Diane Symbaluk, Professor
Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Science
Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, Fyodor
I have benefited from varied exposure to myriad of written, spoken, and sound mediums – their authors, producers, and composers alike with the power to invoke emotions, memories, reflections, lessons, curiosity, escape, understanding, confusion, cultural relativism, motivation, action, and especially growth. While most works resonate for only a moment, stage in life, or particular event, one required reading in an undergraduate course more than 30 years ago still holds meaning for me today. Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment is a profound novel about self-estrangement. The main character Raskolnikov’s self-absorption and ongoing struggle to transcend morality through the commission of murder teaches us valuable lessons about the perils of utilitarianism, a lack of self-awareness, and alienation from both oneself and society as a whole. Dostoyevsky’s portrayals of alienation and the eventual path to reintegration stirred intellectual curiosity in me as I embraced the discipline of sociology, specializing in social psychology and criminology.
Year of Recognition: 2019