Fall 2022 Update

Things went from sort of busy to super busy over this summer: publication proposals that got accepted, remodeling a duplex, traveling overseas, and some unexpected field work in my home state with scholars from Italy who are living in town for a few months.

First of all, I’ll be teaching Ethics and Christian Worldview at LCC International University as a Visiting Professor from January to March (an 8 week intensive). I wanted to teach economics and business for various reasons (mostly because I’m trying to turn my focus in those areas and get out of the theology and even religious studies space long-term), but they needed these courses taught soon for students who needed to graduate. Whatever the case, I’m delighted to be back in the classroom with a uniquely diverse and bright student demographic, and hopefully make friends with new colleagues, but it will be a bit crowded (with Ukrainian war refugees), not to mention cold and dark (less than 8 hours of daylight), and I will miss my home. (It will be the longest I’ve been away since my 7 week trip to Ecuador back in 2007).

Putting together the content to these classes (particularly the Worldview course) has been complicated because (a) my views have changed so much over the past five years, (b) I’m finding a surprising lack of appropriate textbooks and having to produce a lot of the material myself, (c) I’m feeling the distance between my own experience and that of Gen Z. The battles of the 20th century just aren’t the kind of concerns that a lot of students have today. (I’m getting OLD!) I’ll be posting some of my powerpoint lectures here in the future in any case, once they’re done. The Ethics course is more straightforward and I’ve have chosen those texts, and look forward to getting into some practical philosophy. I may also be guest-lecturing a bit in microeconomics.

Second of all, I’ll be seeing some of you at AAR/SBL come this weekend. Jessica and I will be vacationing a little bit in Boulder Thursday-Saturday. I won’t be presenting at this one, but will be seeing a couple friends, and also my brother I think, who lives downtown.

Third, other than putting together this original course, my biggest academic struggle has been this book on cooperative economics and religion. I originally wanted to do a fairly large volume on capitalism, christianity and cooperatives. But it got so large that the series editor suggested two volumes and other revisions, and I knew I was off the mark. I just became too fascinated by economic history, and how it doesn’t really live up to our eurocentric stereotypes. So, for the second time, I’ve re-wrote the first several chapters (which are required for the proposal). It’s discouraging also because I don’t have the proposal finished because the third chapter (required immediately) is always turning out to be the most original and difficult. In any case, I have a good start on it now, despite being mashed and rehashed and remashed…Changing the title to just “Religion and Cooperative Economics” has helped me narrow my vision a bit as well. It will hopefully be published by Palgrave MacMillan (the Religion and Power series).

Speaking of cooperative economics, I’m also working on co-editing The Routledge Handbook to Cooperative Economics. It’s been a somewhat bumpy ride so far with four other editors, but it’s shaping up quickly and we hope to have the proposal sent by next month. It will be an important work and an interesting one, especially as alternatives to neoliberal capitalism become more and more crucial for the…well, the survival of our species. Not to mention the flourishing of our communities, which aren’t doing so well right now with increasing inflation and inequality, resurgences of fascism, etc.

Bummed Kristi Noem is still governor and the weed bill failed to pass. It eventually will, of course. These are just temporary stupidities enacted by scared, powerful people afraid of plants. Also in local news: 100,000 people will be moving to the Rapid City area in the next 3 years. The size of the region will double. I’m…a little scared. But it better bring some better restaurants.

We’ve had a good time getting to know a couple scholars from Italy associated with Columbia University, doing post-doctoral studies in the area on environmentalism, women in indigenous communities, and decolonialism. They’ve been living in one of our spaces and renting our car for travels, and our conversations and time over tea has been a wonderful addition to our darkening fall. I will miss them when they move on sometime soon, but will hopefully stay connected and also follow their scholarship. I may also co-contribute to an article if I can find enough people to interview in the area, but that’s proving difficult given rural networks of trust, etc. Perhaps more details to follow.

In the meantime, I’ve published several reviews, including the following:

Review of Richard von Glahn and Debin Ma (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of China, vol 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022) for EH.NET (2023).

Review of Troy Vettese  and Drew Pendergrass, Half-Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Future from Extinction, Climate Change, and Pandemics (London: Verso, 2022) for Reviews in Religion and Theology (2022): 299-301.

Review of Aviva Chomsky, Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration (Boston: Beacon Press, 2021) for EH.NET.

Review of Carolyn Eichner, The Paris Commune: A Brief History (Camden: Rutgers University Press, 2022) for Capital & Class (2022).

Review of Gerald Horne, The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery,, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2020) in Faith and Economics 79 (Spring 2022): 92-97.

Review of The Oxford Handbook to Feminist Interpretations of the Hebrew Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021) for Reviews in Religion and Theology (2022): 179-181.

Review of Philip Turner, Christian Socialism: The Promise of an Almost Forgotten Tradition (Eugene: Cascade, 2021), for Reviews in Religion and Theology (2022): 198-201.

Review of Anthony Pinn (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Humanism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021), for Reviews in Religion and Theology (2022): 281-283.

Review of Anthea Butler, White Evangelical Racism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2021) for The Toronto Journal of Theology 38:1 (2022).

Review of Diane Coyle, Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021) for Capital & Class 46:2 (2022): 314-17.

Review of The Oxford Handbook to The Abrahamic Religions, ed. Adam J. Silverstein, Guy Strousma, and Moshe Blidstein (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018) for Reading Religion (June 1, 2022).

Others are soon to appear, including an article entitled “Christianity and Critical Theory.”

I also look forward to writing the following encyclopedia articles next year:

“‘The West is the Best’?: How Eurocentrism Continues to Mask the Western Origins of Economic Inequality,” in Mapping Inequality: Volume 1: Theories and Concepts, ed. Rajendra Baikady (Berlin: Springer Nature). Forthcoming.

“The Critical Role of Cooperative Economics in Reducing Economic Inequality,” in Mapping Inequality: Volume 2: Collaboration, Partnership, and Advocacy-Reduced Inequality, ed. Rajendra Baikady (Berlin: Springer Nature). Forthcoming.

“Neoliberal Justifications of Economic Inequality,” in Mapping Inequality: Volume 1: Theories and Concepts, ed. Rajendra Baikady (Berlin: Springer Nature). Forthcoming.

I’ve also had to privilege of playing jazz with some amazing musicians in the area. Check it out here.