March 25, 2010

When Leigh and Geof gave their job talk last fall, many of us became very excited because we knew that if they came to Pitt they would change our lives. Their hip and innovative scholarship was to be admired and when we found out they had been hired, we could not wait to take classes with them. This semester, doctoral students at different points in their scholarly careers enrolled in Leigh’s Seminar in Research Methods, and most, if not all, of us were looking forward to her Grounded Theory course in the Fall. Her insight and passion for scholarship; the stories of Anselm Strauss, Howard Becker and the Chicago School of Sociology; the ethical and moral implications of standards; boundary objects and boundary infrastructure; affordances and constraints; Science and Technology Studies meets Library and Information Science—she was grounding us and challenging us every Monday afternoon. Leigh was interested in helping each of us find our voices and our communities, and teaching us to tell those stories in the most honest way that was possible. Our discussions with her always felt safe, they were never trite and she will be deeply missed, but not forgotten.

In All About Love: New Visions, bell hooks notes how we can fall prey to the notion that the end of the body corresponds to the death of the spirit. She calls on us to embrace the spirit beyond the body “…through rituals of remembering, through ceremonies we invoke the spirit presence of our dead, and through ordinary rituals in everyday life where we keep the spirit of those we have lost close. Sometimes we invoke the dead by allowing wisdom they have shared to guide our present actions. Or we invoke through reenacting one of their habits of being. And the grief that may never leave us even as we do not allow it to overwhelm us is also a way to give homage to our dead, to hold them (202-203).”

We set up this site to invoke Leigh’s spirit during this difficult time.

~Leigh’s doctoral students