In Memory of Evelyn Schutz Lang

Evelyn Schutz Lang died peacefully at home on December 7, 2018, in New York City.  She was born on May 22, 1933, in Vienna.  She attended Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx, and went on to graduate from the University of Rochester. She went on to create and run Data Operation Incorporated, which designed and developed data management systems, until she retired in the 1990’s. She was an avid skier,and arranged multi-person trips to places such as Colorado ski vacations, although her husband did not accompany her on travels because it was not his “thing.” 

​She was proceeded in death by her husband of thirty-seven years, Elliott Lang, with whom she became acquainted in the trainee program for the Abraham and Strauss stores. He went on to become executive vice-president of Saks 5th Avenue as the operations manager for all Saks’ stores. Then, he became the president of Brentanos and finally he started his own business, Museum Quality Services.  She was proceeded in death by her father, Alfred Schutz, in 1959; her mother, Ilse Schutz, in 1991; and her brother, George Schutz, in 2007; and her beloved dog Dash, in 2018. She is survived by her niece Claudia Anne Schutz Gahagan, nephew Robert Andrew Gahagan, and grand-niece, Ruby Ann Gahagan, all of Woodstock, New York.

Evelyn created the Alfred Schutz Family Collection, which contains the papers of the family of Alfred Schutz and which consists mostly of the family correspondence between her father Alfred and her mother Ilse. She contributed these papers to the Leo Baeck Institute, the Center for Jewish History, in 2012. In addition, she, along with Lester Embree, Hisashi Nasu, and Jochen Dreher in 2011, developed in Philadelphia the idea of establishing The International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Social Science, and its inaugural meeting was held in 2012 at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Evelyn supported and struggled to maintain the Alfred Schutz Memorial Lecture, which was sponsored by the American Philosophical Association, the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, the Society for Phenomenology in the Human Sciences, and bequests from the Schutz family and friends. Fifteen lectures were delivered in this series from 1995-2011. Evelyn supported the three conferences held in 1999 to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Alfred Schutz: at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, on March 26-28; at the University of Konstanz in Konstanz, Germany, on May 26-29; and the annual Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences at the University of Oregon on October 5-7, 1999. She sent her personal greetings to those at the Tokyo Conference, attended the Oregon conference, and she, as well as Claudia Schutz, the granddaughter of Alfred and Ilse Schutz, and the daughter of their son George, attended the conference in Konstanz.  The papers presented at these conferences appeared in the book Explorations of the Life-World, edited by Martin Endress, George Psathas, and Hisashi Nasu and published by Springer in 2005. She delivered an opening lecture “Alfred Schutz and His Everyday Life: Commemorative Address” at the conference entitled “Alfred Schutz and his Intellectual Partners,” held April 3-6 at Waseda University and sponsored by the Alfred Schutz Archive at Waseda University, Waseda University, and the Commemorative Organization for the Japan World Exposition. Evelyn’s essay and many of the papers presented at that conference appears in the book Alfred Schutz and his Intellectual Partners, edited by Hisashi Nasu, Lester Embree, George Psathas, and Ilja Srubar, and published by the UVK Press in Konstanz in 2009.

Many scholars in the area of Schutz scholarship have anecdotes that exemplify Evelyn’s devotion to her father and his scholarly legacy and that prompt their deep gratitude to her. She gave access in New York to her father family papers to scholars interested in investigating her father’s biography, even welcomed such visiting investigators to her apartment in New York where the papers were kept, and supplied copies of correspondence when requested. One colleague was invited to visit her, “whenever he was able to come to New York,” and when he came, she invited him to a lovely dinner at an exquisite restaurant. She was, as one colleague described her, a “warm and witty woman,” who was always very encouraging, fostered the translation of her father’s work in many languages, and promoted its wide dissemination. She fully supported the Konstanz and Waseda archives and the Alfred Schütz Werkausgabe. One professor sums up the feelings of many engaged in the study and application of the work of Alfred Schutz, “We will miss her.”

