Political Science Today: In Memoriam

These submissions were featured in the May 2021 issue of Political Science Today, a new member magazine of the American Political Science Association.  To read the full memoriam in Political Science Today, please click here.

Demetrios J. Caraley

Demetrios James (Jim) Caraley died peacefully on December 14, 2020, at age 88. He was an esteemed professor of political science, author, editor, and university and nonprofit administrator. He was both an appointed and elected official in Westchester County local government in the 1970s.

During his many years at Barnard College and Columbia University, Jim became an institution and an institutional builder. He was the Janet H. Robb Professor of the Social Sciences at Barnard College from 1959 to 2004. He was elected chairman of the Barnard Political Science Department for 10 three-year terms and was founding chairman of the Program on Urban Studies. He also served on the faculties of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He established at SIPA the Columbia Graduate Program in Public Policy and Administration where he was the founding director for seven years. Jim was well known to faculty members and students through these leadership roles and was a good colleague, friend, and mentor.

He is survived by his adored wife of 32 years, Vilma Mairo Caraley, whom he met on the Barnard faculty; daughter from a first marriage, Anne Caraley; daughter, Lisa Paterson, and grandchildren, Lucy and Wyatt Paterson. After the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the death therein of his son-in-law, Steven Paterson, he focused much of his work (see below) on terrorism and US foreign policy.

Dave Robertson

While so many articles and books in our field redound to the conclusion that “institutions matter” in shaping American politics, Dave’s scholarship on the Constitution and on federalism reminds us that institutions come from somewhere. Real human beings with passions and preferences (to use Richard Bensel’s phrase) make and remake the rules that govern our lives. If there is one overriding reason why I continue to teach Dave’s work to my undergraduates, it is because he treats the creation of political institutions as the lively, human enterprise it very much is. We learn from Dave’s work on the Founding that the opponents of Madison’s Virginia Plan, particularly Roger Sherman, had a far greater impact on American politics than most Americans know; their own battle gave us the fragmented battlefield on which American politics is currently situated. At a moment of political turbulence, it is Dave’s perspective, and not the “static-state” textbook versions of American Politics 101, that I (and my students) continue to find valuable. Institutions like federalism, Dave’s work helps me to remind them, are not fixed constants but fluid variables, subject to the forces of time and temperature, the work of human hands.

Christian Søe

Professor Christian Søe, a member of the Department of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach since 1967, passed away peacefully on March 12, 2021. He was an extraordinarily well-loved colleague, friend, teacher, and researcher, and his loss is mourned by his wide-ranging community of friends and family. An expert on German politics, particularly on German political parties and the special role of the German Free Democratic Party (FDP), he taught courses on Western European politics, comparative politics, political theory, and American politics until his retirement as professor emeritus in 2006.

Sheldon W. Simon

Among the titans who bestrode the scholarly world of Asia and its security, few proved as consummate a student of the region as Sheldon Weiss Simon, professor emeritus of political science at Arizona State University, who passed away on January 2, 2021. In an academic career spanning well over five decades (four-fifths of which were spent at Arizona State) with a vita comprising well over 200 research articles and books, Sheldon Simon—“Shell” to his friends and colleagues—assiduously observed, reported on, and critically analyzed developments in Asia and its sub-regions from the Cold War to the present.[1]

A native of Minnesota, Simon was born in Saint Paul on January 31, 1937. A brilliant student from young, it was in high school that Simon began combining academic excellence with a lifelong involvement with musical theater. Indeed, it was as a cast member of a melodrama theater in Cripple Creek, Colorado where Simon met his future bride Charlann Scheid, playing opposite her for 158 performances of the same play. As newlyweds they continued performing on stage together, making enough to finance a trip to Europe. Political science and musical theater were very much intertwined throughout his life, including in delightfully unexpected ways: in 1976, Simon played the lead role of John Adams in the Phoenix Theater’s production of the musical 1776.

Simon was educated at the University of Minnesota where he obtained his BA degree (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude) in 1958 and his PhD in political science in 1964; in between, he obtained a MA degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1960. It was during his undergraduate years where his academic fascination with Asia began. His career, which included a stint as a political analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency, took him to George Washington University and subsequently to the University of Kentucky, where he served briefly as the acting director of UK’s Patterson School of Diplomacy. While in Kentucky, Simon applied for and won a grant from the National Humanities Council to put on musical theater shows for rural Kentuckian communities.

[1] This piece draws from a lead essay to a festschrift roundtable in honor of Sheldon W. Simon that was published in 2018 in the journal Asia Policy. The author acknowledges with gratitude the permission granted by the National Bureau of Asian Research to reproduce parts of that essay originally published as See Seng Tan, “Asia Watcher: Introduction to a Festschrift in Honor of Sheldon W. Simon,” Asia Policy 13, no. 4 (October 2018): 4-9.

About Political Science Today
Political Science Today  is a new member magazine of the American Political Science Association. The magazine includes news about the discipline, member spotlights, association updates, and other content previously featured in PS: Political Science & Politics. Learn more.

Contact publications@apsanet.org to submit an In Memoriam to Political Science Today.