The “Big Idea” History Syllabus

Whereas 99.9% of the past is forever lost to direct analysis, the past and everything that has ever happened anywhere (history) is different from the study of what has happened (History). Historians aim to assemble and examine stories about the past and Homo sapiens, a past full of complexity and simplicity, a past that showsContinue reading “The “Big Idea” History Syllabus”

“Samsara” (2011) and the Choreography of Life

Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson’s Samsara (2011) is a documentary that chronicles what I would like to term the “choreography of life.” Unlike virtually all other documentaries, there are no spoken words, no traditional narration. But, the “music” track is beautiful. (Some of the track, such as the Islamic Prayers “sounds” like music but isn’t, technically orContinue reading ““Samsara” (2011) and the Choreography of Life”

When the truth (and democracy) doesn’t matter but we pretend it does

As a society, we frequently pretend we care about honesty and freedom. We frequently pretend we care about other people. But, when we recognize tangible evidence, we can easily see what actually matters. During the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing with Jeff Sessions, I was captivated by three overwhelming things. First, the chair and voice chair each had 10 minutes.Continue reading “When the truth (and democracy) doesn’t matter but we pretend it does”

5 Comments about Benedict Anderson’s Notion of the “Imagined Community.”

While Benedict Anderson’s theory is important and interesting, it has limitations. For some limited background information on what we mean by “imagined community,” you can look at past blogs I have written here. Wikipedia also provides a good overview here of the book where he describes his theory.  1. What power does the “imagined community” haveContinue reading “5 Comments about Benedict Anderson’s Notion of the “Imagined Community.””

An Open Letter to the 47th President of the United States

Dear Forty-seventh President of the United States,  We don’t know who you will be, or even if you’ll ever come to be at this point. Trumpism is causing such division, is perpetuating such hatred toward minorities, and is turning a blind eye to so many laws and traditions that there is no guarantee that theContinue reading “An Open Letter to the 47th President of the United States”

Confirmation Bias, Privilege, and Prayer (or, How Prayer and Discrimination Can Be Connected)

Recently, I read a powerful essay where the author, a Person of Color, describes their childhood and explains that “God always answered the prayers of White children but never answered our prayers.”  This statement has been on my mind off and on since I read it. As I prepare to teach my Theology and Civil Rights class inContinue reading “Confirmation Bias, Privilege, and Prayer (or, How Prayer and Discrimination Can Be Connected)”

Culture, Culture, and Culture – Things On My Mind Series, #6

The Brady Bunch contributes to the erasure of women of Color. According to the overwhelming majority of historical evidence, in real life situations, “Alice” (Ann B. Davis) would have been Black or, given its setting in California, Mexican, Chinese, or Japanese. Alice effectively erases important issues of sex, race, and class and the related intersectionalities andContinue reading “Culture, Culture, and Culture – Things On My Mind Series, #6”

Tumors, Nerves, and Surprises of Surgery

It was Wednesday, March 11, 2009. To my shock and horror, I gradually realized that I was effectively paralyzed from my legs down. With vivid memories of surgery #2, I wondered what would be next. I was unable to do anything on my own for days and days after the surgery (surgery #3 of 5, asContinue reading “Tumors, Nerves, and Surprises of Surgery”