Blog question #5

Much of our conversation in class today was about religious toleration, which is, after all, mainly what Locke's letter is about. But is Locke's argument applicable to other kinds of controversies? Specifically, think about members of the Flat Earth Society, who tend not to get hired in university Geography departments, or in any state government's map-making division. Should Locke's notion of tolerance be extended to members of the Flat Earth Society? Why, or why not?


blog question #4

Up to #4 already!

Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter 15: "Let us leave to one side, then, all discussions of imaginary rules and talk about practical realities." What does he mean by this? Do you agree with him?


Blog question #3

To ponder as you scheme and strategize your next move in Diplomatic Risk: what, in your view, is the most unrealistic element of this game? Is it a problem that it is unrealistic?


weekly reflection #1

Because my World Politics is posting a reflective post each week on their group blogs, I thought I'd post one here weekly as well.

It was a good week.

This was the first opening of a Fall semester since 2011 that I haven't been a full-time academic administrator. It was the first opening of a Fall semester since 2006 (!) that I wasn't at least a part-time academic administrator. So it's been a good many years since my only professional responsibilities at the beginning of the Fall semester were to my own classes and the students in them, plus the usual "here's this piece of writing that is due so I’d better work on finishing that" and "here's this manuscript I am supposed to review, better get on that too." (And not having the typical administrative run of fires to fight and trouble to shoot, this time around I was actually able to finish a writing commitment and review a couple of book proposals — yeah, there's still an outstanding article review or two, but those will happen shortly...)

Three specific things I got to do:

1) I actually had time to talk to colleagues about substantive issues this week. Scholarship, teaching, the stuff we as academics are supposed to be focused and focusing on...the stuff that, quite frankly, I was unable to be available for many unplanned conversations about over the past decade, and even when those conversations were planned, they were crammed into  the space between admin work.

2) I got to sit in on a colleague's class and contribute to the conversation, and will do so in another colleague’s class next week. That would have been basically impossible with the admin workload I was shouldering the last few years. Especially at the beginning of the semester, when the sh*tstorms get pretty intense.

3) The classroom the most amazing place around and it's a privilege to be able to spend time there, helping to shape the space in a way that encourages learning. My World Politics class discussed history and memory as they related to the slave trade and its legacies in the present — clearly an "international" issue insofar as notions of foreignness and inclusion/exclusion are inseparable from any robust account of international affairs. And we do ourselves a great disservice by not acknowledging that present-day "domestic" race relations have their roots in colonial dominion and cross-border trafficking. My research methodology class discussed causal and interpretive research styles, part one of a conversation we'll continue next week by mixing in philosophy of science concerns.

I had forgotten, I think, how much I missed being a "regular" academic. It's good to be able to remember.