Henry Srebrnik, [Charlottetown, PEI] Guardian
Professor Barry Bartmann, who was my friend and colleague in the Political Science Department at UPEI, passed away Aug. 21. He would have turned 74 this September.
Barry was an undergraduate at Waterloo Lutheran (now Wilfrid Laurier) University and obtained his MA and PhD in political science at the University of Western Ontario and the London School of Economics.
Barry travelled widely – he’s the only person I know who went through both Checkpoint Charlie between east and west Berlin during the Cold war, and the Mandelbaum Gate in the then divided city of Jerusalem, between Israel and Jordan, before 1967.
But he especially loved the small, often overlooked and overshadowed, countries of the world.
Of very few academics can it be said that they almost single-handedly created a new field in their discipline, but it was true of Barry. After he arrived at UPEI in 1987, he was instrumental in developing Island Studies, the examination of small island jurisdictions such as Barbados, Fiji, Mauritius, and many others. He helped organize the Island Studies minor at UPEI (1999), and the Master of Arts in Island Studies (2003).
His passion for Island Studies came through in his work; his international scholarship was highly regarded. He provided specialist advice to various North Atlantic jurisdictions, including Constitutional Committees and Governments of the Aland Islands, the Faroes, and Iceland.
Barry was a recognized authority on the international relations of small (or micro) states, those very small countries usually ignored by most scholars in comparative politics and international relations, places such as Andorra, Lichtenstein, and San Marino.
As well, Barry analyzed the role of non-recognized states – among many, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Somaliland, Transnistria, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus -- in the international community, and he co-edited the book De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty. He helped organize, and he delivered papers, at many international conferences on these fields.
Unlike many in the social sciences, Barry was also an excellent writer, and his articles were a joy to read. UPEI, and the wider academic community, has indeed lost an erudite scholar – as well as a wonderful cook!
It should also be noted that Barry was a dedicated and outstanding teacher. His many students always held him in very high regard and enjoyed immensely his vast knowledge of the subject matter he taught – and it was a very wide range, indeed. They will miss him.