I spent more than half of my university days hanging around the department of sociology, rather than my own department. Probably because it has things we history students don't have, such as field research, questionnaire, group discussion and some other cool-sounding terminology.
A striking news hit me earlier from my university friend. A professor of the sociology department passed away last night. Details not known. Confirmed by another friend, a student supervised by him. I was reading about stuff about national identities and a chapter was just beginning to illustrating how the new science of sociology taking the place of the studies of history and civilisations.
My own research concern on identities, in spite of the historical understanding, in many ways can be traced to the sociological training I had there. It is not merely sad to know someone I've known for years is no longer there, teaching and preaching, it also says a lot about my lament of those days.
I am not a good student, either in terms of historical learning or sociological training. I picked up things I found interesting and explicable. However there's no denying that both the two, more or less, are in my veins. Those are elements of my brain. Those are links and ways that bridge my thoughts.
Professors of sociology often call themselves sociologists. "History professors don't reckon themselves historians. Humbleness is what makes a good searcher of truth.' Yet I suppose it is the conceit of every academic loop. Professor Lin was a nice guy, hard-working and dedicate. I remember previewing for his class of the 'classic reading in sociology'. I don't recall much of his lecture, yet the reading itself is inspiring.
I wonder if professor Lin himself thought that he lived up to the name of sociologist.
He might not be the first one on my thank-you list, but definitely not the last one.