Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Today's schedule

Yesterday, I got a rough draft of my abstract for Boston written out by hand. Today I am going to type it up, edit it and send it off. Then I am going to work some more on revising my cover letter. On the basis of peoples comments I have decided I should really target jobs that do not require much teaching experience. There are a few post-docs and research orientated positions every year. Objectively, I should have a better chance at them then at jobs wanting people to teach world history to freshmen. Unfortunately, there are only about a half dozen post-doc openings a year in my field.

Next week after I have gotten some of the stuff with deadlines out of the way I intend to return to writing Catherine's Grandchildren. It has now sat for a while and I can go over it and see where it needs to be expanded or rewritten. I also need to start sending out proposals for publishing my dissertation as a book again. I do not think I am ever going to hear from the UK publisher currently looking at it. It would be nice to get a third book on my cv.


Since my 100th post here this morning I have vowed to reorientate this blog somewhat. I am instituting a no whinging policy on myself for instance in order to differentiate myself from the pack of people with both blogs and Ph.Ds. I am also seeking to communicate more with a broader range of people. I have been informed that my post in memory of the 64th anniversary of the Volga German deportation order is being distributed via e-mail among some people of German from Russia descent in the US. I suspect that some of these people are those that generally do not look at blogs. This is a good thing.

In the near future I am of course along with 20 other bloggers going to write about cotton in Uzbekistan and the sordid political-economy this white gold supports. That will be on the 1st of September. I am also going to try and answer Chris O'Byrne's question on how I got interested in writing about deported peoples in the USSR which is one I get asked alot. I am also going to still try and do a Carnival of Diasporas on the 15th of September. I have yet to receive any nominations. I think I could do it with about half a dozen entries or so. Yes, I know this probably exceeds the number of regular readers of this blog, but you can submit multiple entries from different sources. So if you see any good posts on diasporas send them to me at pohlcat [the at symbol] rocketmail [the dot] com. Otherwise I am going to have to track them down myself.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Another day in utopia

The sun is bearing down quite fiercely now. The solar radiation has, however, forced the bugs into retreat. They only come out in force at night. There is also a small breeze to counteract the heat somewhat. No, we do not have airconditioning.

I am going to work on my abstract for Boston today. I hope to get a rough draft of it written out by this evening. I am going to delay covering the pipes for the day. It requires hauling a heavy wheelbarrow full of dirt up a rocky hill. Work I am deeming too difficult for me in this heat.

I will spend today in the most beautiful spot on Earth without any administrators, students or other people to cause me stress. It is amazing how much more work I can get done in such a relaxed atmosphere. I am now working on finishing deadlines for October, November and December. Elsewhere people are struggling with meeting deadlines for today. Of course they do not live in the Utopia of Arivaca.

100th Post

According to Blogger this is my 100th post. This blog is over a year old so it actually does not average to much. I am not sure how many people have read this blog. I do not have a site counter. But, on the basis of the comments my regular readership appears to be pretty low. On the other hand I have not had to go purge my comments of Scottish trolls and their libelous confederates recently either and that is a very good thing.

In the past 100 posts this blog has dealt extensively with academia, writing, Russian-Germans, Stalinist deportations and life in Arivaca. In the future it will probably have more posts on Central Asia, diasporas (especially German ones) and the American South West. There will also be a conscious effort also to reduce the number of complaining posts. Plenty of other blogs specialize in whining and I am beginning to find it very unattractive. That probably means fewer posts on academia since there is not much positive to say about it from my perspective. Indeed there is not much about it I really understand. It will also probably mean not too many comments about other blogs as well for the same reasons. On the other hand if you want to know about my quiet little life and strange historical interests there will be lots of posts.

Arizona Wildlife

There are a large number of insect eating creatures in Arivaca. The ranch right now has hundreds of little baby toads hopping around. There are lots of big fat geckos, skinks and othe lizards, some measuring up two feet in length. Recently, I have even started to see a number of large spiders. Yet, despite all these predators we are still overrun with bugs. All kinds of horrible insects abound. There are enough moths here to eat every wool product produced in America. We have flys, crickets, wasps, beatles (some several inches long) and lots of things I cannot identify. Eating dinner has become a challenge. You need one hand to bat away the miniture kamikazes. It seems that no matter how many insects the lizards, toads and spiders eat it barely reduces the swarms of pests. Tonight at dinner there was a spider so full that it could not even move and the insects danced over it without fear.

Afternoon's work and bad job prospects

I got a short outline done for the abstract, encyclopedia article and my new improved cover letter done this afternoon. I am finding the advice given by fellow bloggers to be very helpful in revising the cover letter. I think part of my problem is that as an outsider I don't know how American academics think. Honestly, I find their culture and way of thinking to be much more alien than any of the peoples of the Orient I study. They seem akin to certain insular ethno-confessional groups that try and keep contact with outsiders to an absolute minimum and hence remain an enigma to the larger world.

The amount of jobs available in anything that might remotely touch any of the fields I study is quite small. The new H-net listings only had two that looked possible and one of those is an extreme stretch. Ethnic Studies and Comparative Ethnic Studies looks on the basis of the name alone to fit most of my research. However, I think I do ethnicity and race different than most scholars in the US who think in very constrained terms. I suppose I will apply to the job in Ethnic Studies, but the description makes it pretty clear they mean ethnic groups in the US and not Eurasia. I figure I will apply anyways. It is probably a better match than the womens history course I once applied for because the university campus was on the beach in Virginia. People are always astounded I applied for a womans history position until I tell them about the beach part.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Morning so far

Well, I finished clearing all the kindling from the mesquite trees my uncle trimmed. It took me about an hour and it is now really hot. I am going to lay off the physical work until tommorrow morning. Then I will start covering up the exposed pipes that run along side the house with dirt from the creek bed. Now I am going work on my abstract for Boston.

Under a hot Arizona sun

Yesterday, we got the second post to the gate up. Today, I am going to clear some of the brush from the property before it dries out and becomes a fuel for a potential wild fire. I am going to try and get as much done on this before it gets too hot. Yesterday, was quite hot and today looks to be even hotter.

Later in the day I hope to get some work done revising my cover letter. I am also going to start another encyclopedia article and work on an abstract for a conference in Boston in October 2006. I should be able to get fairly coherent versions of all three done by Friday. At least that is this week's modest goal.

On Dr. Camicao's advice I am going to delete the entry with the sample cover letter. Thanks, to Miriam for providing one last detailed critique. The emphasis on teaching over publication by US universities still troubles me. There does not really seem to be any way around this obstacle. It is the classic Catch-22 clause detailed in Joseph Heller's novel.

