Sonia Ryang

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland

Before I came to Hopkins as an assistant professor, I had a few very interesting and remarkable thinkers and individuals as my mentors, including Alan Macfarlane at Cambridge and James Fox in the Australian National University. But, my major reason for having come to Hopkins as opposed to other possibilities I had at that time was Sidney Mintz. Sid asked me two questions during my campus visit: "Who is the best theorist in your view?" and "Who is your favorite composer?" My answers were: Althusser for the first, and (of course) Beethoven for the second. I'm grateful I still got this job despite my first answer! I still cannot get over the deeply moving feeling as well as an incredible delight that I felt when I first found out that Sidney Mintz, one of the greatest anthropologists of this century, is also a person whom I can talk to as another human being. As the last tenure-track faculty chosen by the department with Sid still on the selection committee, I've witnessed a great transformation of the department, reflecting various backgrounds of the new faculty. I hope the department will continue to thrive for many generations to come, building on the foundation Sid laid out.