Charles Moskos, RIP

I am not a sociologist, and my only connection to NU is that I cheer for the softball team, but as a Chicagoan I have always been willing to bask in the reflected glory of Charles Moskos, one of our best known public intellectuals. As I’m sure most readers of this blog know, he died earlier this week — here is a link to his obit in the Trib. I’d be interested in hearing what the sociologists and NU students out there have to say about him.


7 Responses to Charles Moskos, RIP

  1. laurabethnielsen says:

    Well, this is a huge blow for the department. Others (like Bob) knew him more than I did. We overlapped 2 years and he was teaching one course in the fall each of these years and then spending the rest of the year in San Diego with his son.

    There was a great party for him when he left last year as he suspected he would not be returning. Students from decades back made the journey to the party to celebrate with him. It was very moving to hear how he inspired students.

    My favorite personal anectdote is walking into the department one day with Oldest Son who was wearing a t-shirt that said, “I’m a skateboarder . . arrest me,” and Charlie engaged him at a 10 year old level and asked him all the sociologicially relevant questions – why don’t people like skateboarders? how do they get the police involved? what do skateboarders do to fight back? So Oldest Son learned from Professor Moskos too.

    Rest in Peace indeed. A giant intellectual (I mean WOW!); a mentor of the highest order; and a sweetheart to boot.

  2. jeffaregularworkinglawyer says:

    The question I would have asked is “Where does a ten-year-old get a t-shirt like that?”

    As LB knows, I am a big fan of both of her kids.

  3. briand0n0van says:

    That’s so sad and such a huge loss. I remember him being very generous with graduate students. He requested volunteers to grade exams from his 200-student intro class, bought us food and drinks, and overpaid us, often with cash from his own pocket. I think he could have had them machine-graded, but he enjoyed the chance to hang out for a couple of hours with students he wouldn’t otherwise see. I remember that he had a delightful way of being simultaneously brash and welcoming, and he had a warm and genuine smile. My thoughts are with his family . . .

  4. laurabethnielsen says:

    Older Boy made the t-shirt with a sharpie. I think it was one of the reasons Charlie liked it.

  5. jeffaregularworkinglawyer says:

    Good for Older Boy!

  6. robertlnelson says:

    We attended Charlie’s funeral today. It was a beautiful Orthodox ceremony, very fitting for a leading scholar on Greek Americans. The saddest moment was when the family said goodbye before they closed the casket.

    We all knew Charlie was very ill but still were saddened by his passing. I have lots of memories of Charlie from my days as grad student, colleague, chair. In all of those relationships he was warm, supportive, smart, interesting, funny. As the inventor of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Charlie became a controversial figure. He changed his position after the research began to come back that the policy encouraged the harassment of gays.

    Instead of the usual prayer card, the family passed out a joke about an American, a Russian, a Chinese person, and a Greek.

    We will miss you, Charlie.

  7. laurabethnielsen says:

    What a beautiful church! And ceremony! And his brother was a sweetie and I met Charlie’s brand new grand nephew whose baptism was on the same day Charlie died. So many students . . . past and present.

    I was so sad that I did not realize when I was introduced to the guy next to me that I know his work very well and that he is an NU alum and charlie student.

    the church, the stained glass, the ceremony, the candles — it was amazingly wonderfully beautiful. RIP Charlie –

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