Diane Manuel, News Service (650) 725-1945; e-mail: email@example.com
Stanford honors historian Gordon Craig on Nov. 22
A symposium in honor of Gordon Craig, a noted historian of Germany and the J. E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, will be held at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, in Lane History Corner, room 205.
The gathering celebrates publication of Craig's latest work, Politics and Culture in Modern Germany, a collection of essays first published in the New York Review of Books. It also coincides with his 86th birthday.
University President Gerhard Casper will preside at the symposium, and historians James Sheehan and Peter Stansky will talk about Craig's years at Oxford, Princeton and Stanford.
"It's a celebration of Gordon's many years at Stanford and of his quite extraordinary record as a scholar and increasingly as a public intellectual," Sheehan says.
"The German translation of his book called The Germans was immensely successful and made him into a celebrity, so that he is someone who is recognized on the street [in Germany]."
A specialist in German history and the history of diplomacy, Craig taught at Stanford from 1961 until his retirement in 1979. He previously had taught at Princeton University from 1950 to 1961.
Scottish by birth, Craig received four degrees from Princeton, including his doctorate and a degree of Litt. D. honoris causa that was granted in 1970. He received his B. Litt. degree from Oxford University, where he spent two years as a Rhodes Scholar.
Craig served as chair of the History Department from 1972 to 1975 and from 1978 to 1979, and also served a term as chair of the Faculty Senate. He received a Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduate education in 1973 and was widely credited with strengthening his department's undergraduate and graduate teaching programs.
A former member of the Office of Strategic Services and the United States Marine Corps, Craig also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Historical Division of the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a member of the prestigious Pour le Mérite order of Germany and also served as president of the American Historical Society.
Craig is the author of numerous articles and books on modern European and German history and European diplomatic and military history. They include Makers of Modern Strategy; The Diplomats 19191939; The Politics of the Prussian Army 16401945; From Bismarck to Adenauer: Aspects of German Statecraft; The Battle of Königgrätz; War, Politics and Diplomacy; and a massive contribution to the Oxford History of Modern Europe called Germany, 18661945. His textbook Europe Since 1815 is widely used.
Sheehan, who will speak about Craig's experience at Oxford and Princeton, says that the pre-war years the young scholar spent as a Rhodes Scholar were pivotal.
"It was a very important part of his life," Sheehan says. "That generation of young men knew that they were going to be in another war, and I think it was a time that profoundly affected the way he views the world."
Craig always has been a scholar who was widely known and admired, Sheehan said, but as a result of publication of The Germans in Germany, "his reputation, especially in Germany, has flourished in the decades since his retirement."
Craig now "is regarded as the dean of historians of Germany," Sheehan adds.
Stansky, who will discuss Craig's career at Stanford, says that he plans to quote from the historian's lectures on lecturing and from his many articles about the importance of good teaching. He also will draw on the 18 linear feet of materials that comprise Craig's papers in the Special Collections of the Stanford University Libraries.
In an address to the University Fellows Reunion in 1979, Craig noted that "of intellectual eagerness and zest there as no dearth among Stanford students; and it was, from the beginning, exciting to teach them."
He also said: "There were, in those first years, other moments of mutual incomprehension between my students and me; and sometimes after a lecture, I found myself thinking of a remark made by Sir Walter Raleigh, the Raleigh who taught English literature at Glasgow and Oxford at the beginning of the century. He once said, 'I rather think that when I come nearest pleasing myself my class regard me as a kind of monster. . . . I might just as well be set to feed hedgehogs with cheesecakes.' I imagine that we have all felt that way at one time or another."
By Diane Manuel