Join us in offering congratulations and profound thanks to our colleague and friend, Bob Haskett, who became Professor Emeritus of History earlier this month. An internationally renowned scholar, an innovative and successful teacher and mentor, a kind and generous advisor, and an insightful leader, Bob has had a remarkably distinguished career. We are proud to call you one of our own.
Professor Robert Haskett’s research has centered on colonial Mexico, with a special emphasis on Indigenous political organization, religious ideology, historical consciousness, and responses to colonialism. His first book, Indigenous Rulers: An Ethnohistory of Town Government in Colonial Cuernavaca, was one of the earliest books to use sources written in Nahuatl, a group of languages spoken by the Aztecs and many of their neighbors. With documents written by the supposedly “conquered” Native people of Cuernavaca, Haskett revealed the long persistence of Indigenous systems of governance, including local elections and complex political ideologies that resisted and adapted to new colonial realities. In his second book, Visions of Paradise: Primordial Titles and Mesoamerican History in Cuernavaca, Haskett explored the ways that Indigenous communities made sense of the colonial world, in political, religious, and historical terms, interpreting their place in the new colonial order as unconquered and autonomous, in part from their intellectual and religious adaptability. Haskett also edited, with Stephanie Wood and Susan Schroeder, Indian Women of Early Mexico, a landmark collection of essays that still shapes the field of colonial women’s and gender history. With work on colonial labor systems, the material culture of ritual regalia, religious martyrdom, systems of land and property, and colonial sugar production, Haskett’s oeuvre is capacious and impressive.
As a teacher, Professor Haskett was beloved of his students, both undergraduate and graduate. Teaching perennially popular classes on colonial Mexico, the Aztec and Incan Empires, religion and colonial conquest, and piracy (to name only a few), Haskett introduced students to a wide range of complex interpretive problems while bringing Indigenous history to life. As a graduate mentor, Haskett was known for being generous with his time, with his high expectations matched by his investment in his students’ success.
Anyone who has spent time in the University of Oregon’s history department knows of Bob’s generous and tireless service. For two decades he was the face of the department with our undergraduate majors, advising thousands of students with patience and empathy. He served on countless search committees, review and tenure committees, curriculum committees, and more. His famously long emails show how much he cares about his work and how willing he always is to invest the time and care needed to address the needs of our students and faculty.
“I first met Bob when I came to campus in early 2016 for my interview. We had a short appointment scheduled in his office, which turned into an hour-long discussion of Indigenous North American ethnohistory, philology, colonialism, pirates, and women’s basketball. We got so caught up that we lost track of time, and set the rest of the day’s schedule behind. That conversation was one of the main reasons I came to UO with so much excitement. And Bob has never disappointed. As decent and gentle a person as I’ve ever met, Bob will continue to be a credit to our department for many years to come, even though he has contracted Emer-itus.”
~ Brett Rushforth, professor and Department Head
Please take some time to reach out to Bob and thank him for the many ways that, over the past thirty-three years, he has made our department better and our lives richer. He can be reached at email@example.com