Saturday, October 03, 2015
Unlike in the US my students here in Africa are thouroughly aware of the crimes of the Stalin regime. It takes up a big portion of my Aspects of World History, 1914-1945 class I teach every fall semester. Once you actually explain things like the Holodomor to students they are perfectly capable of understanding that the Stalin regime reached a level of evil that had few contenders.
eliminating 184 courses including core courses in such subjects as Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. SOAS used to be the premier university for the study of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in the English speaking world. It has been losing that edge for a long time because of the deliberate stupidity of its administration. But, this latest act is akin to institutional suicide. There was a reason SOAS was founded in 1916 and that mission will be extremely difficult to fulfil if these course cuts go through. What will be left will be a shell of what used to be one of the greatest small universities in the world.
Friday, October 02, 2015
J. Otto Pohl, Eric J. Schmaltz, & Ronald J. Vossler (2009) "In our hearts we felt the sentence of death": ethnic German recollections of mass violence in the USSR, 1928-1948, Journal of Genocide Research, 11:2 323-354.
J. Otto Pohl (2009) Volk auf dem Weg: Transnational migration of the Russian-Germans from 1763 to the present day, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 9:2 267-286
J. Otto Pohl (2012) Soviet apartheid: Stalin's ethnic deportations, special settlement restrictions, and the labor army: The case of the ethnic Germans in the USSR, Human Rights Review, 13:2 205-224
J. Otto Pohl (2013) Hewers of wood and drawers of water: The Russian-Germans in the labour army, The Eurasian Studies Society Journal, 2:1
J. Otto Pohl (2014) Colonialism in one country: The deported peoples in the USSR as an example of internal colonialism, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, 5:7
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
On 7 September 2015 Craig Tanber, a member of a white supremacist prison gang who had recently been released after serving six years for an earlier homicide, murdered Shayan Mazroei outside Patsy's Irish Pub in Laguna Niguel, California. Mazroei was an engineering student at Saddleback College in nearby Mission Viejo. It is quite clear from the evidence of eyewitnesses that Craig Tanber and his girlfriend Elizabeth Thornburg who assisted Tanber in escaping the scene of the crime are guilty of a hate crime. They clearly state that the perpetrators hurled racial insults at the victim before killing him. Yet, the Orange County District Attorney refuses to press hate crimes charges against Tanber or to charge Thornburg with being an accessory to the crime. Indeed she has not yet even been arrested. It is beyond my comprehension why these two individuals who were guilty of killing another man six years ago were not in prison on the night of Mazroei's murder. OC used to be run by law and order conservatives that were tough on crime.
I never met Shayan Mazroei, but this story has a personal connection to me by virute of geography. I used to drink and eat quite frequently at Patsy's Irish Pub where he was murdered. I am also familiar with Saddleback College where he was a student. I took Spanish and a library course there. At one time I worked there. It is amazing to me that one can murder multiple people in Orange County and still not be permanently removed from society. Currently they are not even talking about life for Tanber who has now killed two people. In the old days when conservatives ran OC the DA would be seeking the death penalty for scum like Tanber. But, those days are over and the current DA's office in Orange County is proving itself to be extremely weak on punishing Tanber and his girlfriend despite the fact that they are recividist violent criminals. Not only does Shayan Mazroei and his family deserve better, but the people of Orange County deserve better.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Unfortunately, very few people showed up to our panel on ethnic Germans in Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and Siberia. We had a total of seven, but some came late and other left early. So there were only three audience members there for the whole panel. Out of those three attendees one was a colleague of mine here in Legon, one was a Canadian post-graduate students doing a PhD in London, and one was a South African scholar specializing in Sinkiang. I don't know if the Canadian woman was paying attention or not since she was completely silent throughout the entire question and answer and discussion period. That left my colleague and the South African. Which meant in terms of reaching a new audience that had not previously been exposed to the topic we can only verify a total of one South African anthropologist. Of course one person is infinitely more and better than zero, but I expected a larger audience.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Tomorrow is the Africa-Asia: A New Axis of Knowledge conference here at the University of Ghana. While large Asian countries such as China, Japan, and India are well represented, Central Asia is not. Other than my panel which includes my paper dealing with Kyrgyzstan and another one dealing with Kazakhstan there is only one other paper at the conference dealing with Central Asia. This is symptomatic of the declining scholarly interest in the region internationally in recent years.