, a professor emeritus in the political science department, died on May 16. He was 93.
Hurewitz, who graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., worked for the Near East section of the Office of Strategic Services during WWII, then worked successively at the State Department, as a political adviser on Palestine to the President’s cabinet and for the United Nations secretariat.
Hurewitz concentrated on the Middle East at GSAS and accepted a post at Columbia the year he graduated. Hurewitz directed the Middle East Institute from 1970–84, when he retired, but his most enduring scholarly achievement may have been collecting mostly unpublished papers to document the history of the Middle East from the early 16th century until just after WWII. The Struggle for Palestine (1950), a revision of his doctoral thesis, still is regarded as an illuminating look at the emergence of Israel as a nation.
In 1972, Hurewitz established the Columbia University Seminar on the Middle East, which he continued to chair until he was nearly 90. He also taught at Cornell and Johns Hopkins and held research fellowships at the Council on Foreign Relations, the Social Science Research Council and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Eugene F. Rice Jr., chair of the history department from 1970–73 and the William R. Shepherd Professor of History, died on August 4 at 83.
Rice, a descendent of Benjamin Franklin, was drafted into U.S. Army intelligence. After service in Europe, he graduated from Harvard in 1947 and earned a Ph.D. there in 1953. Leading Renaissance scholar Hans Baron described Rice’s first book, The Renaissance Idea of Wisdom (1973, an account of the secularization of wisdom from Petrarch to Pierre Charron) as a “brilliantly written and keenly argued study.” Rice’s textbook, The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460–1559, still is widely used 40 years after its first publication, via an updated version by Anthony Grafton.
Rice taught at Harvard and Cornell before moving to Columbia in 1964. A founding member of the Renaissance Society of America, he was its executive director from 1966–82 and 1985–87. Rice was presented the College’s Great Teacher Award in 1984. University Professor Emeritus and former Provost Fritz Stern ’46 said Rice was “a Renaissance scholar in every sense, an admirable colleague, with a quiet, profound sense of our collective enterprise, unpretentious and with a wry humor.”
Charles H. Tilly, the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, died on April 29. He was 78 and had been at Columbia since 1996, during which time he advised 101 GSAS Ph.D. candidates.
Tilly was a social scientist who combined historical interpretation and quantitative analysis in his prolific work to form unusual interpretations, such as when he compared nation states to protection rackets. Tilly, who had a joint appointment with the Departments of Sociology and Political Science, is widely considered the leading scholar of his generation on contentious politics and its relationship with military, economic, urban and demographic social change. He wrote more than 600 articles and 51 books.
A 1950 graduate of Harvard, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1958 in sociology, Tilly also studied at Oxford and the Catholic University of Angers, France. He served in the Navy during the Korean War. Tilly taught at Delaware, Harvard, Toronto, Michigan and the New School before joining Columbia. He also had stints at a number of other schools in North America and Europe.