David S. Landes, Goelet Professor of French History and a distinguished scholar of European economic history, will leave the History Department to join the faculty of the Economics Department effective July 1.
Although the move has not yet been formally approved, Landes said yesterday he will give his letter of resignation to the History Department chairman within the next several days, and involved faculty members and administrators said yesterday that they foresee no obstacles to the move.
Landes will retain his title as Goelet Professor when he joins the Economics Department, and his salary will continue to come from the endowed chair's income.
Dean Rosovsky said yesterday that although such interdepartmental switches are extremely rare, chairs are not designated for specific departments, and are given to members of the Faculty at the dean's discretion.
Landes's move will require approval from both Rosovsky and President Bok.
Landes declined to discuss his reasons for leaving the History Department staff, citing professional ethics, but said he discussed the move at length with History Department Chairman Ernest R. May before reaching his final decision. May refused yesterday to discuss the matter.
As an economic historian, Landes has taught several courses listed under both the Economics and History Departments. Before coming here, he held a position in the Economics department at Columbia University.
Landes said last night he hopes to continue to teach courses in economic and social history on an interdepartmental basis, but said he is not sure exactly which courses he will teach.
However, he said he does not expect to offer History 1320. "History of Europe, 1750-1914"--one of the few courses he taught listed only under the History Department--next year.
Dwight H. Perkins, chairman of the Economics Department, said yesterday he considers Landes "a distinguished economic historian [who] will fit in as well in our department as in the History Department."
Perkins, who teaches a joint course in comparative economic history with Landes, Rosovsky and Robert W. Fogel, Burbank Professor of Political Economy, declined to comment further because the move has not been finalized.
Fogel said yesterday, "there is a universal feeling the Economics Department that we're lucky to get him." "Whatever problems there are in the History Department are unfortunate, but it's just great we can keep Landes at the University," another member of the Economics Department, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday.
Members of the History Department senior faculty yesterday expressed sorrow that Landes is leaving the department, but commented that it is much less of a loss than it would be if Landes left the University entirely.
"He is a very distinguished historian of Europe, and any courses he stopped giving on any subject in that field would be a great loss," John L. Clive, professor of History, said.
But several members of the department's junior faculty, all of whom asked not to be identified, expressed dismay at Landes's departure because they said the department will be unable to cover European history adequately without him.
One well-known European scholar in another department commented this week that without Landes, the History Department's European section "will be much less distinguished than those at many other universities."
However, Rosovsky said the department is currently working actively to recruit senior Europeanists, although he declined further comment on the matter