Robert Hine, a former UCR history professor, passed away on March 27 at the age of 90. The professor gained fame from his research on California’s utopian communities and his memoir “Second Sight,” which detailed his struggles with blindness.
Hine retired from UCR in 1990 after teaching for 36 years in the history department. During his time on campus, Hine published his most famous academic work, “California’s Utopian Colonies,” in 1973, two years after being declared legally blind.
Hine’s research on utopian colonies, which he defined as communities attempting to establish a new ideal social pattern, focused on studying their impact on California and their reactions to contemporary cultural and political issues. Californian communities that were studied in this research included Fountain Grove near Santa Rosa and Point Loma in San Diego.
Irwin Wall, a professor emeritus of history, recalled the professor’s classroom presentations as ahead of their time. “He pioneered in the construction of multi-media presentations … using the technology then available, multiple slide machines, accompanying sound track, recorded commentary and music … When the PC era came they were easily adapted and polished with the new technology and programs like Power Point,” Wall stated in a press release.