Yesterday, I only posted the one blog entry out of respect for the Russian-German memorial day. In the near future I will not be posting so much on the various deported peoples. In the last week I had one post on the Russian-Koreans, three on the Kalmyks, one on the Chechens and one on the Russian-Germans. On the 1st I will blog on the cotton industry in Uzbekistan. The rest of the entries will be about life in Arivaca and the nuts and bolts of writing.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

"In our hearts we felt the sentence of death" Stalin's Ethnic Cleansing of the Russian-Germans

"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death." (Second Corinthians 1:8-10, NIV)

Sixty four years ago today the Soviet government publicly announced its intentions to deport the entire Russian-German population living in the Volga region, over half a million men, women and children. In a couple of months this target population had expanded to include the entire Russian-German population of the USSR. By 1942, over 850,000 Russian-Germans had been forcibly uprooted from their homes west of the Urals to exile under special settlement restrictions in Kazakhstan and Siberia. In total the Stalin regime confined more than 1.2 million Russian-Germans to these remote areas during the course of World War II. Here they formed a captive labor source to develop the agriculture, mining and forestry of these regions. Lack of proper shelter, food, winter clothing and medical care led to high rates of morbidity and mortality from malnutrition, typhus, dysentery, gangrene and tuberculosis. Around a quarter of a million Russian-Germans, a fifth of the population perished from such causes during the 1940s. Only in the mid-1950s did their conditions improve beyond the level of mere survival.

The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet finalized the Soviet decision to deport the Volga Germans on 28 August 1941. It issued Ukaz no. 21-160 "On Resettling the Germans Living in the Region of the Volga." On the basis of this decree. The NKVD systematically rounded up all ethnic Germans living in the Volga German ASSR, Stalingrad Oblast and Saratov Oblast starting on the 3rd of September. They completed the operation on the 20th. The NKVD packed an average of more than 40 Russian-Germans into each cattle car used in the deportations. The insides of these wagons had only a pail or hole to serve as a toilet. Their human cargo soon became engulfed in an overpowering stench of sweat,urine, feces and vomit. On average the trip into exile took two weeks during which many people especially children became ill with gastro-intestinal diseases, mange and measles. Those that died enroute had to be buried without marker or fanfare near the sides of the rail tracks. This modern day Middle Passage marked the start of a nightmare that lasted a decade and a half.

Upon arriving at their destinations in Kazakhstan and Siberia, local authorities assigned the deportees to various collective farms. Their new accomodations frequently lacked doors, windows and any furnishings. Many found themselves living in mud huts and sleeping on the floor. A very large number of exiles received accomodation in already occupied Kazakh or Russian houses and lived under extremely compact conditions. Epidemics spread rapidly in this environment.

Famine like conditions existed for many of the Russian-German deportees. Until integrated into the collective farms in their new locations they could only receive a small amount of grain in return for vouchers issued in exchange for stocks confiscated during the deportation. However, until 11 November 1941, many local authorities refused to honor these vouchers. Thus for the first few months of exile the Russian-Germans only had the food they brought with them or could acquire by bartering their few belongings with the local population. Desperately hungry, the deportees often swapped valuable clothes, rugs and utensils for mere scraps of food. Ethnic Russians in particular engaged in the regular cheating of Russian-German exiles in trade deals. During the first few months of exile, many Russian-Germans had access to almost no food and many perished from hunger.

In January 1942, conditions got even worse for a large number of Russian-Germans. The Stalin regime relocated large number of those deported to Siberia from grain farms in the south to fishing trusts along the shores of the arctic rivers in the north. In total more than 80,000 Russian-Germans came to work in fisheries in the arctic. They had to construct their own housing out of mud on the banks of the rivers. These dark, damp, cold and dirty structures proved incapable of keeping out the elements and greatly facilitated the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis. The Russian-Germans working for the fishing trusts received 600 grams of bread a day and worked long hours in icy cold water without protective clothing. Malnutrition, frostbite, hypothermia and drowning became all too common among these workers.

Also in January 1942, the Stalin regime began the forced mass mobilization of Russian-Germans into labor camps without charge or trial. In January and February 1942, the regime inducted nearly 68,000 Russian-German male deportees aged 17-50 to work in GULag camps devoted to felling timber and industrial construction. Soviet authorities drafted another 25,000 to work on railway construction. Almost 93,000 men found themselves condemned to forced labor in the labor army (trudarmiia) under conditions little different from common criminal convicts. Their only crime was their German heritage. The Soviet govenment conducted another labor draft of Russian-Germans starting in February 1942. This time they subjected all Russian-German men in the USSR aged 17-50 to conscription. This draft mainly inducted labor army men from the large number of Russian-Germans already living in Kazakhstan and Siberia before the deportations. It netted close to 41,000 conscripts for work in labor camps. Finally in October, the Stalin regime extended the labor army draft to men 15-16 and 51-55 and all women 16-45 except those pregnant or with children under 3. This final mass mobilization drafted almost 71,000 men and 53,000 women. In total more than 316,600 Russian-Germans served in the labor army during World War II. Over 182,000 of them served this sentence of forced labor in the same GULag camps and under the same conditions as prisoners. Despite its official liquidation in 1946, many labor army conscripts only left the camps in 1956 and 1957. Horrific living and work conditions in the labor army led to over 100,000 deaths among the Russian-Germans.

Even after the death of Stalin and the abolition of the special settlement restrictions, the Russian-Germans remained second class Soviet citizens on the basis of their biological descent. They could not live in the European areas of the Soviet Union, they had little access to German language publications and they continued to be the target of official and popular ethnic defamation. They also remained largely excluded from higher education and white collar jobs on the basis of their nationality. Attempts in the 1960s by Russian-German activists to solve these problems within a Soviet frame work failed. Hence, since the legalization of emigration from the USSR in 1987, the vast majority of Russian-Germans have left Kazakhstan and Siberia to live in Germany.

In memory of those who died

For further reading see Krasnoyarsk Memorial

A very brief history of the Chechens

This post will be much shorter than my three entries on the Kalmyks. The history of the Chechens, particularly during the last decade is much more familiar to most Anglophone readers than that of the Kalmyks. The Chechen diaspora in the US is also much more recent and smaller than the 1,000 Kalmyks that have lived in PA and NJ since the early 50s. I am also not going to deal too much with the post-Soviet period of Chechen history. This is a basic historical background post.

The Chechens are native to the North Caucasus. Their native language is closely related to that of the neighboring Ingush. Both of these languages are part of the Ibero-Caucasian family and considerably different from the nearby Turkic languages of Karachai and Balkar. The Chechens have traditionally been Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school, but have been strongly influnced by Sufi brotherhoods (Tariqas). These brotherhoods have frequently been used to organize Chechen resistance to Russian and Soviet rule.

Russian settlement of Chechen lands began in earnest in the second half of the 18th century. In 1779, Catherine II sent Prince Potemkin with an expeditionary force to subjugate the North Caucasus. Military resistance by native Muslims began in an organized fashion in 1785 under Shaykh Mansur. In 1827, Khazi Mulla declared a holy war against the Russian encroachment into the North Caucasus. This Jihad had especially strong support among the Chechens. In 1832, the Russians killed Khazi Mulla. A man named Hamzat Bek took his place in leading the Muslim resistance to the Russians in the North Caucasus. In 1834, fellow Muslims killed Hamzat Bek. The leadership of the Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus fell to one of the greatest military minds of all time, Imam Shamil. An ethnic Avar, Shamil organized Avars, Chechens and other North Caucasian Muslims into an effect guerrilla army. Under his leadership these guerrillas kept the Russian army from subduing the region for over a quarter of a century. In 1859, the Russians captured Shamil and the resistance disintegrated. By the summer of 1864, the Russians had defeated the insurgents. Chechen resistance to Russian rule flared up again in the 1930s and 1940s when it took an anti-Soviet form.

