In Memoriam - Jack Schaar

To: UCSC Community

From: Dean Mathiowetz, Associate Professor

The year ends with some sad news for us. After a recent diagnosis of cancer, Professor Emeritus Jack Schaar died on December 25.

Jack came to UCSC in 1970, arriving as one of the earliest members of the Politics Department. Not only did he help to shape the department's founding ethos, his courses were as influential beyond the campus as they were sought after and beloved by his students. Particularly notable was his approach to the study and teaching of American political thought. To an area of study that had been focused on the Enlightenment and natural juristic philosophies, he brought close and critical attention to literature, religion, and cultural attitudes toward nature. Many of his students went on to be notable scholars, and they have in turn created an innovative and broadly transformative literature in American political thought inspired by Jack's teaching.

Before coming to Santa Cruz, Jack was active in the political and intellectual controversies at UC Berkeley, where he taught in the 1960s. He was involved in the free speech movement and contributed to debates regarding the application of  social science methods to things political. His published works examined these issues, as well as topics in authority and the modern state, and questions of loyalty and patriotism that spoke to the challenge of radicalism in the Cold War  context. He contributed to many journals in the discipline, and other venues like the Nation and the New York Review of Books.

Jack also taught at Deep Springs College, and continued teaching his senior seminar in the Politics Department at UCSC through last Spring. He lived in Ben Lomond and is survived by his wife, Hanna Pitkin, and by his son. The Politics department is inviting students and others to write their remembrances of Jack on the Politics Facebook page at

Details of a memorial service will be forthcoming.