Paul Abramson

Paul AbramsonPaul R. Abramson, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Michigan State University, died in his sleep on February 12, 2018. Born in St. Louis, MO on November 28, 1937, Paul graduated from Washington University in St. Louis as a part of Phi Beta Kappa. He then attended the University of California at Berkeley from 1959 to 1960 as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He served as a lieutenant in the US Army from 1960 to 1962 and was promoted to captain in the US Army Reserves in 1966 shortly before being honorably discharged.

Paul joined the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University in 1967, was promoted to associate professor in 1971 and to professor in 1977. Paul spent his entire career at Michigan State University, although he spent time as a senior Fulbright Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1987 to 1988 and a Lady Davis Fellow from October 1994 through January 1995. While at the Hebrew University he became a close friend of Abraham Diskin and they subsequently coauthored four journal articles.

Paul authored Generational Change in American Politics (1975), The Political Socialization of Black Americans (1977), Political Attitudes in America (1983), Politics in the Bible (2012), and David's Politics (2016). He also coauthored Value Change in Global Perspective (1995) with Ronald Inglehart and a series of 18 books on US presidential and congressional elections, the most recent of which was Change and Continuity in the 2012 and 2014 Elections coauthored with John H. Aldrich, Brad T. Gomez, and David W. Rohde.

In addition to these books, Paul authored five encyclopedia entries and authored or coauthored six book chapters. He also authored or coauthored 73 journal articles, 13 of which are in the American Political Science Review. Four of these APSR articles were single authored, three were coauthored with Ronald Inglehart, and three were coauthored with me. In addition, Paul published a widely cited article on the decline of electoral participation with Aldrich as well as an article on strategic voting in the 1988 presidential primaries with Aldrich, Phil Paolino, and Rohde. Finally, he published an APSR article on turnout with Barbara A. Anderson and Brian D. Silver.

These APSR coauthors worked with Paul on other articles as well. For example, he coauthored two articles in the American Journal of Political Science with Inglehart and one in the Journal of Politics. They also contributed articles to Comparative Political Studies and, in addition, they coauthored one book chapter. He coauthored an article with Ostrom in the Public Opinion Quarterly and one in the Presidential Studies Quarterly. Along with Aldrich, he published two chapters in the Elections in Israel series edited by Asher Arian and Michal Shamir. And along with Aldrich and Rohde he contributed to The Oxford Handbook of American Elections edited by Jan E. Leighley, Abramson, Aldrich, and Rohde. Abramson also coauthored an article with Paolino in the Political Science Quarterly and the Political Research Quarterly. Abramson, Aldrich, and Rohde also contributed an article to The Forum. Along with Anderson and Silver he coauthored three articles in the Public Opinion Quarterly and one in the American Journal of Political Science. His most frequent coauthors were Inglehart, Aldrich, and Rohde. In addition to his APSR coauthors, he coauthored five JOP articles with William Claggett as well as one article in the Political Research Quarterly. Two of his coauthors predeceased him: Cleo H. Cherryholmes (Teaching Political Science) and Ada W. Finifter (AJPS and POQ).

Paul's publication record can easily be summarized, but many aspects of his personality are intangible. I recall that when John Aldrich was an assistant professor he mentioned that he had made an offer to buy a house in East Lansing, MI. Paul said that was a bad idea since owning a house meant home and yard maintenance. He estimated that this would cost half an article a year. John ignored Paul's advice and later went on to purchase houses in East Lansing, Minneapolis, and Durham, NC. Paul later wrote a widely read but little cited article evaluating the potential of scientific remote viewing as a research method (AJPS April 1997). Paul cared a great deal about his teaching. In his West European Politics course, he used tapes to play the national anthems of Britain, France, and Germany. Later he would play scenes from movies in which these anthems were sung (The Bridge on the River Kwai, La Grande Illusion, Casablanca, and Europa, Europa).

Paul loved fine food and wine. On our first trip to Paris in 1999, my wife Candy and I arrived on the same flight as Paul and his wife Janet. We shared two meals with them. One was at the Chez Maître Paul which has since closed. The other was at the Benoit which was and remains a one-star restaurant. Paul and Candy both had the cassoulet and we shared a bottle and a magnum of Bordeaux. On their trips to France, Paul and Janet would try to dine at three-star restaurants. One year they took the Train à Grande Vitesse to Lyon to dine at the Paul Bocuse.

Paul is survived by Janet, his wife of 51 years, by his daughter Heather Krasna, his son-in-law Stuart Krasna, and his granddaughter Elizabeth Maybelle Krasna. He was predeceased by his son Lee who was diagnosed with ALS in February 2005 and who died on January 20, 2016. Donations in Paul's memory should be sent to the Rabbi Morton and Aviva Hoffman Tzdekah Fund, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, 1924 Coolidge Road, East Lansing, MI 48823,, or to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, www., 300 Technology Square, Suite 400, Cambridge, MA 02139. —Charles Ostrom, Michigan State University