Benedict Anderson – The Irish Internationalist
The historian Ramachandra Guha remembers Benedict Anderson, as a scholar, teacher and friend:
Benedict Anderson, who died earlier this week, aged 79, was the last of the great polymath social scientists. He was at once a political scientist, historian, sociologist, literary theorist, and biographer. He was also formidably multi-lingual, knowing half-a-dozen European languages and some four or five Asian languages too.
In the range of his learning, in his ability to so effortlessly cross disciplinary, temporal, and geographical boundaries, Benedict Anderson had only two peers: Ernest Gellner (1925-1995) and Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012). Gellner and Hobsbawm were European Jews forced to emigrate to England in the wake of the rise of the Nazis. Anderson was Irish, the son of a colonial official who served in, among other places, Yunan, Manchuria, and Shanghai. He himself studied at the University of Cambridge, before moving further west, to Cornell University in upstate New York, where he taught for some 35 years.