Anti-Soviet uprisings among the Chechens flared up in 1929-1930 against the collectivization agriculture. Armed resistance against Soviet officials continued until 1933. In 1938 they again turned to attacks on Communist Party officials and state property in retaliation for Chechens killed in the Great Terror. Finally, in 1939 a large scale insurgeny against Soviet rule in Chechnya flared up under the leadership of Hasan Israilov. This rebellion continued to rage until Spring 1941 before being supressed by the NKVD.Small bands of anti-Soviet Chechen guerrillas continued to operate throughout the the war. These consistent armed revolts, particularly the last one motivated the Stalin regime to implement a final solution to the Chechen problem.

Between 23-29 February 1944, the NKVD deported nearly 390,000 Chechens and over 90,000 Ingush from their homeland to special settlements in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In the process of this round up, the NKVD committed numerous massacres of the civilian population. Most notably at Khaibakh where NKVD soldiers burned to death over 700 Chechens in locked buildings. In exile they suffered incredible harships. They could not adjust to the unfamiliar climate and agriculture of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. By 1950 malnutrition, typhus and other poverty related causes had killed in excess of 125,000 Chechens and 20,000 Ingush in the special settlements. Strong agitation by the exiled Chechens to return home paid off in the years after Stalin's 1953 death. In 1957 the Soviet government allowed the Chechens and Ingush to return to the Caucasus.

The Soviet government deported the entire Chechen population to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to both prevent further uprisings and collectively punish the Chechens for their past resistance. The official justification of Nazi collaboration has no basis. The Nazis only reached the western most Ingush populated areas of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR during World War II. The only Chechens that the Germans could recruit came from POW camps. Yet, few Chechens served in German organized units compared to many nationalities not subject to deportation. The numbers are so small that German records don't have them listed. In contrast 20,000 Georgians, 18,000 Armenians, 180,000 Kazakhs and Central Asians, 250,000 Ukrainians and 310,000 Russians fought with the Germans against the USSR. The Stalin regime for some reason neglected to deport the entire Georgian and Russian populations as punishment for this collaboration.

From the 1960s to the collapse of the USSR, the Chechens increasingly became more Sovietized. Russian for instance replaced Chechen as their primary language. But, they did not forget the events of the 1940s. When the USSR fell apart the Chechens attempted to gain their independence. The memory of the deportations served as a tool for mobilizing the Chechens to fight against the Russians. Since 1991 there have officially been two wars in Chechnya. The second one is still ongoing with an estimated 100,000 Chechen fatalities out of a population of about a million. The Chechens still desire to be free of Russian rule and the Russians are still taking exterminationist measures to punish that desire.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Arivaca blogger population to grow

Today I found the blog of a man moving to Arivaca. So if any of my tales of the Garden of Eden that is Arivaca have intrigued you and you want to know more go see his blog. His name is name is Chris O'Byrne and his blog Where is Chris? is currently detailing the move and overland trip from points east to Arivaca. Having made the overland trip myself I will note that TN is wonderful, NM nice and AR and TX awful. These last two states are ugly. Crossing from Memphis TN with its nice upkept roads and well maintained rest stops to AR with its pot holed highways and filthy toilets is quite disturbing actually.

Carnival of diasporas

Since I seem to be on some sort of carnival black list, I thought maybe I could host my own. Given the small traffic of this blog it would have to be a mini-carnival. But, I think I could make it work. In my last post I mastered embedding links in the text. I now have the basic technology down. I have given some thought on the theme of such a carnival. I want it to fill an unoccupied niche that has broad appeal. I think I came up with a suitable idea. One of my interests is diaspora studies. I subscribe to a broad definition of the term. Simply put a diaspora is a group of people with a common heritage living outside their ancestral homeland who maintain a transgenerational political, cultural or symbolic connection to that homeland. The classic diasporas are the Jews, Greeks and Armenians. Other diasporas include the Irish, Poles, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Palestinians, Lebanese, Indians and Chinese. I have blogged a bit about some diasporas here already. Most notably the Germans and Koreans in the Soviet Union and the Kalmyks in the United States. So if you have a post on diasporas or saw one by somebody else you liked, send it to me at pohlcat [the at symbol] rocketmail [dot] com. I am going to set a deadline of 12 September 2005 so I can get them up by 15 September 2005. Also if anybody would like to host a future Carnival of diasporas, let me know. Feel free to spread this message around.

Some of my writing on Crimean Tatars

I have a number of academic pieces on the net. Most recently, 'And this Must be Remembered!'Stalin's Ethnic Cleansing of the Crimean Tatars and their Struggle for Rehabilitation, 1944-1985 appeared in the Spring-Summer 2004 issue of Ukrainian Quarterly, pp. 33-56. Also a timeline of recent Crimean Tatar history. Finally, The Deportation and Fate of the Crimean Tatars which was a conference paper delivered at Columbia University in 2000. If you are interested, stop by and take a look. Feel free to leave comments here.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The morning so far

Today I finished editing and sent off my encyclopedia article on the GULag. I now have three articles left to write for that project. I also helped my uncle set the first post for the gate. Now I am going to clean up the mess that asserted itself while I was writing my encyclopedia article.

Thanks for the cover letter advice

Thank you to bushpigeon, New Kid on the Hallway, Dean Dad and Artichoke Heart for their detailed and lengthy constructive criticism and advice regarding cover letters. A special thanks to Dr. Camicao for setting the whole thing up. I will definitely attempt to incorporate your suggestions.

The rest of the week

I finished typing of a draft of the encyclopedia article. I am going to edit it today and tommorrow and then send it off to the editor. My word count tallied it at exactly 1000 words. It is amazing how much information you can condense into a small space when you do not have any extra room.

I will be posting an entry on the 28th of August in rememberance of the deportation of the Russian-Germans in 1941. The 28th marks the 64th anniversary of the decree ordering the deportation of the Volga Germans from the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Saratov Oblast and Stalingrad Oblast. I have gotten a really good response from the last two deportation posts on the Russian-Koreans and the Kalmyks.

On 1st September I will be blogging about cotton in Uzbekistan. In honor of Uzbekistan's independence day a number of bloggers will be writing in favor of sanctions against the nation's cotton crop. I have written elsewhere here on the horrible conditions of cotton cultivation in Uzbekistan. The state owns the farms and pays those who work on them only a small fraction of the vast sums it earns selling cotton. They are also tied to the land as they were in Soviet times. It also regularly employs child labor on a mass scale during the fall to harvest the cotton crop. If that were not enough the regime is a repressive dictatorship with thousands of political prisoners, many the victims of torture. The poltical-economy of this regime depends upon cotton. I will have more to write on this come the first.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tasks for the day

It is already extremely hot and it is only 8:00 am. So I think work on the gate post might be limited today. I am sweating enough as it is just sitting here typing. I am pretty sure I won't be able to wield a pick long enough to complete the mushrooming of the pit in this heat.

On the other hand I am pretty sure I can finish off the encyclopedia article I am working on. I just have two little sections left to complete. Both of them should be fairly easy to write. I do not anticipate trying to track down information that is in books packed away in storage.

Eurasian blogs

This blog has recently gotten some attention as a result of its posts on Russian-Koreans (Koryo Saram) and Kalmyks. I have noticed that Nathan Hamm at Registan has added me to his blogroll. Thank you Nathan. Also Andy Young, another British citizen (they seem to be overly represented on my links), of Siberian Light linked to each of my posts on the Kalmyks. The links on Siberian Light got picked up and mentioned on a couple of other blogs. So another big thank you goes out to Andy Young. I have added links to both Registan and Siberian Light over on the left hand side.

