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Cakmak, Irby, Keaney, Miner, Obeyesekere, Peebles transfer to emeritus status

Six faculty members transferred to emeritus status in 1999-2000: Ahmet Cakmak, James Irby, John Keaney, Earl Miner, Gananath Obeyesekere and P. James Peebles.


Ahmet Cakmak (Photo by Arthur Saylor)


Cakmak, professor of operations research and financial engineering, came to Princeton as a graduate student in 1957 after receiving an undergraduate degree in civil engineering in his native Turkey. He received his PhD in 1962 from what was then called the Department of Civil and Geological Engineering and became a lecturer there. Named assistant professor the next year, he was promoted to associate and full professor in 1969 and 1972.

As a theoretician, Cakmak has made contributions to the mechanics of dissipative media, analytic methods in structural dynamics, transient flows of liquids through inhomogeneous media, seismic wave scattering and earthquake engineering.

He has published 120 papers, edited 18 volumes and coauthored two books, including Computational and Applied Mathematics for Engineering Analysis (1987). From 1982 to 1995, he was editor of the International Journal of Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering.

As a teacher, Cakmak was instru-mental in shifting the department's educational emphasis from engin-eering practice to engineering science. In 1994 he received the Engineering Council's Excellence in Teaching Award.

He complemented his research and teaching with study of the Church of Hagia Sophia in Turkey and with Byzantine history and architecture. He contributed to efforts to protect Hagia Sophia and other ancient land-marks from earthquake damage and incorporated studies of the church and Byzantine architecture into freshman seminars. As emeritus he plans to finish a book on Byzantine architecture, to be published by the Cambridge University Press.

James Irby (Photo by Denise Applewhite)


Latin Americanist

Irby, professor of Romance languages and literatures, specializes in modern Latin American literature, particularly fiction and the lyric since 1880. At Princeton he has taught Spanish and Portuguese language, Spanish American literature, Brazilian literature and comparative modern fiction.

Irby came to Princeton in 1959 as an instructor, and became assistant professor in 1962, associate professor in 1967 and full professor in 1977. When he arrived, Irby says, he created and taught the first Latin American literature courses ever to be given at Princeton on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. A founding member of the Program in Latin American Studies, he was its director from 1978 to 1981. He has also been a visiting professor at the Colegio de Mexico; University of California, Berkeley; and Bryn Mawr College.

Irby earned his 1952 BA at the University of Kansas, 1957 master's degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and 1962 PhD in Spanish at the University of Michigan.

Coeditor and translator of Jorge Luis Borges' Labyrinths: Stories and Other Writings (1964, 1970 and 1983), he has published articles on Borges, Onetti, Cortazar, Lezama Lima and other Latin American writers and served on the editorial boards of Revista Ibero-americana, Nueva Revista de Filología Hispanica and Dispositio.

As emeritus, he says, "I'll go on studying my favorite poets (Cesar Vallejo, Gabriela Mistral, Jose Lezama Lima) and helping raise my two younger children, Thomas and Mariana."


John Keaney (Photo by Denise Applewhite)


Keaney, a generalist within the field of classics, has taught or taught in 40 courses, he says, mostly undergraduate Greek language and literature. In addition to courses on Plato, Aristotle, Homer and Greek drama, he has taught Latin language and literature, and a course in Wit, Slander and Invective in Latin Literature.

A member of the Princeton faculty since 1959, he was promoted from instructor to assistant professor in 1963 and associate professor in 1970, and was named professor of classics in 1975. He was Scribner Bicentennial Preceptor from 1967 to 1970.

Keaney is author of The Composition of Aristotle's Athenaion Politeia: Obser-vation and Explanation (1992) and The Lexeis of Harpocration (1991, 1992). Editor of (Plutarch) De Homero: Essay on the Life and Poetry of Homer (trans. R. Lamberton, 1996), he coedited Homer's Ancient Readers (with R. Lamberton, 1992) and The Greek Prothetic Vowel (with W.F. Wyatt, 1972).

Keaney has served the University as a member of several committees, including the Library, Italian Studies and Humanistic Studies, and as a member of the Prospect Board, as well as being director of graduate studies for his department.

A 1953 graduate of Boston College, he received his 1959 PhD from Harvard University.

In retirement he plans to continue some work on Byzantine manuscripts in the Vatican Library. This project, he is happy to say, necessitates "trips to Rome at least once a year."

