Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

27 Nov 2001, 12:35 p.m.

Professor Rogin wrote many articles and books. One can…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Professor Rogin wrote many articles and books. One can read some of them online. Right now I'm reading "Mon Pays" (My Country), a book review. I can hear his voice in my head when I read his words.

He used to put up huge, elaborate, detailed outlines on the chalkboard before he lectured. He'd try to follow them, but sometimes he'd stray into interesting tangents and trivia and coincidences and connections. His graduate students used to laugh about his habit of placing one hand on top of his head as he lectured, as though he had to keep all the information from bursting out of his brain at once.

Sometimes I thought he was pulling one over on us, trying to make an argument out of coincidence, especially in the media-studies realm. But I tried to never miss his lectures, and especially in his American Political Theory class, in every lecture he made many important connections that helped me learn where modern political ideologies originated.

He would have taught American Political Theory next semester.

Once he said "Sinclair Lewis" when he meant "Upton Sinclair." I corrected him in private and he announced the correction -- and that I had made it! -- in the next lecture, in front of hundreds of people.

Several lectures later, in a Q&A session, he corrected my pronunciation of "effete," and joked that we were now even.

I really think that he was a seeker of truth, and it's a sad thing that he has died, because humanity can use all the truth-seekers it can get.