One of Harvard's most popular professors, Peter W. Stanley, lecturer in History, probably will leave Harvard at the end of this year because he has not received a tenured appointment.
When Stanley goes next year, so may History 1711, "The United States and East Asia," one of the department's largest courses, with an average enrollment of 200.
"We just don't have the person with the solid anchor in American history any more. Without Peter Stanley, I can't do it alone," Edwin O. Reischauer, University Professor, who also teaches History 1711, said yesterday.
Ernest R. May, chairman of the History Department, said he could not predict the future of History 1711 until he finishes hiring new junior faculty in about six weeks. He said he might find someone with an American and East Asian history background similar to Stanley's.
Stanley said he hoped the course would continue. "We've always thought it ought to be a humane introduction to an important subject that should be separated from the usual policy-making crowd," he added.
Stanley said yesterday he was not surprised by the tenure decision, although he regrets the possible loss of History 1711. "It was never in the cards--assistant professors are hired with an informal understanding of a terminal contract," Stanley added.
May confirmed Stanley's opinion. "Peter's done very well here, and he's a very popular teacher; but we don't have any appointments--we have enough American history professors," he said.
Reischauer, however, said he believes Stanley is too good a professor to lose. "He's simply terrific--a great teacher--a good, solid, sound scholar. I think he's the kind of man Harvard can't afford to lose, and something should be done to keep him here," he added.
But Stanley probably will be far from Harvard next year--Honolulu, in fact. Stanley said he has been offered, and is likely to accept, a ten-year endowment to write a history of Hawaii, focusing on the period between Captain Cook's exploration and the American annexation of Hawaii in 1898.
"It's a great challenge--most people have not treated the indigenous Hawaiian culture as a serious thing. They haven't really seen the American-Hawaiian encounter as a significant cultural collision," Stanley said.
Stanley said he would spend two years in Honolulu in "a period of immersion--learning Hawaiian and reading the secondary literature--which is not extensive." At the same time, Stanley will maintain some contact with Harvard, directing a $66,000 grant project given to the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research by the Luce Foundation. The grant project has two parts: it will fund Stanley's research on a new book about the future of Philippine-American relations, and it will finance a study group of Philippine scholars to discuss this topic. Stanley will lead the study group, which will meet at Harvard over the course of a year.
"The grant is really ideal--it permits me to continue my interest in the Philippines, and then I can get into this new project," Stanley said.
But many students say they will miss Stanley. Norbert J. Vonnegut '80, a student who has taken two courses with him said yesterday he admired the professor's thoroughness and friendly manner in and out of lectures.
"Professor Stanley explores every facet of East Asian-American relations, from the beginning of the Opium War to the last call at the Hong Kong restaurant." Vonnegut said