The dangers of hubris

I’m currently at an academic conference, the sort of event I once adored and increasingly find to be somewhere in the neighborhood of insufferable. To understand why, I share this sentiment expressed by a researcher on a panel I just left, sporting an unattractive scowl: “Sad to say, I’m increasingly convinced that the American public …

When you want to help, but cannot

Color me frustrated. And, then, color me mortified that I’m about to make a deep, dark, fraught issue all about me. For much of the last 18 months, I’ve felt tugged toward work with refugees. This tug began when I read my first book about Syria 18 months ago, and it has grown in strength …

What my students taught me this week

At a political science conference last January, another professor and I started talking about civic education and civic engagement among our students. This is something I’ve read about a bit, but it’s not something I’ve honestly made all that much of an effort to incorporate into my classes before. I’d trace the lack of effort …

In defense of speech

Across my Facebook feed came a meme (which I won’t repost here) suggesting that the only reason we haven’t outlawed Nazis and Nazi rhetoric in the United States is because we celebrate their beliefs. This line of thinking really unsettled me. Not because I celebrate Nazis or their ilk. Not because I support white supremacists …

Synchronicity & current events

The human brain is a magnificent thing. No matter what you’re currently mulling over in your free time, there’s a good chance that it will pop up in other areas of your life in unexpected ways. And so yesterday, when I was furiously trying to finish my latest book, A Very Expensive Poison: The Assassination of …