Howard Stein is an extraordinary, unique, and special person, not only because of his outstanding intellectual and academic work but also due to his personal qualities. In addition to being extremely intelligent, gifted, and knowledgeable about so many aspects of human life, he also has “emotional intelligence” that enables him to understand his fellow human beings, which makes him so special to read, talk to, and correspond with. His extensive list of publications, including articles, books, edited books, and book chapters is awesome.

Human life and endeavor have infinite aspects and expressions that, in the humanities and social sciences, are compartmentalized into disciplines. There are separate departments of history, psychology, political science, sociology, anthropology, etc.

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But no single discipline can understand and explain the totality of human life and behavior. Did the painter Salvador Dalí intend to satirize this artificial division in his painting “The Anthropomorphic Cabinet” (1936) in which a set of drawers come out of the body of a female figure? Or was he trying to say that each one of us is made up of secret emotional “drawers” that could only be understood by studying the unconscious mind?

Howard already understood as a young man that while academic disciplines attempt to study each aspect of human behavior separately, human beings live and act in ways that defy this separation. The only true way to study and to understand them is therefore interdisciplinary. He concludes that the most extensive discipline that studies human beings and can usefully be applied to all the others is psychoanalysis.

Dr. Stein’s academic work was classified as anthropology or psycho-anthropology, but in fact, it covers wide-ranging psychoanalytic studies of history, social behavior, politics, bureaucracy, geography, organizations, the workplace, and many others. There are two dozen books by Howard in the Library of Congress catalog alone. Then there are his books of poetry, which nicely complement his scholarly work. Amazon lists 40 books written or edited by him.

Howard and I live thousands of miles apart, he in Oklahoma, I in Israel. But the scholarly world is global. I first read Howard’s work in the early 1980s when I became active in the International Society of Political Psychology and was writing and publishing articles, and later books, applying psychoanalytic insight to the various fields of human life and endeavor: history, politics, geography literature, music, and biography. Naturally, I read Howard’s work on these subjects with great interest. Our scholarly paths crossed in the field of psychogeography, the unconscious aspects of cities, countries, rivers, borders, oceans. In 1987, Howard published Developmental Time, Cultural Space: Studies in Psychogeography, a landmark book in this field. He and I became acquainted, exchanging ideas, thoughts, and feelings. We were both colleagues and friends, and we were kindred souls.

In 1989, Howard included three of my studies as chapters in another landmark book he edited with William G. Niederland, Maps from the Mind: Readings in Psychogeography (1989). That year I visited the United States where I had attended graduate school in the 1960s, and I made sure to visit Howard and his wife in

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Oklahoma. He made an indelible impression on me, a man who had written and published so much, an outstanding scholar in many fields, yet without an iota of arrogance or self-importance. His dignity and his wisdom were as great as his humility, and his extensive knowledge of so many different aspects of human behavior was very impressive. Now, in our old age, I value Howard even more than I did when we were younger. He has richly deserved this tribute.

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Authors:

Avner Falk

Avner Falk, PhD, is a prolific Israeli psychohistorian and psychologist whose books include numerous psychobiographical studies on Moshe Dayan, Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion, and Napoleon Bonaparte as well as A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews (1996) and Anti-Semitism: A History and Psychoanalysis of Contemporary Hatred (2008). He has also written on Barack Obama, Donald Trump, terrorism, and the Crusades. He can be contacted at groucho43@outlook.com.

How to Cite This:

Falk, A. (2022). A personal tribute to Howard Stein. In D. R. Beisel, P. H. Elovitz, & N. D’Andria (Eds.), Howard Stein Festschrift. Clio’s Psyche, 28(3), 296-298.

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