Robert Fine (1945-2018)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Robert Fine was on the ESA Executive Committee in 2011-2015 and co-founder of RN31. Read the coordinators' message.

We are writing with great sadness because Robert Fine passed away on June 9th, 2018. He was one of the most important contemporary social theorists, and one of the friendliest too. 

In 2008 he, together with Claudine Attias-Donfut, launched our Research Network, and thus offered a unique space for researchers of new forms of antisemitism and racism, particularly their contemporary developments. Until then, antisemitism research was not institutionalized within the ESA and there was no space where discussions on antisemitism and its connections to racism could take place. So Robert and Claudine filled a gap both institutionally as well as with regard to theorizing and analyzing the continuing and indeed growing relevance of antisemitism and racism. 

The network ever since kept the “designation as both racism and antisemitism” in order to “avoid the risk of diluting the latter by subsuming it to the former”, as Robert and his co-editors wrote in their introduction to the special issue of European Societies in 2012 that included a collection of articles based on papers given at meetings of the Research Network. 

Robert was a great friend and teacher and evoked critical thinking in many of us. His political and academic engagement was broad, this Research Network is part of it. We face the responsibility to further develop his ideas on antisemitism and racism and more generally on the society that constantly generates these ideologies. In doing so we hope to live up to the responsibility of Robert’s legacy, though it is unthinkable to fill the gap his death has left. 

Robert, we miss you!

Karin Stoegner (Coordinator of the RN), Kim Robin Stoller (Co-coordinator) on behalf of RN31 Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism

Please also see the obituary by David Hirsh, which clearly captures Robert’s brilliant political and intellectual force: