Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Online APAs Memorializing Scholar Ron Takaki

Reports of the passing of noted historian Ronald Takaki have been circulating widely among Asian Americans in the blogosphere and via networking vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook and individual email exchanges.

While any official reporting confirming the rumors has yet to be released in Bay Area media or by the news bureau at UC Berkeley, where Takaki has been a respected emeritus professor in the Ethnic Studies Department, already scores if not hundreds of individuals and bloggers have been publishing appreciations of Dr. Takaki's work as a "people's historian" whose long career was dedicated to championing "a more inclusive and accurate history of all the peoples of America."

His works such as Strangers from a Different Shore and A Different Mirror have been noted as pioneering examples of historical scholarship that approaches research of U.S. peoples from a multicultural perspectives.

As blogger Keith Kamisugi recounts on,
Over 34 years, Ron taught 20,000 students, and has written twelve books which
have influenced thousands more. One of them, “A Different Mirror,” won the
American Book Award, and has sold over a half million copies; it is
the text for
anyone interested in the history — and the future — of multicultural America

[Emphasis mine]

His influence was was limited not only to his publishing activity, but also to shaping the curriculum on and beyond his campus, and inspiring a generation of students and younger scholars. He was instrumental in bringing to life to the PhD in Ethnic Studies, as well as an undergraduate major and ultimately a multicultural credit requirement for graduation. Many of those memorializing Dr. Takaki in the past day are former students who also spoke of his impact in the classroom and calling his lessons "life changing".

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