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A Real Professor: A Memorial for Carlo Caldarola

In this age of extreme and self-destructive specialization, whoever can speak as a generalist must be honored. Carlo was such a person. His interests were very broad. He took an Olympian view. He encouraged us, his colleagues and students, to do likewise. Carlo embodied the essence of a university.

What is that essence? The university is a place where all viewpoints are nurtured. It is a place where all orthodoxies must be questioned. It is the place where all new ideas must be critically reviewed. It is a place for transcendence.

As the Cree Indian Chief, Poundmaker said in 1885, sitting on the grass at Battleford, Saskatchewan, a prisoner facing his British Army conqueror – Poundmaker said, ‘I feel in my heart that I am such a person as I am.’

This is worthy of the legend of the Grand Inquisitor, written by Dostoyevsky about the same time. The Grand Inquisitor did all the talking: But his Prisoner, who said not a single word, walked away — victorious.

I turn now to Thorstein Veblen, who may well be the greatest North American social scientist. In 1907, Veblen was living at Cedro Cottage, two miles northwest of the campus of Stanford University. Veblen touched a few students, as Carlo touched us. Said one such student, ‘I learned to respect workmanship. And by workmanship I think Veblen meant all work, humble or ambitious, done with the hands or the head, that men and women do.' (Robert Duffus, The Innocents at Cedro, New York, 1944).

That sense of workmanship is what Carlo taught us.

This tribute to Carlo Caldarola was submitted to Folio/New Trail by his friend Arthur K. Davis. Professor Caldarola died suddenly in Rome on 29 August 1981 while travelling to a Sociology of Religion conference in Geneva. Professor Caldarola, a member of the Department of Sociology since 1969, was an accomplished scholar and linguist. Before embarking on a career in sociology, he studied Catholic theology and philosophy in Italy. He held graduate degrees from the Tokyo Metropolitan University and the University of California at Berkeley. Among Professor Caldarola's best known recent works are Christianity: The Japanese Way (Leiden: Brill, 1979) and Society and Politics in Alberta (Toronto: Methuen, 1979).

A scholarship fund has been set up in Dr. Caldarola's name to support a final year student in the Department of Sociology's honors program. Contributions may be sent to the Carlo Caldarola Scholarship Fund, Department of Sociology, The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Carlo Caldarola Scholarship Fund University of Alberta.’ All contributions are tax deductible and receipts will be issued.

Published February 1981.

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