Testimonials and Messages
By Annette Kolodny
There are surely no early Americanists today whose scholarship has not in some way been influenced, enhanced, and enlightened by the published works of Sacvan Bercovitch. I am surely one of those. But I also had the extraordinary experience of working closely with Saki as a member of the National Council during the years that he served as president of the American Studies Association, 1985-88. As many of us recall, the ‘80s were also a period when tenure was under attack and right-wing idealogues were monitoring and attempting to stifle the work of those of us they considered the “tenured radicals.” Affirmative action was under attack and terms like diversity and multi-ethnic were suspect in some circles. But under Saki’s careful and compassionate guiding hand, the ASA significantly expanded its outreach to scholars of color and to less well-worked areas of interdisciplinary American studies. With enormous tact and diplomacy, he guided the association toward inclusivity at the same time as he stabilized our then-precarious financial situation. In short, in addition to being one of the great scholars of his generation, Saki was also a leader who saw the challenges to our profession and took them on with courage and dedication. In private moments together, over many years, I always found Saki a kind and gentle soul with a heart as big as the Ritz.
College of Humanities Professor Emerita of American Literature and Culture
University of Arizona
Here is a brief obituary notice:
And here is a lovely tribute written by Christopher Looby, from the Early American Literature web site: