Professor Henry Teune was born on March 19, 1936. He died on April 12, 2011, at 75 years old.
Penn’s Almanac covered his professional life and accomplishments. So, here, I reminisce as someone who knew him relatively late in life; as a rather latecomer into the profession; as a colleague who shared with him fun moments of boyish complicity — as only a young old man who, having befriended another late, and sought to make up for time lost, can. He and I liked marching together across campus on Graduation Day. Alas, never again.
I came to Penn at the end of August 1982, at a moment when I had to take time out after a car accident, and thought I might just as well invest this freedom rejuvenating myself at the Wharton School’s Social Systems Science department, adding theory to my long-time international practice as an industrial market/product/process and systems development engineer-qua-“business executive.”
Intent on adding a social systems science approach to regional science, political econometrics, international relations and comparative international political economy, the more effectively to prepare for my Ph.D. in peace science and conflict analysis, I quickly met with people I’d placed on a very short list: Henry Teune was one of them, in view of his courses, expert research and mentality in international systemic analysis and comparative sociopolitical synthesis.
Teune showed much interest in my pursuits and accepted to become, first, the supervisor of my master’s thesis, and, thereafter, along with Tony Smith and Larry Klein, one of my three dissertation advisors.
As a Ph.D., my academic interests and intellectual puzzlements and pursuits were as diverse as his and this kept us together throughout the 25 years I would spend at Penn, doing what I liked most: researching, uncovering and thinking through in systemic fashion a myriad connected questions.
Teune was a guest of honor in all of my interdisciplinary seminars for professors at Penn. He took active part in several of them, as well as in my panels open to the public at Commencement, via his oral presentations and the chapters edited by me for inclusion in the corresponding books.
What I much admired in his character was his openness to professional debate and to criticism of his ideas — he welcomed my critique of his views on measuring “development” within the context of my international relations master’s thesis.
He, in turn, had no compunction when it came to tearing to pieces my hypothetical ‘adaptive expectations’ model of armaments races, only to readily admit, in the end, that my econometric work on the subject did seem to make empirical sense of political science theory with believably explanatory conclusions and a potential to predict.
Teune showed remarkable good humor and patience when it came to rewriting parts of his several chapters for me, and that attitude augmented my respect for him as a person and a scholar, even more. Through thick and thin, we remained friends. He was clearly moved when, learning of his ailment, I called him at home from wherever I found myself at any given moment, long after leaving Penn and the United States.
Ours was a quiet friendship that required no assurances and knew of no depletion, despite the vagaries of distance and time. Whether we walked on campus, engaged in after-hour chats in our offices, at the Faculty Club or over coffee at a terrace, we felt joy in being together. He was good at writing eulogies. He promised mine would be forgiving. We laughed. Sadly, at 75, he precedes me. He suffered much; typically, in greatest dignity. My heart goes out to his good wife Kazumi and to his family. Now, in my 76th spring, I miss him very much. Rest in peace, my dear friend.
Jose Ciprut is a former Penn student who earned two master’s degrees and his doctorate from SAS. His email address is email@example.com.Comments powered by Disqus
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