Slow progress

Today I finished digging the hole for the gate post down to 18". But, my uncle wants it made wider at the bottom like an inverted mushroom. The fireants and heat got too thick today to do that. There is no deadline so I will continue to work on it a little each day until it is done.

I got a little more written on the encyclopedia article. I will probably finish a rough draft of it tommorrow. Fortunately, it is not due until mid-October. So I have plenty of time to complete it. It is also only 1000 words. But, I have another two 1000 word articles and one 500 one also due at the same time I have yet to start.

I heard back from the cotton conference today by e-mail. They received my paper. I also got a rejection by e-mail for a position in Central Asian history I applied for before moving to Arizona. I haven't heard in a while from the publisher in the UK that has been considering publishing my dissertation as a book for about a year now. I sent them another e-mail the other day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Forecast for the day

This morning unlike yesterday is sunny and warm. It will probably get pretty hot today. I am going to finish digging the gate post hole today. I also hope to finish a draft of the encyclopedia article on the GULag. Finally, I intend to apply for at least one job today. I might as well get rejected for the same job more than once.


Well today was not as productive as I had hoped. I had a research crises on the encyclopedia article. Anywhere else in the world I could have found what I needed in fifteen minutes. But, here in Arivaca without most of my few books it took me hours to find the information I was looking for in my notes and on the internet. So I only got a little bit written on the article. I did, however, pull up two new job applications including one I applied for last year. I am quite sure it is the exact same job. I remember it because they very promptly sent me an e-mail informing me they had received my application and then I never heard from them again. This morning it rained really hard and freaked out the dog. He kept messing up my already only semi-organized piles of papers in manila folders. But, while the writing did not progress well I did get most of the post hole dug today once the sun came out. The rain drove away most of the fire ants. The hole needs to be 18" deep. It currently measures at 14" deep. I will definitely finish that project tommorrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Kalmyk Diaspora in the US

After securing resettlement in the US in 1951, the Kalmyk diaspora engaged in an active international campaign to publicize the plight of the Kalmyks under special settlement restrictions in Siberia. None of the other nationalities deported in their entirety had an active diaspora at this time. The Kalmyks in the US used their position outside Soviet control to lobby the US government, the United Nations and a number of Asian governments to pressure the USSR to improve the status of their kinsmen. This campaign proved embarassing to the Soviet leadership which sought to curry favor with many of the same Asian governments targetted by the Kalmyks.

The Kalmyk disapora in the US created a central coordinating organization on 27 December 1953. The Kalmyk Human Rights Committee attracted the support of Norman Thomas, Walter Judd, James Mitchell, Richard Wright and Robert Conquest among other prominent figures in the US and UK. On 19 January 1953, a Kalmyk delegation met with Robert Murphy, an assistant to John Foster Dulles, from the US State Department and requested that the US pressure the Soviet government to release information on the location and conditions of the Kalmyk special settlers. On 13 December 1953, a Kalmyk delegation met with UN officials and asked that the issue of the continued confinement of the Kalmyks to special settlements be placed on the organization's agenda. Despite their small numbers the Kalmyk diaspora managed to secure sympathetic meetings with powerful figures in both the US government and United Nations.

The Kalmyks in the US also actively worked to sway governments and people abroad as well. In the Spring of 1953, a Kalmyk delegation travelled to Asia and met with the governments of Ceylon, Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan. Both the meetings in Ceylon and Pakistan were with the prime minister himself. They even participated in a small way in the historic Bandung conference of independent Asian and African states. On 18 April 1953, they arrived in Bandung, Indonesia to meet with various Asian delegations including those from Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, Burma and Japan. This intensive work by members of the Kalmyk diaspora represented one of the first international human rights campaigns against the USSR. It sought to shame the Soviet government in front of the world by pointing out the hollowness of its rhetorical opposition to racism and colonialism. In practice the Soviet government had forcibly expelled all of the Asian Kalmyks from their homeland solely on the basis of their biological descent and settled their lands with white Europeans.

66th Anniversary of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Today marks 66 years since the representatives of Stalin and Hitler carved up six European nations between them. The agreement divided Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Romania between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Stalinist terror descended soon after upon the eastern areas of Poland, the Baltic States and Moldova (Bessarabia). In good Stalinist tradition, the NKVD forcibly deported hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians from these areas to special settlements in Siberia, Kazakhstan and other remote areas. There they died by the tens of thousands. By the time Hitler betrayed his Soviet partner on 22 June 1941, the NKVD had exiled nearly 400,000 Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians and Romanians to the interior of the USSR. The perpetrator of these crimes sat in judgement at Nuremburg in the greatest act of hypocrisy in world history.

How the Kalmyks became white

A small number of Kalmyks ended up in displaced persons (DP) camps at the end of World War II. The survivors of the German sponsored Kalmyk Cavalry Corps and their families retreated west with the Wehrmacht. Other Kalmyks in Germany included Soviet POWs that managed to avoid forced repatriation. The Kalmyks in DP camps had no desire to join the fate of their kin in Siberia. Instead they organized to get admission to the US and bring international attention to their people's plight.

The Kalmyks like other Mongol nationalities have East Asian phenotypes. This marked them as being racially Asian rather than European. The immigration laws of the US and a number of other western countries (Australia's whites only immigration policy for instance) discriminated against Asians and would not allow the settlement of Kalmyk DPs. They thus had a much more difficult time leaving the DP camps for third countries than did White European refugees such as Latvians, Ukrainians and Lithuanians. The Kalmyks, however, found a clever way to get around this ban on Asian immigrants. They had themselves reclassified as Europeans on the basis of their geographical origin in contrast to their racial features.

In 1950 and 1951 a "Special Committee on Kalmyk Immigration Affairs" actively lobbied the US Congress to redesignate Kalmyks as Europeans rather than Asians and hence allow them to immigrate. The World Church Service, Tolstoy Foundation, International Help and the Unitarian Church all contributed to this effort. On 31 August 1951 their efforts paid off and Congress officially classified the Kalmyks as Europeans for immigration purposes.

A Really Short History of the Kalmyks

The Kalmyks are a Mongol Buddhist people that migrated to their current home on the north west shores of the Caspian Sea from western Mongolia in the 17th century. They practice a Lamaist form of Buddhism similar to that of Khalka Mongols, Buriats and Tibetans. Their traditional language is also related to Khalka Mongol and Buriat. They have traditionally been nomadic herdsmen devoted to raising cattle. In warfare they have been famed horsemen.

The first half of the 20th century proved quite traumatic for the Kalmyks. In 1887 they numbered over 190,000. By mid-1949 this number had been reduced to less than 78,000. The combined effects of war, famine and repression had more than halved their population. Even as late as 1989 they still had not reached their 1887 population. They sufferred their worst tragedy during World War II when the Stalin regime deported the entire population to Siberia.

