CONTACT: Doug Erickson, (608) 262-0930, [email protected]
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LONGTIME POLITICAL SCIENTIST, SCHOLAR ON AFRICAN POLITICS M. CRAWFORD YOUNG DIES AT 88
MADISON – M. Crawford Young, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the foremost scholars in the world on African politics, died Jan. 22 in Madison from complications related to congestive heart failure. He was 88.
While the Department of Political Science was Young’s disciplinary base, he was a central figure in the creation of the university’s African Studies Program. His critical early leadership and support helped the program thrive and provided him with an interdisciplinary community of scholars that nurtured his work. He remained actively engaged with the program until his death.
“We have lost a man of towering intellect and an international scholar who was one of a kind,” says UW-Madison Professor Aili Mari Tripp, who worked closely with Young in the political science department and African Studies Program and considered him a mentor. Tripp is the Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies and chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.
Young served two terms as director of the African Studies Program in the 1960s. Later, he twice chaired the Department of Political Science, and he served as acting dean of the College of Letters & Science in 1992-93.
Young authored nearly a dozen books and edited or contributed to dozens more. Several of his books are pioneering texts and classics in the study of the African state and the politics of cultural identity.
The African Politics Conference Group named Young’s The Postcolonial State in Africa: Fifty Years of Independence (UW Press) the co-winner of the best 2012 book on African politics. In its award announcement, the group said, “Perhaps only Young could provide this comprehensive overview; he brings to bear some five decades of close observation of the continent into a single readable, often brilliant, analysis.”
“He was a giant in the field of the study of African politics, writing seminal books on ethnicity, the state in Africa, and the political history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” says Scott Straus, the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Political Science and International Studies at UW-Madison. “In many ways, he was a key founder of the study of African politics in the U.S.”
-Doug Erickson, (608) 262-0930, [email protected]