What is a nation? It's complicated...

December 2022

Note: I struggled to title this essay, and a shoutout to my friend Alex Brussell for giving me the answer (but see my endnote for an alt title). I have…
Here's the best of what I read in 2022. New feature klaxon: I’m picking a Book of the Year! It is Mazower’s Dark Continent. Mazower’s devastating review…

October 2022

My learning journey at Stanford continued over the summer with an intense course on “the archive”, a highly fetishized subject in the humanities. The…

July 2022

I’ve realized over time that this blog, while implicitly autobiographical, has a small set of essays that are explicitly so. I’ve decided to make this a…
Last week I put out an announcement about a new role I am taking on at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. I thought I’d write a few more…

June 2022

I’ve been using my blog to chronicle, in an episodic way, a learning journey I have been on at Stanford. The adventure continues! *** The second year of…
Some years ago, a picaresque academic named David Graeber wrote an extremely depressing book called “Bullshit Jobs”. His primary target was a range of…

April 2022

There is a great song that captures some of what I want to talk about here: Ray Charles singing “It should have been me”. Uncle Ray was always a few…

March 2022

Did life in your great Utopia really get so boring you needed a war? — Iain M. Banks, Consider Phlebas Recently I wrote about how some of the best…

February 2022

In life — work, home, relationships of all kinds — there are people who “brung ya to the dance.” Sometimes we forget them, and this is a mistake. It is…

January 2022

I’ve always embraced the fact that I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. Indeed I believe that some of the best writing of the last three decades…