In a mere two days, 28 and 29 December 1943 the NKVD forcibly exiled over 93,000 Kalmyks from their homeland to special settlements in Siberia. The Stalin regime cleared neighboring Rostov Oblast of more than 2,500 remaining Kalmyks on 25 March 1944 and Stalingrad Oblast of almost 1,200 Kalmyks on 2-4 June 1944. These deportees also ended up in Siberia. Finally, the Soviet army discharged over 4,000 Kalmyks from military service and sent them to forced labor battalions devoted to construction in the Urals. In Siberia the Soviet government employed the Kalmyks primarily in river fishing, timber felling and polishing mica furniture. Lack of food, shelter, proper winter clothing and medicine combined with unsafe working conditions led to high rates of mortality among the Kalmyk special settlers. Typhus, dysentery and especially tuberculosis and other lung ailments plagued the exiled Kalmyks. Between 1944 and 1948, the NKVD recorded more than 16,000 deaths (18% of their total population) among the Kalmyks. Only in 1957 did the Soviet government allow them to return to their traditional homeland south west of the Volga River.

The official rationale for deporting the Kalmyks was that they had collaborated with the Nazi occupation. In reality only about 5,000 Kalmyks fought with the German forces against over 20,000 Kalmyks that served in the Red Army during World War II. Like other deported nationalities native to the USSR the real reason lay in their long history of resistance to Russian and Soviet rule. The Kalmyks had been one of the many nomadic steppe tribes that had slowed down Russian expansion as late as the 18th century. In later centuries they continued to cause difficulties for Russian and Soviet rulers. Many traditional Kalmyks had fought against the Bolsheviks during the Civil War. Later the Kalmyks had strongly resisted collectivization and sought to maintain ownership over their livestock herds. Finally, the organization of a small cavalry corp under the command of the Germans served as an excuse for the Stalin regime to implement a final solution to the Kalmyk problem.

After the end of their exile and return to a newly restored Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic the Kalmyks attempted to restore their traumatized society. Much of the damage caused by the deportations, however, proved to be permanent. They lost much of their traditional culture including knowledge of the Kalmyk language among younger generations. This deterioration continued throughout the Soviet era. Renewed attempts by the Republic of Kalmykia (part of the Russian Federation) to revive the Kalmyk language and other aspects of their culture have had limited results.

Kalmyks and Chechens

Recently there has been a spate of violent clashes in Astrakhan between Chechens and Kalmyks. Stalin deported both of these nationalities in their entirety during World War II. The origins of the conflict appear recent. Kalmykia and Chechnya are a bit of a ways from each other. During their years in exile, the Kalmyks remained confined to Siberia and the Chechens to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. So they did not have much contact then either. At any rate the news has inspired me to do a short post on each of them. They both have a chapter in each of my books and they appear in some of my shorter writings. I am going to start with the Kalmyks since they are the lesser known of the two nationalities.

Afternoon's work

This afternoon I got 683 words done of a 1000 word encyclopedia article on the GULag due in mid-October. I also started digging one of the post holes (Ph.D. stands for post hole digger) for the gate. I got about 8" of the required 18" down when I broke through to a fire ant nest and a flood of the buggers poured out. I did not get stung, but I did cease digging for the day. I need to figure out a way to exterminate the critters before returning to that project. I also got an e-mail from Canada confirming that they had received my abstract this afternoon. Tomorrow I will finish up the encyclopedia article and send it off to the editor.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Morning accomplishments

Okay, today so far I have accomplished two goals. First, I typed up, edited and submitted my abstract for next August's four day conference in Canada. The sponsors will make a decision in late February about which papers to accept. I have never been to Canada even though my grand father was born there. So I am hoping that I can get this all expense paid trip next year.

I also mailed in two academic job applications. One was only for a one year position as an instructor. But, the other was tenure track and in a real city no less. I actually think I have a better shot at the second job than the first one for some reason.

Morning in Arivaca

Well it has been daylight for a while now in Arizona. The sounds of bats and insects have been replaced by those of birds. The blasted woodpecker has started up outside my office again. There is a nice breeze blowing so it should be nice and cool today even though the sun is shining ever so brightly. It looks like a good start to the week.

Other blogs again

I just realized that I have nothing what so ever in common with most other academic bloggers. In point of fact I am not an academic since I have never held an academic post. It is kind of like being a member of the nobility I gather. You get to put on certain airs. I think this lack of any common ground is the reason for my exclusion from the carnivals and general hostility I have sensed from academic bloggers. Interestingly the really positive feedback I got on my blog entry on the Russian-Koreans did not come from history bloggers. It came from other people. It also came from non-Americans. This is not surprising. My work has always had a much better reception in Europe and the Middle East than in my homeland. Orthodox Americacentric academic thinking is quite narrow and far less open to dissent than scholarship in much of the rest of the world. It seems strange, but I have found that the academic conferences I have attended that had the greatest range of free discussion were in Turkey and Lebanon. In contrast alot of taboos and unwritten parameters shackle free scholastic dialogue in the US.

Statistical Evidence of Paradise

Number of people per square kilometer in Arivaca - 2

Number of people per square kilometer in Manhattan - 25,000

Number of people per square kilometer in Jabalya refugee camp, Gaza Strip - 74,000

Welcome new readers

In the last couple of days a few new people have left intelligent and constructive comments on this blog. As opposed to the vile Scottish troll and his libelous confederates. I would like to thank them for stopping and taking the time to read what I have to say and comment on it. So thank you Mark Elf, Dr. Navigante and Eurosabra. Also a special thanks to Randy McDonald for linking to my piece on the Russian-Koreans (Koryo Saram). I am quite pleased with the response the entry received.

Plans for next week

This next week I plan to finish putting together applications for the half dozen academic job openings I found that somewhat match my fields. I have two already to mail when I go to the post office on Monday. I will also type up, edit and send my abstract for the August 2006 conference in Canada on Monday. Then I need to work on the four remaining encyclopedia articles I have to write. I am going to tackle the one on the GULag first. After all, my first book, _The Stalinist Penal System_(Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1997) was on this topic. So I should not have too much trouble putting together a 1000 word essay without footnotes. I am going to try and get some of the stuff with deadlines finished before I go back to working on Catherine's Grandchildren. So it may be a week or so before I start working in earnest on it again.

Very strange indeed

Allright I submitted the post on the Russian-Koreans below to the History Carnival. Like last time I got an e-mail response in less than a day. Unlike last time it was not the automatic rejection I was expecting due to my being on some sort of History Carnival black list. Instead it merely thanked me for my submission. It looked very similar to the response I got back from the Teaching Carnival. I am still pretty sure that my post on the Russian-Koreans will not be linked by the History Carnival. Their track record and the very similar profiles of all the hosts militates against it. But, I am not sure why carnival hosts have started thanking me for my submissions? Is this some sort of new policy? It is very strange indeed.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Creating a Whites only Soviet Far East

The Russian-Koreans became the first Soviet nationality deported in their entirety to internal exile in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Today is the 68th anniversary of the decree initiating this ethnic cleansing. On 21 August 1937, the Soviet Council of Peoples Commissariats (SNK) and Central Committe of the Communist Party passed resolution 1428-326ss. This decree carried the title "On the Exile of the Korean Population from Border Districts of the Far East Territory." Joseph Stalin and his close associate Vyacheslav Molotov personally signed this document. This order authorized the forced relocation of nearly 75,000 ethnic Koreans from the Soviet Far East to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. On 8 September 1937, the SNK passed resolution 1539-354ss titled "On Resettleing the Koreans." This second decree expanded the area to be cleansed of Koreans to include the entire Soviet Far East. By 25 October 1937, the NKVD had deported over 171,000 ethnic Koreans from this region to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Officially only 700 Koreans remained in the Soviet Far East. The NKVD arrested and deported another 19,000 ethnic Chinese from the region at the same time. The result was to make the Soviet Far East an almost completely White and Slavic inhabited territory.

