Alain Marsot, BLitt Politics 1961

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Alain G. Marsot after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease in Los Angeles.

Born in Saigon to French parents, Alain first studied law in Paris, receiving his French law degree (BCL) and passing the bar in 1961. He went on to study political science, receiving his doctorate from Paris University, followed by a B. Litt in political science at Oxford University, where he met his future wife, professor and historian Afaf AlSayyid Marsot. He taught at various universities around the world, including Dijon University and the American University in Cairo, before joining CSULB in 1968, where he taught until retiring in 2002. His field of specialization was Comparative Politics, specifically Southeast Asia, as well as Government and Future Studies. His publications included: “The Chinese Community in Vietnam under the French” (1993), “Political Islam in Asia: A Case Study” (1992), “The Crucial Year: Indochina 1946” (1984), and “Southeast Asia under the New Balance of Power” (1974), edited by Sudershan Chawla, Melvin Gurtov, and Alain G. Marsot.

Alain was an elegant, old-fashioned, old-school gentleman who lectured in three-piece suits, often with French cuffs and a watch fob. While his appearance surprised many of his students, it belied his commitment to left-wing causes, specifically a woman’s right to choose, civil rights, climate change, the rule of law, and animal rights. He was a man of ideas, of refined tastes, of incisive criticism, and humor. He loved teaching and inspiring his students.

He supported the Vietnamese community, advocating for Vietnamese prisoners not to be sent to China, where they might be tortured. He loved classical music, Asian art, French poetry, cars, cats, and Bordeaux wines, and was always delighted to share his knowledge with his large circle of friends.

This Goethe quotation was taped to the bookshelf that housed his massive stereo and music collection:

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful, which God has implanted in the human soul.

Condolences and/or memories may be sent to Afaf, Vanina, and Vanessa Marsot at

The obituary was written by his daughter, Vanina Marsot.