UC Berkeley News


Raymond Kent

27 August 2008

Raymond Kent, a professor emeritus of African history whose distinguished career at Berkeley spanned more than two decades, died on Aug. 13 of congestive heart failure at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland. He was 79.

Throughout his career, Kentís books, articles, field work, and public lectures dealt primarily with the turbulent and complex history of the peoples and cultures of the island of Madagascar and their struggle for independence, according to colleagues.

His major publications include From Madagascar to the Malagasy Republic (1962); Early Kingdoms in Madagascar, 1500-1700 (1970); the 1977 monograph Madagascar, the Comoros and Mascarene Islands, 1500-1800, and his last published work, The Many Faces of an Anti-Colonial Revolt: Madagascarís Long Journey Into 1947 (2007).

Friends and colleagues said that Kent, who was born in Belgrade two years before that city became the capital of a united Yugoslavia, worked tirelessly and knowledgeably in the defense of the Serbian people during the disintegration of Yugoslavia and its aftermath.

Kent received his bachelorís and masterís degrees in government from Columbia University in 1958 and 1960 respectively, and his doctorate in history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1967. He was a Ford Foundation fellow from 1962-64. Kent, who joined the Berkeley faculty in 1966 and retired in 1991, is survived by his wife, Estelle.

A requiem mass will be held Sept. 7 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, 1700 School St., Moraga. A reception will follow.

Campus colleagues will gather to commemorate Kentís life on Sept. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Womenís Faculty Club.

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