In Memoriam: Professor J. G. A. Pocock

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Professor J.G.A. Pocock, one of this Department’s most distinguished members, has passed away peacefully and surrounded by his sons Hugh and Stephen, his daughter-in-law Jill, and by two of his beloved grandchildren, Rowan and Jasper, at the age of 99.  His wife Felicity passed away nine years ago. Professor Pocock was born on March 7, 1924. Raised in New Zealand, he received his PhD from Cambridge University.  He came to Johns Hopkins in 1974, after having served on faculty at the University of Canterbury, the University of Otago, and Washington University in St. Louis.  He retired from teaching in 1994 but remained active and engaged as a scholar well into his 90s.  Renowned for his pioneering methodologies for intellectual history and the histories of historical and political thought, his studies of the histories of English law, his analysis of the history of republicanism from Renaissance Italy through seventeenth and eighteenth century England and on to eighteenth and nineteenth century America, his contributions to the study of the thought of James Harrington, David Hume, Edmund Burke, and Edward Gibbon, and his contributions to the study of the European Enlightenment, Professor Pocock’s work had global impact, with translations into Italian, French, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Japanese and Chinese.   

Professor Pocock was a member of the Royal Historical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, and the American Philosophical Society. He was an honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge and an Overseas Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He was a Past President of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. He was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.  Tirelessly productive, Professor Pocock contributed in very important ways to the reputation of this department and to the fields of British history, intellectual history, political and moral thought, and the history of New Zealand and Oceania. Combining a towering intellect and formidable erudition with great compassion, kindness, and generosity, he will be well remembered and greatly missed.

(Read more at The Hub, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.)