30 April 2008

charles tilly

i'm breaking another near-monthlong radio silence with sad news: charles tilly has died.

political science largely remembers tilly for the maxim "states make war, [and] war makes states" -- one of these big theoretical contentions that comes up short, incomplete, overbroad, but which nevertheless puts many people on new paths.

my own connection was to a different part of tilly's work. imagine my ill-informed surprise when, having decided we really needed to theorize "repertoires of violence," i was informed that tilly had been writing about repertoires of contention since the '70's. not the same, but not entirely different, either. at least, i thought at the time, i've reinvented an interesting wheel.

every remembrance of tilly, from the crooked timber link above to lee bollinger's statement from columbia, talks about the boundlessness of both his energy and his intellectual interests. many scholars in many disciplines are going to miss him.