Sunday, September 28, 2008


Next semester I will be teaching a course on genocide. The current emphasis on "intent" or even worse "specific intent" in both international law and scholarship on genocide seems to me to be misplaced. Instead, I think the consequences of state policies are far more important. Whether Stalin intended to kill off a portion of the deported nationalities by his actions is really not important. Rather, what is important is the fact that his regime deliberately deported entire nationalities to barren wastelands and as a result large numbers of them perished. The inevitable consequences of this action differed only from shooting or gassing a fifth of the deported peoples in only one real sense. Those that died in the special settlements from exposure, malnutrition, typhus, malaria and other diseases had much more agonizing deaths than direct execution would have entailed. Yet, revisionists like Stephen G. Wheatcroft and others claim that these deaths caused by Stalin were not only not genocide, but not even murder, but merely manslaughter. Of course they would never claim that Jews that died of typhus in ghettos and concentration camps under the Nazis were not victims of genocide, but merely of manslaughter. Because that would be Holocaust denial.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two for Two

I have now graded two assignments for two different classes. In both classes I have found one case of blatant word for word plagiarism from internet sites. I do not know why students do not think I am serious when I tell them I will fail them if I catch them plagiarizing.

Accordion Player Sighted Again

Today I saw the Russian accordion player again for the first time in many months. I was on my way to pay my electric bill and I saw him across the street from where I last saw him. He did not look as well as he did the last time I saw him. I hope he is not seriously ill. I gave him 10 som and continued on my way.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We have coffee now

The university recently acquired a coffee bar. I purchased a mocha from there on my birthday. It was OK, but at 60 som quite expensive.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Recent Happenings

I am pretty swamped with teaching right now. But, the next couple of weeks will be easier. In my Politics of the Middle East class the other professor will be lecturing during the next two weeks instead of me. In my Politics of Nationalism, Ethnicity and Race course the students will be giving oral reports instead of me lecturing. Unfortunately, this week has been less productive than I hoped due to becoming infected with some sort of flu virus. So I will be using the spare time in the next two weeks to catch up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The War On Plagiarism Continues

The very first paper I graded this semester contained a massive amount of blatant word for word plagiarism. The entire first page consisted of two long paragraphs copied verbatim from an Internet site without any attribution. I am failing the student for the course and recommending to my department chairman that he be expelled from the program. I hope that this action has a deterrent effect upon other students.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The problem with course reading packets

I am still pretty busy. I still have students registering for classes. By now they have missed the first three weeks of class. Getting extra reading material photocopied for these students is becoming a major hassle. It seems that no matter how many readers I get made there are still students in my classes that did not get one. In the future I am going to only assign journal articles available on JSTOR and other databases for which the university has a subscription. I did this for one class this semester and it has saved me a lot of grief.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Buried in Work

Between teaching, writing and other work related projects I have been very busy recently. I should have a slightly lighter load in October when some of the writing and other projects are finished. Until then I do not have a lot of free time.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Classes Taught this Semester

This semester I am teaching five courses. I have listed them below. You should be able to find syllabi for all of them in the archives.

American Society


Ethnicity, Race and Nationalism

Political Culture

Politics of the Middle East

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Food Prices Increase and the Dollar Drops

Inflation is galloping along here in Bishkek. I have noticed a sharp increase in food prices recently. The price of a Bii Burger has jumped from 55 som to 60 som in the last week. Meanwhile wages remain frozen. To make matters worse the value of the dollar has dropped. It is now hovering permanently below 35 som. When I first came here a little over a year ago it was 38 som to the dollar.