Book Bag

Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013


By Peter I. Rose

Levellers Press

Retired Smith College sociology professor Peter Rose goes for a bit of alliteration in the title of this memoir, published by Levellers Press of Amherst, with the key words being “peripatetic” and “postmonitions.” The first seems an apt choice to describe Rose’s travel and work in many other countries — Great Britain, Australia, Japan, Thailand, to name a few — while the second is his own invention.

As he writes, “If premonitions are things ... that we anticipate, I think of postmonitions as those ideas, acts and events that we look back upon. They are at once both cognitive and effective — not just visualized memories but matters we can still feel.”

Rose, who grew up in upstate New York, arrived at Smith College in 1960. Being one of a small or even tiny number of Jews in some of the communities where he lived, he notes, probably sparked his initial interest in a career as a sociologist: “For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by ethnic differences and cultural expressions of common human needs, wants, and fears.”

The author and editor of several books, as well as of travel journalism, Rose, 80, describes his overall experience as “a lucky journey,” most of which he’s made with his wife, Hedy. He also frames his experiences within the major events of the time, from the civil rights movement and Vietnam War of the 1960s to the terror attacks of September 2001.

While this book focuses more on his travel and work as an academic, researcher and consultant, Rose, who retired from Smith in the early 2000s, weaves in extracts from many of his past writings to put the new book in perspective.

And he says there’s more exploration to come. Commenting on a trip he and Hedy took last year to southeastern Europe as part of an academic seminar and then private travel, he writes of his plan to return to Turkey: “And we will [return], for though we move a bit more slowly these days, we intend to keep traveling and keep learning about different cultures and the characters who support them.”

Peter Rose will read from his book on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Browsing Room of Neilson Library at Smith College.


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