About This Page
I wish I had time to do research on so many topics and specific issues. But like any individual, I simply don’t have the time or energy!
But why let all those vistas disappear? Shouldn’t there be a strong continuity between one generation of researchers and the next?
What follows is an on-going, regularly updated list of research ideas for graduate students and budding scholars. If you’re looking for “dissertation ideas” or topics for peer-review articles, this might be of some use. Some of them may very well have been published on – and some of these I may even take up myself in years to come; some are half-baked. I make no presumptions that any are original, workable, or that I will or will not commit to publishing on them. (But hey, if you end up publishing on one of these, giving credit to their original source would be appreciated.)
Research Ideas (Humanities and Social Sciences)
- “The Law of Diminishing Returns Applied to Neoclassical Models.” (April, 2021)
- To what extent has protestant theology truly enabled or energized colonialism, if at all, in contrast to Catholic orthodoxies?
- Why “economic efficiency” is not value-neutral but socially-constructed and from the perspective of the privileged. (Ie, slavery is “more efficient” than paid labor, but no economic textbook ever makes this observation precisely because efficiency and S/D models and the neoclassical orthodoxy does not engage in “normative economics.” This is another case in the myth of ethical neutrality in neoclassicalism, but on a more fundamental level, I think, than ordinarily observed.” (April, 2021)
- On the origin and meaning of the metaphor “God is not the author of evil” in the history of Protestant theology. (Do people realize it’s a metaphor, and how metaphors work within this context? Usually not, from what I can tell. Why did it enter the reformed confessions when reformed thinkers argued precisely that God is the author of evil according to its metaphorical sense?)
- A neoclassical case against neoclassical neoliberalism: marginal analysis as a rational argument against social inequities, or, why we should convince the super wealthy why their “rational” pursuits will make them more depressed (Neoclassical neoliberal economics presumes that capital allocation is efficient and effective in free market capitalism, but increasing inequities demonstrate, as many have observed in the last quarter century of economic and social studies, that those who need resources the most do not obtain them while at the same time those who do not need resources consume them; people still starve and barely get by while others buy a second Bentley. Tons has been written on this. But this unfortunate state of affairs can be subjected to critique by the same economic orthodoxy that enshrines marginal analysis: marginal utility is always severely diminished for the rich. $1000 to the poor will do more for their social improvement and well being than another billion will do for the rich. Why then, are defenses of such capital misallocation and massive inequities taken up most frequently by those obsessed with marginal analysis and such economics in the utilitarian tradition?)
- Is Jesus part of a second-temple “anarchist” tradition? Is calling Jesus an “anarchist” really anachronistic, or not, given the primary sources and movements we know about in the period?
- Why is contemporary organizational theory as taught in business schools not a primary site of exploration or stateless governance? If it was, how would this transform the field of political philosophy?
- Thesis: Lactantius was the engineer and architect of western theology, not Augustine.
- The relationship between Abraham Kuyper’s misogyny and racism and his reformed theology: is it really an inconsistent relationship?
- How state-run accreditation processes is a mirror image of and perpetuation of colonialism.
- How modern higher education institutions are organized and run in precisely the manners and according to the ideologies that they reject: profit-seeking, dehumanizing to employees (faculty), hierarchical, imperialist, and patriarchal. Special attention toward adjunct armies as the expendable labor class, reduced to units of labor production.
- How scared of lightning and thunder were ancient peoples in comparison to today? In many historiographies of modernism and works of modern history, a stark contrast is made between the fears of death, disease, and natural disasters in the ancient world to the experience of people today, who have no such fears, and this was a defining shift in collective consciousness. But I wonder what role such storms had to play in religious imagination, theology, etc., just as volcanoes played a crucial role in the formation of ideas about underworld and eventually “hell,” and in particular, wonder about what shifts occurred to make thunder and lightning no scary anymore (if that can even be said).
- There needs to be a short history or study examining progressive thought leaders’ positions or ambivalence towards central banking and the financial sector. For example, African American figures from Angela Davis to Corey Henry can be found critiquing “inflation” in a dissent to capitalist dominance. But that is often not the case. Why not? Why have some socialist and anti-racist activists missed the boat regarding financial monopolies – sometimes even saying they are negligible (Richard Wolf) – while others make it a central point of contention in the struggle for social justice and decentralized power?
- To what extent are retirement packages effective means to maintaining the supply of clergy in the SBC and other denominations? And, how important do these economic variables play when compared to others, such as doctrinal conformity?