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Finding Aid for the Charles R. Nixon papers, 1940-1995
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The materials in this collection document the professional role of Charles R. Nixon, a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at UCLA, as a scholar of political theory, African politics, and American Politics. The bulk of the collection consists of articles, correspondence, clippings, data, notes, research materials, and miscellaneous printed matter.
Charles R. Nixon was born in Rochester, New York, the son of a Presbyterian minister. Nixon pursued his Ph.D. in political theory and philosophy at Cornell University under the direction of Professors George Sabine/Philosophy and Robert Cushman/Political Science. Nixon began his teaching career in Political Science at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts from 1944-1947. He later joined the faculty of the Political Science Department at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1947. Nixon's intellectual interests evolved throughout his professional tenure at UCLA. From 1947 to 1953 Nixon directed his teaching and research to topics of political theory and the American political process. The articles Nixon wrote during this period and political campaigns in which he participated reflect these dual, yet overlapping interests. As an Associate Professor in 1954, Nixon received a one-year appointment at the University of Natal in Durban, Union of South Africa. Financed by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, Professor Nixon assisted in the formation of a program in advanced training in social science research. Nixon's desire to teach and live in South Africa was spurred by a belief that experiencing a non-Western culture was necessary to sharpen his "fundamental knowledge of the underlying premises and thought patterns of Western society." Nixon's immersion in the tumultuous racial politics of apartheid South Africa became the topic of his seminal publication "The Conflict of Nationalisms in South Africa," and marked the beginning of his lifetime interest in African politics. Upon returning home from South Africa, Nixon redirected the nature of his previously philosophical research toward a more empirical approach (1955-1959). Drawing upon his previous experience as a campaign worker, Nixon joined Professor Dwayne Marvick in a study of the political behavior of active campaign workers in Los Angeles. This study of political behavior examined the personal background, social context, and motivational actors related to active participation in political campaigns. Nixon also infused empirical methods into his teaching during this period by incorporating survey research methods into the class "Public Opinion and Propaganda" and addressing the relationship between empirical and theoretical concepts in his course "Nature of Political Inquiry." From 1959 to 1969, Nixon conducted several field research trips to Nigeria, Rhodesia, and Nyasaland. For two years, 1959-1961, he was member of an M.I.T sponsored research team examining the relationship between economic development and political change. Nixon explored this research question by investigating political value trends among Nigerian government expenditures. Nixon gathered copious quantitative data on his project; returning to Nigeria on three occasions 1963, 1966, & 1969 to further update his data on government expenditures. In 1962, Nixon served as Visiting Lecturer at the University of Rhodesia, Salisbury, organizing their curriculum in political philosophy. In 1972, Nixon was appointed Chair of the UCLA Political Science Department. While Chair of the Department Nixon was responsible for recruiting several notable faculty members in addition to improving departmental policies and resources. He resigned his chairmanship in 1976 in order to pursue his research project on "Power and Responsibility." This project explored philosophic controversies about human responsibility, human action, and causality. Prof. Nixon believed these concepts were critical to "our understanding of some broader problems of political and social theory." He continued to work on this project after his retirement in 1995.
110 cartons (55 linear feet)
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.