Legacy of Rigor, Inclusion, and Support: Jon Rieger, 1936-2020
As most members of our global scholarly community already know, we recently lost a cherished colleague: Jon Rieger. According to the obituary published in the Louisville Courier-Journal Jon died of natural causes at home on July 16th.
Since Jon’s passing, many thousands of us have been mourning his loss individually and collectively. We have spoken and written to each other about Jon’s unique way of seeing the world, his sterling character, his rigorous and inventive scholarship, and of course, his seemingly boundless generosity. He always showed exceptional interest in the work of his peers, and especially the work of junior colleagues. The IVSA is hosting a “Jon Rieger Tribute” page on our website. Through an interactive form on this page, anyone who knew and was influenced by Jon will be able to submit a written reflection, with or without accompanying images.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the IVSA, I can say that we will miss Jon dearly and vow to keep his legacy alive in every way we know how.
- Greg Scott, President International Visual Sociology Association
Jon Rieger was critically important in helping establish the IVSA and the journal that became Visual Studies. He could be direct and challenging in discussions, yet he listened as well as he spoke. As a statistically trained sociologist, he took comfort in numbers, yet he loved the image—its mystery, irreducibility, and aesthetics. He was selfless, and happiest when the collective effort to which he contributed moved ahead, and his organizational skills provided the foundation for the IVSA to develop into what it is today.
- Doug Harper, August 2020
More than a few visual sociologists are one-of-a-kind, but Jon Rieger was more one-of-a-kind than most. He was passionate about empirical (observation based) studies and about sociology as a way of thinking and trying to understand the world. He also championed photography as a valuable tool for both rigorous sociological research and documentary studies. But Jon’s passions were open-hearted and welcoming, and his inclusive embrace was offered without pretence.
- Jon Wagner, August 2020
Below is a collection of Jon Rieger’s influential articles published in Visual Studies which we have made free to access:
Photo credit: Ricabeth Steiger
|Article Title||Volume & Issue||Year|
|Photographing social change||11 (1)||1996|
|A retrospective visual study of social change: the pulp-logging industry in an Upper Peninsula Michigan county||18 (2)||2003|
|Visual sociology: A practical pedagogy||6 (1)||1991|
|Howard Becker's summer workshop in visual sociology: A personal view||1 (1)||1986|