Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

Some Memories of George Von der Muhll

Academic journal article Comparative Civilizations Review

Some Memories of George Von der Muhll

Article excerpt

A member of the ISCSC for many decades, our dear friend George Von der Muhll passed on February 8, 2016, of natural causes. He was beloved by many because of his phenomenal knowledge of civilizations past, present and debatable, and because of his relentlessly positive and erudite advocacy of civilizational perspectives on global problems.

This marks the departure of another Titan of our small and ever aging crew. The decline of national support for humanities, much less classical studies of civilizations, has dried up the stream of junior faculty who used to replace our Titans when they retired or moved on.

George studied at Oberlin College, the London School of Economics, and Harvard before teaching at Swarthmore College, the University of Chicago, briefly in Ethiopia, in New Zealand (1977-78) and in Uganda from 1965-66 and 1972-73 (before he had to flee with his young family due to dangers posed by then-ruler Idi Amin). George was a remarkably fearless man for a tiny professor of government and governance. But his main academic home became the University of California at Santa Cruz where he taught politics and rose to become provost of Merrill College at UCSC. After retirement, he also taught and administered programs at Utrecht, Leiden and Maastricht Universities in the Netherlands from 2000-2002.

George was different from many scholars in that he actually walked on the ground of most of the modern, ancient, large and small civilizations he studied. He had fairly pronounced scoliosis, so in his later years we would expect him to limp up, bent over with ever new and fascinating stories of his latest adventures in far off places. …

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