Obituary: James Heitzman

christoph.emmrich at UTORONTO.CA christoph.emmrich at UTORONTO.CA
Mon Nov 24 16:28:01 UTC 2008

Obituary: James Heitzman

"James Heitzman (October 27, 1950-November 15, 2008), historian of  
South Asia and urban studies scholar, passed away in Stanford  
hospital, California, while receiving treatment for cancer. He  
received his Doctorate in history from the University of Pennsylvania  
in 1985 and an M.S. in Information Studies from Drexel University in  
1989. He held numerous professional appointments including as a  
research analyst in the Library of Congress (1987-1988); a history  
professor in Cazenovia College, NY (1989-1997) and Georgia State  
University, Atlanta (1997- 2004); and as the Director of Summer  
Sessions, University of California, Davis (2004-2006). He is  
remembered for his love of South Asia and his life-long commitment to  
furthering knowledge of the region’s history and society. His numerous  
publications and research interests (in Buddhism, Chola history, the  
medieval world, cities, Bangalore, science and technology) include  
books such as “Gifts of Power” (1997), “The World in the Year 1000”  
(2003), “Network City” (2004), and “The City in South Asia” (2008)."

(Re-printed from The Hindu, November 24th 2008)

For those of us who knew and worked closely with James this has come  
as a sudden and sad loss. He was not just a fine scholar of medieval  
South India, doing path-breaking work on issues of Chola  
historiography and agriculture,  but  a larger-than-life figure, a  
perceptive reader and editor of the works of others and a staunch and  
loyal friend. He also had a wonderful and ironic sense of humour –  
particularly about the vagaries of the academic life – which had so  
much defined his own existence. He is survived by his wife Smriti  
Srinivas, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California,  
Davis with whom he enjoyed an extraordinarily creative scholarly  
collaboration in the last decades of his life and by his 3 children  
including the youngest, one-year-old Maitreyi Heitzman.

Srilata Raman
Assistant Professor, Modern Hinduism
University of Toronto.

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