The Russian-Koreans or Koryo Saram as they refer to themselves came under administrative exile and NKVD surveillance in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. They also endured substandard material conditions due to a lack of proper provisions of housing, food and medicine by the local authorities. This deprivation led to thousands of deaths. Some calculations place the number excess deaths among the Russian-Koreans as a result of the deportations at nearly 30,000 or over a sixth of the population.

The Soviet government officially justified the deportation by pointing to the infiltration of the Korean population in the USSR by ethnic Koreans working as spies and saboteurs for the Japanese. Many Korean families had members on both sides of the Soviet-Manchurian border and frequent border crossings made inserting agents into the USSR easy. In point of fact Japanese intelligence did indeed operate in the Soviet Far East and did make use of a small number of ethnic Koreans and Chinese for this purpose. By forcibly removing all ethnic Koreans and Chinese from the Soviet Far East the Stalin regime made it impossible to hide such spies among the local population. After the deportations any Asian caught in the Soviet Far East would physically stick out as being a foreigner and hence a presumed spy. The espionage charge, however, was only the final catalyst in a longer process.

The Soviet regime had found it difficult to integrate the Koreans into the Soviet system. Their culture had roots and links outside of Soviet control. Hence they could never be made into a fully Soviet nationality. The foundation of their history lay in Korea not the USSR. Their concentrated presence on the Soviet border and preservation of an independent culture presented a potential threat of allowing anti-Soviet elements to enter the USSR. The Soviet government had hoped during the 1920s and early 1930s that the cultural autonomy and economic achievements of the Koryo Saram would inspire pro-Soviet uprisings in Korea. By 1937, the Stalin regime instead feared that Korean guerrillas and political activists fleeing Japanese rule to the Soviet Far East would contaminate the local Korean population with bourgeois nationalist sentiments.

The insufficient land available for Korean farmers in the Soviet Far East combined with racist attitudes by local Russians led to the creation of class of landless Korean renters in conflict with Slavs. The creation of an aggrieved and impoverished class of Koreans in the Soviet Far East made the threat of a center for bourgeois nationalist opposition arising among the population much greater. The Soviet policy of promoting non-Russian nationalities in local administrations further magnified this potential. The Posets Korean national district and an additional 105 Korean village Soviets in the Far East provided a Korean piedmont that could be exploited by local and emigre Koreans towards this aim. The Korean communities in the USSR formed an extension of the Korean population in Korea and Manchuria. Initially the Soviets hoped to promote socialist revolution in Korea by pointing to the success of the Koryo Saram. The porus border between the two states, however, threatened to Asianize the Soviet Far East and the Russian Koreans rather than Sovietize Korea.

By dispersing the Russian-Koreans to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan the Soviet regime prevented the emergence of a concentration of nationalist Koreans using local Soviet institutions to push for genuine autonomy and closer ties to their homeland. Such closer ties would probably include the use of Soviet territory as a platform to attack the Japanese Empire. A move that could very well provoke unwanted retaliation by the Japanese. The removal of the Koreans to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan ended the fuzzy demographic lines between the USSR and the Japanese Empire. A clear demarcation between the White Slavic Soviet Far East and the Asian areas of the Japanese Empire now clearly existed. The deportations allowed the Soviets to clearly define and seal this border as a defensive measure against influences from across the Manchurian and Korean borders.

Much of the same reasoning underwrote later Soviet deportations of other extra-territorial nationalities. These groups included the Russian-Germans, Russian-Greeks and Russian-Finns. The Stalin regime thought that their historical ties outside the USSR could be exploited by their ethnic kinsmen abroad to promote real political autonomy. Hence in some of the most brutal preventive measures in world history, the Stalin regime forcibly dispersed these nationalities across Soviet Asia to ensure the security of its borders.

Today's modest accomplishments

My big project today was pretty easy. It is after all Saturday. I wrote up the rough draft to an abstract for a conference in Canada in August 2006. I will edit it and polish it up in the next couple of days. I have already written the paper. I have an unpublished paper that fits into the conference perfectly that I wrote for the V. German case. So hopefully I have done all the work to earn myself a trip to Canada next year and get another book chapter published.

The septic tank people came today. They emptied the tank which they had a bit of problem finding. My uncle brought this house from a guy who left in mid-renovation, there is stuff all over the place, because his ex-wife's alimony demands required him to sell it. He left no map for the septic tank. They did, however, find it close to where my uncle thought it was. So that potential problem has no been solved in advance.

Tommorrow I will post on the Soviet deportation of the Russian-Koreans from the Soviet Far East to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It will be the 68th anniversary of the deportation decree. Next week, the 28th will be the 64th anniversary of the decree ordering the deportation of the Volga Germans. It will receive a special entry.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Life without TV

Since I have moved to Arizona I have watched no television. It is too remote to get cable and getting a dish does not appeal to me. I would much rather read and write. Television is generally an unecessary distraction. There have been a few very good dramas to come out in the last few years, but they do not really outweigh the amount of air time devoted to garbage. But, even the best dramas such as those produced by HBO are still taking time away from more edifying and productive pursuits. I have found as I have gotten older that I much prefer books as a medium over television and movies. I can read them at my own liesure, they are highly portable and still remain the single best way to transfer information from one human being to another. The demise of the book has been predicted for a while. But, I think books will probably outlast alot of other forms of content provision. Maybe someday future archeologists will ask what people saw in the little picture box. Why didn't they read books instead? Okay that is probably too optimistic. But, here in Arivaca we have already achieved paradise so I am waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

New Links

I have added some new links over on the left side of the blog in the last week. They are a rather eclectic bunch. Randy McDonald is a Canadian who occasionally has really good posts on Eurasia. Kathryn Tomlinson of Flying Fish is a British woman I have met three times all in different countries. First in Ankara, then NYC and finally London. She wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on the Meskhetian Turks. I disagree with her on alot of things, but I find her work useful. Recently she has been living in Banda Aceh and writing about the conflict and peace negotiations there. Mark Elf is also a British citizen as well as a self described anti-zionist Jew. His Jews sans Frontieres blog has alot of good stuff on the issue of Palestine. Go check them out and tell them I sent you.

Pleasant surprise

Today I submitted a blog entry to another carnival. I sent the entry titled "What I would teach if they let me Part II" to the host of the newly organized Teaching Carnival. Later this afternoon when I got an e-mail from the host I was quite positive that it was a rejection. After all I do not have any teaching experience, my blog is obscure with few readers and I write mostly about topics of interest to few people in the blogosphere. I also believe there is an exclusionary clique around the most popular academic bloggers. A clique with very negative views of people like me. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to get an e-mail from the host of the Teaching Carnival thanking me for my submission rather than the instant rejection I fully expected. Of course the carnival may still exclude my entry when it runs. But, at least I did not get an automatic rejection.

