2019.02.26 Akop Nazaretyan passed away

It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we announce the passing away of prominent scholar Akop Nazaretyan.

Condolence messages

Dear All,

This is terribly sad news. I just wrote his daughter, Karina. He was a very brave man, one of the smartest and most sensitive I've known. We should do something nice and special to commemorate him. Here's a couple of old snapshots of him from that we had digitized. Karina had a baby two years ago, so Akop was a grandpa, which makes me smile.

Warm wishes, -Barry Rodrigue

This is very sad news. We each will remember him as a friend and scholar and visionary. I was so forrltunate to have known and worked with him.

Thanks for letting us know.

Lowell Gustafson

Dear Colleagues,

This is terrible news to me, so sudden as to be unbelievable. I had great respect for Akop, both for his deep thinking and writing in big history and for the mosaics of his bravery as part of the guerrilla formations. And CITTIC has yet to decide whether to translate his big book about the megatrends of decreasing violence into Chinese (which it should have!). Akop, my dearest friend in life, will be greatly missed!

Best, as always,

Sun Yue

Dear Colleagues,

This is very bad, and very sad, news indeed. I was in email correspondence with Akop just a couple of weeks ago and he was very pleased to hear that the Routledge Companion to Big History was just about to go into production. Was it a sudden illness Andrey, or an accident? He was in great form when we were last in Moscow in September 2017. Akop was a true gentleman and a scholar, a larger than life man who made a big impact on me with his wit and sense of humor, but also his deep thinking about mega history and human psychology. He will we sadly missed. Thank you for letting us know, Andrey. Sincerely,

Craig Benjamin

I want to echo the tributes already made by Craig and Barry to Akop, an old friend and an old fashioned Russian warrior (or "bogatyr") for big history.

David Christian

David Christian: Some memories of Akop Nazaretyan: friend and scholar

When I began teaching Big History, I was greatly encouraged whenever I learned that prominent scholars in other countries were taking up the same challenge, and thinking along the same lines. Joop Goudsblom and Fred Spier began to teach big history in Amsterdam, and in Russia, the country I had studied for many years, Akop Nazaretyan also became interested in Big History. That meant a lot to the whole Big HIstory community. Akop reminded me of Russia's rich tradition of universal history, and cosmological and geological thought, including the work of Vladimir Vernadsky on the idea of the biosphere. He argued, like Prigogine, for the importance of sustainable non-equilibrium forces in big history, and argued that human beings and the human mind were such a force. As a psychologist (a "spin doctor" he always told me, with humour and modesty!) he proposed the idea of a "techno-humanitarian balance", a psycho-historical law describing how, as humans became more powerful they also learnt, most of the time, to restrain their use of that power. This is a scientific, psychological and evolutionary idea that raises profound questions about human history and many moral issues about the evolution of human societies. It is also an idea we will need today as we suddenly realize we are so powerful we are, for better or worse, managing a planet.

I remember meeting Akop in Moscow near the Kremlin after corresponding for some years. Tall, dark, very amusing and slightly mysterious (I think he loved to think of himself as mysterious), he had a wicked and combative smile. He showed me around Moscow and we talked and talked and talked in an odd mishmash of English and Russian. These were rich, intense conversations, and they involved many disagreements and a deep agreement about the importance of Big History. It took me many years to understand fully what Akop meant by a techno-humanitarian balance, and I always pressed him on the evolutionary mechanisms involved, perhaps because I did not fully understand them myself. It was a lot of fun debating with Akop, partly because we had intense disagreements but never any animosity. And he taught me a huge amount about Russia's rich traditions of universal thought. I have lost a good friend and Big History has lost a good friend. We will remember Akop with respect and affection.

David Christian