In Memory of Peter L. Berger (1929-2017)

The International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Social Science mourns the death of Peter L. Berger who died on June 27th at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts. He studied with Alfred Schutz at the New  School for Social Research in the 1950s and became one of the internationally most renowned sociologists in the second half of the 20th century. Berger was the author of a series of influential publications, most significantly of The Social Construction of Reality, which he co-wrote together with Thomas Luckmann. The Executive Committee of the Alfred Schutz Circle expresses its condolences to Dr. Berger's relatives and colleagues.



Obituary Peter L. Berger, New York Times

Obituary Peter L. Berger, Boston University

Interview with Peter L. Berger on „The Social Construction of Reality“

In Memory of Lester Embree (1938-2017)

After months of struggle with a spinal injury and complications, Lester Embree, Ph.D., passed away on January 19, 2017. He was Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University and received his Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in 1972. He did his postdoctoral work with Aron Gurwitsch and had taken classes with Dorion Cairns. He was instrumental in setting up the archives for the papers and files of, among others, Alfred Schutz, Aron Gurwitsch, and Dorion Cairns. He was a prolific scholar, having published 5 book-length investigations, 94 book chapters, 89 interpretive essays, 46 edited books, and 31 edited works of other authors. Many of his works have been published in several languages. He also gave 200 presentations in various conferences and academic settings. He served on the boards of 35 phenomenological societies and belonged to 20 philosophical societies. One of his great services was to foster the growth of phenomenological organizations worldwide, and he was frequently involved in the beginnings of such organizations, such as the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, the Organization of Phenomenological Organizations, the Husserl Circle, the Círculo LatinoAmericano de Fenomenologíathe Central and European Conference in Phenomenology, the Nordic Society for Phenomenology, Phenomenology for the East Asia Circle, Réseau Euro-Méditerranéen de phénoménologie pour le dialogue interculturel, the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences, and the International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Social Science. He was instrumental in establishing two book series, Contributions to Phenomenology (Springer Press) and the Series in Continental Thought (Ohio State University Press). 

He was a great entrepreneur for phenomenology, always imagining and realizing new phenomenological projects and setting up new organizations. His service to phenomenology included encouraging the practice of phenomenological method, fostering multidisciplinary engagement, mentoring a generation of younger phenomenology scholars, and helping the tradition of phenomenology to flourish across cultures. In the many scholarly conferences he attended, he could be counted on to provide regular illuminating comments based on the views of authoritative phenomenologists, particularly those of the New School; to offer encouraging compliments and insightful criticisms; and to occasionally indulge in instances of corny humor. With Lester's death, phenomenology has lost one of its great animating spirits.

Michael Barber 

In Memory of Thomas Luckmann (1927-2016)

We commemorate Thomas Luckmann who passed away on May 10, 2016 at the age of 88. Thomas Luckmann (born at the 14th of October, 1927 in Jesenice/Slowenia) studied Philosophy, German Literature, Romance Philology and Psychology at the Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck and the New School for Social Research, where he studied with Alfred Schutz. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology in the year of 1956, and from 1960-65 he taught at the New School. When in 1965 he was offered a professorship at the University of Frankfurt, he returned to Europe. In 1970 he transferred to the University of Konstanz where he worked as a professor in Sociology until his retirement in 1994.

Thomas Luckmann is one of the most significant representatives of German after-war Sociology and already during his lifetime has been considered one of classical thinkers of the sociological discipline. His major publications are The Social Construction of Reality (1966) together with Peter L. Berger, establishing a new sociology of knowledge; The Invisible Religion (1967), which refounded the sociology of religion, and the standard work The Structures of the Life-World (1975/1984), initiated by his teacher Alfred Schutz and completed by Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality is one of the most influential publications of the sociological discipline; the American Sociological Association considers it to be one of the ten most important books in Sociology and it was translated into thirteen different languages.

With the death of Thomas Luckmann, we lose an outstanding and exceptional thinker of the human sciences and one of its finest persons.

Jochen Dreher