Another day in paradise

Well, we did not get around to fishing in the cistern. I got one job application done this morning. Then I took a mid-morning to early afternoon siesta. It has gotten really hot here. Or at least that is the excuse I am going to use here to justify sleeping rather than working for a big chunk of the day.

I am going to grill jerked chicken again tonight. I noticed today when putting it in the marinade that the bottle holds a lot more sauce than I initially thought. It might be able to do as many as 16 pieces of chicken, twice as much as I first calculated. It is always nice to get little bonuses like that.

Also no illness in the family, no stress from annoying co-workers, no rapidly approaching deadlines (the nearest one is October 15th), no need to toady to tenure committees and no spouse to divorce. Here everything exists in a natural state of blissful harmony. I have nothing, but good news to report.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Plans for the day

It is another warm and sunny day in Arivaca today. We are going to transfer some fish from the open water cistern near the well to the pond today. The cistern catches the excess water pumped from the well to the water tank. It is connected to some hoses that run down to the corrals. Inside the cistern are lots of little fish put there to eat mosquito eggs and larvae. The plan is to move some of them to the very large pond in the back of the property. We hope the fish along with the large number of tadpoles the toads left in the pond will eat enough bugs to prevent us from being eaten alive. The mosquitos here carry West Nile Fever so it is a rather serious concern.

Aside from that I intend to try and fill out at least one more job application and work on some abstracts for conferences for the summer and fall of 2006. I am very happy to be free of having to format any footnotes for the time being. Fortunately, none of my next few projects involve any footnotes at all.

One Arab Palestine from the River to the Sea

Given the extreme difficulty of the Israeli government in getting 8,000 settlers to leave the Gaza Strip there is no possibility of them persuading the more than 400,000 colonists to leave the West Bank. In my opinion the two state solution has been dead since 1993 and the assasination of Rabin. In 1988 the PLO ceded its claim to 78% of historic Palestine to Israel. The Israelis claimed that such a compromise was insufficient and they needed more land, continued control over water and control of the borders. Even after the withdrawl from Gaza is complete the Israelis will still control the border with Egypt. The Palestinians can not give up more than the 78% of Palestine the Israelis controlled in 1966. The Israelis will never give up East Jerusalem whose borders they have enlarged to include a big chunk of the West Bank.

Already including Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the 1948 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship there are about as many Palestinians under Israeli rule as non-Arabs (a very significant number of first class Israeli citizens are Russians of Christian heritage not Jews). This does not even include the descendents of the 750,000 or so Palestinians the Israelis expelled or terrorized into fleeing in 1948 and the 300,000 refugees from 1967. Given their high birth rates the Palestinians will soon be a significant majority in the areas under Israeli rule. The Gaza withdrawl may buy some time, but it is not a solution to the Palestinian question anymore than South Africa's creation of similar resource poor independent Bantustans was a solution to its racial problems.

The Gaza Strip and a few cities in the West Bank with little water, arable land or control of their own borders does not constitute a viable state. Black South Africans and most of the international community rejected the Bantustans as a permanent just solution to dividing the land and resources of South Africa. Likewise the Palestinians and the world outside the US can not morally accept the permanent creation of a walled in Palestinian Bantustan. An entity that would be without access to sufficient resources to physically support its population yet alone the millions of Palestinians born in exile and have no control over its external borders. A completely sovereign Palestine with total control over its borders and water resources in all of the territory of the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem was the minimum the Palestinians could accept. By rejecting this deal the Israelis killed the idea of a two state solution.

The fact is that Palestinians today probably form a slight majority of the population of the territory that formed Mandatory Palestine. This edge will increase substantially in the next couple of decades. Even in the pre-1967 borders of Israel, Palestinians currently are 20% of the population and they will easily reach 25% in a few decades. When a significant and verifiable Arab majority does emerge in historic Palestine the pressure to treat Israel like South Africa and Rhodesia will be quite strong in parts of Europe including the UK. Movements for divestment and sanctions will start to have some effect in some European countries.

The Israelis will be forced to make a choice at this point if not sooner. Either they can cut a deal like the South African government did and live as equal citizens in a multi-ethnic Palestine. This means that things like entrusting 92% of the nation's land to an organization holding it on behalf of "all of the Jewish People" and prohibiting its sale or lease to Palestinians with Israeli citizenship will have to end. It also means that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will have to be given the right to vote in elections for a government ruling all of historic Palestine. In practice this would mean the creation of an Arab Palestine from the River to the Sea with a Jewish minority protected by international covenants. The other alternative is to attempt to continue to rule in an oppressive and discriminatory manner over the Palestinian majority. Eventually this will probably lead to a scenerio like Algeria with the expulsion of most of the non-Arabs from Palestine.

Things have not looked good for the Palestinians since the 1948 Nakba. Since Sharon provoked the Al Aqsa Intifada things have gotten even worse for a large number of Palestinians. But, in the long run by avoiding complete expulsion from their lands they have managed to gain a long term demographic advantage. Eventually the ratio of Arabs in Palestine to non-Arabs will reach the tipping point. The ability of an unpopular ethnic minority to rule over a hostile native majority in the Arab world has been quite limited in recent times.

Things are really good here in Arivaca

Well, looking at the misfortunes of alot of other bloggers I can not complain at all. I am living in the most beautiful spot on earth. It is very serene here and I have pretty much everything I could want. I have a grill. I have lots of room to stretch out and write. My office has a front and a back porch. Nobody bothers me. I have lots of books. I have an internet connection. It is pretty cool. I really like having the space. As a former urban dweller I am not used to having much personal space. I might decide to go native. You will know if I start wearing a big cowboy hat and tie dye shirt.

Getting back on the roll

The cotton paper is finished and submitted to the people back at SOAS. I got a late start today, I did not start actually working on it until about ten am. But, I got it all done and sent off by half past noon. I did not get a whole lot of other work done today. I did some preliminary organizing for one of my encyclopedia articles and I completed one job application. However, I think now that the ordeal of getting the citations sorted out for the last paper are over I can start cranking again. By next Friday I hope to have at least one more encyclopedia article done as well as half a dozen job applications and some conference abstracts.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I love the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the greatest library in the world. I have done more research there than anywhere else. It has alot more books and is much prettier than the new British Library over on Euston. Indeed I am quite sure it has more books than any other library in the world. Unlike alot of other national libraries the Library of Congress is in fact an international library. Its collection of Russian language materials is simply awesome. Even out here in Arivaca I find the Library of Congress invaluable. I just tracked down three obscure sources from the North Caucasus and Crimea using the Library of Congress online catalogue. I only had partial citation data for the works. It took me a grand total of fifteen minutes. Absent the web resources of the Library of Congress it would have taken me hours of hard labor. Now I can finish filling in the citations for my cotton paper.

Footnote fetish

Okay, when I get up in the morning I am going to finish the cotton paper. Writing it was not too hard, but editing it has taken up two whole days now and is growing tedious. The drudgery of getting footnotes in order is one of the reasons I would like to do more popular and less academic writing. I really like the new practice in popular histories of providing short historigraphical essays for each chapter at the end of the book rather than using footnotes. So instead of citing each individual fact, the author provides a description of the important literature on the subject of the chapter that serves to provide suggestions for further reading.