Earl Miner (Photo by Denise Applewhite)



Miner, who is Townsend Martin, Class of 1917, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, specializes in early modern English literature, classical Japanese literature and comparative poetics. During his career, he says, his particular interests have included "participating with like-minded people in showing how the literature of our past accords with present experience, making Japanese literature matter to Westerners, and establishing the study of comparative poetics."

Miner was educated at the University of Minnesota, where he first studied Japanese in the US Army between 1944 to 1946. He earned his 1949 BA there in Japanese studies, and his 1951 MA and 1955 PhD in English.

He was an instructor in English at Williams College for two years before going to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was a member of the faculty from 1955 to 1972. He came to Princeton as professor of English and was named inaugural Townsend Martin Professor two years later.

Among Miner's many publications are numerous books, including Comparative Poetics (1990), Japanese Court Poetry (with R.H. Brower, 1961), Japanese Linked Poetry (1979), The Restoration Mode from Milton to Dryden (1974), The Cavalier Mode from Jonson to Cotton (1971) and The Metaphysical Mode from Donne to Cowley (1969).

President of the Milton Society of America, the American Society for 18th Century Studies and the Inter-national Comparative Literature Association, he was honored with Princeton's Behrman Award for distinguished achievement in the humanities in 1993. In 1994 he received the Order of the Rising Sun from the government of Japan in recognition of his "special commit-ment" to Japanese literature.

As emeritus professor, Miner says he will continue working on a new edition of Milton's Paradise Lost. "It's taken me 10 years so far," he says, "and will probably take me two more."


Gananath Obeyesekere (Photo by Denise Applewhite)


Obeyesekere joined the Princeton faculty as professor of anthropology in 1980 and has twice chaired his department. At Princeton, he has taught many courses, including Buddhism and Society, and Freud and Anthropology (focusing this semester on Freudian narratives).

A 1955 graduate of the University of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), he earned his 1964 PhD at the University of Washington. Lecturer at Sri Lanka from 1958 to 1966, he became assistant professor at Washington in 1966 and associate professor in 1967. After returning to Sri Lanka as professor in 1968, he was visiting professor at the University of California, San Diego in 1970-71 and then professor from 1972 to 1980.

A fellow of the Royal Anthropolog-ical Institute and the American Anthropological Association, Obeyesekere is also a member of the Association of Asian Studies and on the editorial boards of Anthropology and Medicine and the Encyclopedia of Indian Religion.

He is author of nearly a hundred articles and reviews, most recently "Cannibal Feasts in Nineteenth-Century Fiji: Seamen's Yarns and the Ethnographic Imagination," in Cannibalism and the Colonial World (ed. Barker et al., 1998). His books include The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific (1993, 1998), which won awards from the American Society for 18th-Century Studies and the Association of American Publishers, and The Work of Culture: Symbolic Transformation in Psychoanalysis and Anthropology (1990).

Obeyesekere is currently working on a book to be called "Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist and Greek Rebirth." As emeritus, he plans to continue an ongoing field project that he describes as "a large scale project in the remoter regions of Sri Lanka, studying the manner in which hunting groups influenced Buddhist practices."

P. James Peebles (Photo by Robert P. Matthews)



Peebles, Albert Einstein Professor of Science, is a theo-retical cosmologist who has played a central role in the understanding of the evolution and struc-ture of the universe. His studies of the evolution of matter in the earliest moments of the universe were critical in the establishment of the Big Bang theory as a widely accepted model. Among many other contributions, he cofounded the concept of an energy field that has since been dubbed quintessence.

Peebles came to Princeton as a graduate student in 1958, received his PhD in 1962 and spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow before joining the Physics Department faculty. He received tenure in 1968, just 10 years after the start of his graduate studies. In 1984 he was named to the Einstein Professorship.

In addition to many influential papers, Peebles has published four books, Physical Cosmology (1971), Large-scale Structure of the Universe (1980), Quantum Mechanics (1992) and Principles of Physical Cosmology (1993).

Among many prizes and six honorary degrees, he received the Eddington Medal and Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Heineman Prize and Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society, the Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the Lemaitre Award of the Université Catholique de Louvain.

Peebles is known among students for the clarity of his explanations. After his last lecture, in a gesture that Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics David Wilkinson described as "summarizing his many contribu-tions to physics and to Princeton," a student left a hand-lettered sign on his office door, saying "Jim Peebles Rocks."