Autumn 2023 Update

Surviving the trauma of the American experience and (simultaneously as witness to) the final solution to the Palestinian problem (another western genocide against indigenous peoples. Europe and the US has 500 years of experience, but aren’t used to having it live-streamed). Israel has dropped over 2 nuclear bombs worth of explosives on the world’s largest concentration camp and is currently killing more children per 24/hours than Auschwitz–all in the name of “self defense” and “terrorism.” I have too much to say on this subject since I was raised evangelical Zionist, have close friends from the West Bank, studied the subject since college and visited the remarkably unholy holy lands in 2013. But that’s for another time. For now, here’s me and my signs:

I attended a fascinating conference in Bangkok Thailand in September (DARE, or “Discernment and Radical Engagement” Global Forum) and presented a paper that is now a finished a chapter for an edited volume to be published next year (probably by SCM Press). It’s entitled “Cooperatives and Decolonization: Exploring a Key Source of Economic Stability, Solidarity, and Survival.” The conference was basically a bunch of liberation theologians from around the world; it generally had a good spirit and I met some interesting people. I was presenting for a “decolonial” section headed by Joerg Rieger.

The Economic History Association published two of my reviews:

Review of Rowan Dorin, No Return: Jews, Christian Usurers, and the Spread of Mass Expulsion in Medieval Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2023) for EH.NET (October 26, 2023).

Review of Lorenzo Veracini, Colonialism: A Global History (London: Routledge, 2023) for EH.NET (October 20, 2023).

This second one was really great. If you want a short and accessible one-volume history of colonialism, there it is. Otherwise, do read Empires and Colonies in the Modern World by Street-Salter and Getz supplemented by Ortiz-Dunbar’s Indigenous People’s History of the United States and Katz’ Gangsters of Capitalism.

I submitted one of three encyclopedia articles for the Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems. I won’t finish the second two until the first has been approved; it’s complicated because these projects were supposed to be for something else (a 7 volume encyclopedia) that got canceled and the editor didn’t let me know, so publication is uncertain until, well, it actually happens.

Same for Religion and Cooperatives, a book that I’m 40% finished writing. Waiting for a contract. I am sooo done writing stuff that never sees the light of day because I’m jerked around by publishers and editors. No more, I’ve said. I’m not spending 3 years of my life working on a manuscript that gets tossed away. What a waste of time. So my pen is on the floor until an agreement is made, and its going to stay that way until the good Lawd takes me home.

My title was upgraded at LCC International University to “Affiliate Research Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Economics,” which is cool, and will hopefully help in getting book projects in front of publishers and lead to more job opportunities, wherever they are. After losing my post in 2018 for my pubs and political drama, I applied for two years and then gave up after about 40 submissions; there are about 200 applications for every full-time teaching post in academia right now, and I know from being a Dean and talking to others and to university presidents why I’m not entirely hireable in the fields I want to be even if I had a chance. But after next year, that will hopefully change and I’ll start applying again for something full-time, if that’s my predestiny.

I started going to therapy months ago and also read a couple book by the Linzeys on animal theology (and am now a vegetarian) and have taken up an interest in animal ethics; all of this has been really good, but also difficult. Honestly, animal ethics was the hardest chapter I taught last semester when teaching intro to Ethics–partly for personal reasons (witnessing lots of animal violence and partaking in it on the farm, and feeling no small shame now in my 30s and approaching the grave at light-speed), but also because we live in such a grotesque and barbaric world that far exceeds what I experienced on a small farm; factory farms (which do exist) are doing things to animals today that I never imagined, at a scale that is genuinely incomprehensible, and it is entirely human-created. All people have a significant responsibility to end sentient suffering of all kinds, especially those that are entirely needless. In other words, we have created many hells, and we have to end all of them and do what we can to prevent them from ever occurring. That requires integrity and some risk, and also effort. Buy chickens, beef, and eggs local (at a coop, for example) at the very least. Eat less dead animal flesh. Don’t buy products tested on animals. Accumulating changes in consumer demand can make a difference, even if a constitutional amendment is what we really need.

I made some new friends in the last year but also lost some new friends (in one case, it was cut off in the most ice-cold fashion than any other relationship I’ve had, and I still don’t quite understand what happened; I don’t know whether I should feel bitter, sad, angry, relieved…). Friends are becoming more precious and scarce, and I value friends alot, so that changes life in various ways.

I begin tiling my third custom shower job in the next few weeks, followed by another kitchen remodel and wood floor refinish. It’s for a duplex we own down the street. I’m also working as a carpenter 3 days a week, which doesn’t help with time, but funds this low financial spot at the moment, and I’m also learning some new stuff. It’s difficult because of my chronic hand pain from the injury in 2020 during Covid lockdowns, but I’ve found a recipe that keeps the inflammation down: ice + ibprofin + voltaren gel + compression gloves.

Even still, healthcare would be great. I’ve looked up ways to move to Ireland. If we somehow invest 500k in their economy, like buying a house, we could get residency status and sit there and work for 4 years until citizenship. We don’t want to live in a colonial country and military empire anymore. But, we could also move to Michigan or Minnesota or Washington or Colorado, something without the ridiculously annoying culture (…and lack of culture) of South Dakota. But, still no healthcare/insurance for either of us. At least the overlords didn’t turn our water off, block of all medical trucks, food, and ambulances like Gaza, I guess?

I mean, I really couldn’t live in Britain for that reason–and because I could not bring myself to live in a country with a King. The whole idea is so repulsive to me I just, I couldn’t do it. For ethical and moral reasons, and also because I couldn’t live with myself. (Did you know the British killed 50 million people in India in just a 40 year period? So civilized and respectable of them, giving those barbarians what they deserve I suppose–for national security, “self-defense,” and what not). If it’s possible not to support an evil empire, it would be great not to.

Shosta and Zoay, our dogs, are getting old, but doing good. Will we get a cat next? I don’t know. The sheer number of objects that could befall…

And now I’m a graduate student again, taking MBA courses at U of People. They’re entirely free for me because I’m faculty, so, why not continue the journey?

Enjoy this video. I have it running downstairs as I work, almost every day.