Carl Kaysen, the controversial director of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies, said yesterday that he will not deliver this year's Godkin lecture series.
Kaysen, scheduled to deliver the public affairs lectures on March 13 and 15, said that "important business" will prevent him from speaking at Harvard.
However, he would not comment on whether the recent dispute at the Institute influenced his decision.
The dispute at the Institute concerns the membership of Robert N. Bellah '48, Ford Professor of Sociology and Comparative Studies at Berkeley. Kaysen nominated Bellah for a one-year appointment at the Institute despite a 14-6 vote by the Institute's permanent faculty opposing the nomination.
A majority of the faculty last month called for an outside commission to evaluate Kaysen's leadership after he forwarded Bellah's nomination to the Institute's Board of Trustees.
Don K. Price, dean of the Kennedy School of Government, said yesterday that he is "terribly sorry" that Kaysen cancelled but that he can "appreciate the pressure Kaysen is under at the Institute."
The Kennedy School sponsors the annual Godkin lecture series.
Price said that the lecture series has not been cancelled for at least the last 14 years.
Edwin O. Reischauer, University Professor who supported Bellah's appointment to the Institute, said yesterday that he did not think Kaysen's decision not to deliver the Godkin lectures reflected any hostility towards Harvard. "He probably just didn't have time to compose the lectures," he said.
Several Faculty members here were asked to evaluate Bellah's work for the Institute.
Reischauer supported Bellah's appointment and doubted that "anyone surpasses him in breadth-times-depth capacity."
Stanley L. Cavell, Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, opposed the nomination because he said Bellah's work "does not show a sufficient magnitude of general intellectual distinction."
Bellah's recent work concerns Japanese religion and social change in American civil religion.
Both Bellah and Kaysen have former ties to Harvard. Bellah taught here between 1955 to 1967. Kaysen was a professor of Economics here between 1957 and 1966 and the associate dean of the Graduate School of Public Administration from 1969 to 1966. He left Harvard to assume the Institute's leadership in 1967