In academic writing, however, the footnote is one of the most important of all fetishes. I average a bit on the high side at four a page. But, I think that is because like fetishes in magic, footnotes are used to invoke protection from powerful evil forces, sometimes called critics. Since I do not have an academic position and for a long time in my writing career did not even have a graduate degree, the footnote was the only talisman I could use to summon protective spirits. Even then it was only partially succesful. Oh well, at least I do not have to deal with any Theory. That stuff is real black magic.

Citations are my bane

Well despite the best of intentions I did not finish the cotton paper today. I typed up the corrections and reformatted the text. But, Central Asian Survey uses a real wierd citation system I have never seen before. I had written the paper using my usual system thinking that it would be easy to convert. It has not been. I have been going through each of my 84 citations and altering them to fit the journal's system. Actually they have more than one system. Journals from the West are to be cited in one way and those from Russia and other former Soviet states and Eastern Europe another. About 75 of my citations are from Russian language sources, but the other ten are Amercian and German. So I have to make sure I don't cite them like the others. I am going to finish it tommorrow I hope. At anyrate, it will still be almost a month early.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The roll did not last

Today was not nearly as productive as yesterday. I edited the cotton paper and wrote one page on Catherine's Grandchildren. I also got the details on six job applications and wrote to two of my three references. That took me just about all day due to my inherent laziness. I finished at about four and then put the chicken in the marinade and read some fiction. It was a lot hotter today than yesterday and I just could not work up the same motivation I had yesterday.

Tommorrow I am going to type in the corrections for the cotton paper and send it off. It will be about a month early. I want to get it finished and out of the way before I do any more of the encyclopedia articles. I am also going to try and get at least one of the job applications done. I should probably get the Canadian abstract done since I have finished the paper for that conference already. I am hoping that the complete and total lack of any social life out here in the desert will inspire me to be more productive.

Starting Academic Job Search Again

On the advice of people older and wiser than me I am going to again apply for lecturships in history for one more season. Then I may very well throw in the towel and go back to making coffee. I do not have alot of optimism that I am doing anything other than wasting paper, postage and the valuable time of those writing me letters of recommendation. It seems that by not getting a stupid TAship I have no hope of ever getting even an adjunct position. At anyrate I found six openings to apply for this fall for jobs starting next fall. But, I really think I need to find a career in which I can do things like research and write that does not require that I have gotten a magical TAship. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get any usuable advice on this matter. If I stayed at the Cafe I could have been a saucier by now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Kazakhstan's problematic geography

I finished the first draft of the cotton paper and one problem I noticed is changing geographic terminology. Today the term Central Asia (Tsentralnaia Aziia in Russian) refers to the five nations of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. But, historically the Soviet government recognized that Kazakhstan is not really Asian. It is instead Eurasian both in geography and population. Soviet sources thus made reference to Kazakhstan and Middle Asia (Srednei Azii). The term Middle Asia sounds horrible to me. So when writing about the region in the past tense I have generally preferred the construction Kazakhstan and Central Asia. This was a favored translation among many other people writing in English as well. Although it is seen less often today.

This terminology made particular sense when writing about northern Kazakhstan which blends into the adjacent areas of Russia without any natural geographical borders. Northern Kazakhstan under Soviet rule became heavily populated by Russians and other European nationalities such as Ukrainians, Russian-Germans and even a small ethnically Polish population. There was not much difference between the north eastern parts of Kazakhstan and the south western parts of Siberia in either landscape, climate or population. So it justifies itself in my mind as a seperate geographic region from Central Asia.

Southern Kazakhstan on the other hand is Central Asian in landscape, climate and population. The paper I just finished deals with southern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. I suppose historically I could call the whole region Central Asia, referring to a specific geographical region in terms of natural features. But, my inclination is to only do this in the title or if it is clearly a reference to the area in terms of landscape and climate. I will continue to denote the political borders in the text using the terminology that existed at the time. That is Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Historian, Horticulturist and Cook

Today was a pretty productive day. I spent the morning in the huge spartan room that I use as an office. It has two porches, two lap top computers and a CD player. It unfortunately only has two small tables and it needs three. The lap top I use for the internet has a small stand. There is also a rather beat up table outside on the back porch that has recently been pounded by the monsoons. I do not have a table for the lap top I use for writing. So I laid on my stomach and typed with my sources spread around me a semi-circle. This is not a comfortable position from which to work.

I finished up a rough draft of my cotton paper for London. I cranked out five pages today. It turned out longer than I thought. It ended up being 24 pages rather than the 20 initially planned. I wrote alot more on the legal and administrative development of the special settlement regime from 1941 to 1949 than I anticipated. But, since most of this stuff has never been published in English and exists only in scattered and obscure Russian language document collections I thought it was important to include. I pretty much finished the paper by lunch, but had to take a lunch break. Primarily because my back was bothering me from not having a table to work on.

The property is green with all kinds of flora right now. It does not look like we live in the middle of a desert. My uncle thinks we should take advantage of some of the natural crops growing on the land. Actually he would like to not have to ever go to the grocery store again. I have identified some of the edible ones and may try cooking some of them up. Among the native foods that have sprung up here are mesquite bean, prickly pear and now we have discovered squash vines. I think I will cook up some prickly pear paddles on the grill soon. I have to first figure an easy way to remove the stickers and skin. If it is too much trouble the first time around there will only be a second time around if they turn out really good.

In the South West it is not possible to live without "propane and propane accessories". That is a grill. I cooked up some great chicken thighs tonight. I was going to have it last night, but I found out that the refrigerator is too cold to defrost poultry from the freezer. So I defrosted the chicken today and used one of Lawry's 30 minute marinades, the Baja Chipolte and Lime one, to flavour it before grilling. It turned out really good. We ate it with rice and salad which my uncle always has around in great abundance. Given that the marinade bottles can accomodate eight pieces of chicken and cost $2.50 each at Safeway they are great deal. Dinner tommorrow will be similar except I will try the Jamaican Jerk marinade with papaya juice.

Monday, August 15, 2005

History Carnival Watch

The History Carnival is up now and I have gotten the e-mail address for the next host. I am quite sure the entry will be rejected, probably without any stated reason. I have some ideas of the blog posts that I will be sending in to future History Carnivals to be rejected due to my lack of "coolness." They will be written in the order listed below.

Creating a Whites only Soviet Far East: The Deportation of the Russian-Koreans

Soviet Apartheid: The Special Settlement Regime and Racial Exclusion

The small CD collection of the totally unhip

I have a really small music collection. This is partially because I am unemployed and poor and can not afford to buy many albums. It is also partially due to constantly moving about and not being able to permanently acquire large collections. It also is a result of not being much of a music person. Part of this is that I have a pretty severe hearing loss dating back to birth. Another part is that being outside the hipster scene I just do not value it as a status symbol. But, I have collected a few CDs in London and northern Virginia that I brought with me to Arizona. I have a total of seven. They are a bit eclectic and no doubt mark me as being completely uncool and unhip and hence never to have an entry in the History Carnival. But, for anybody interested they are listed below.

Various artists - Momo Arabesque
Blondie - The Best of Blondie
Bruce Cockburn - You Pay Your Money and You Take Your Chance (Live at Madison, WI)
Guns N Roses - Appetite for Destruction
Rick James - The Ultimate Collection
Various artists - The Rough Guide to Rai
Various artists - The Rough Guide to the Music of Turkey

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Things I would Teach if they let me part II

Deported Nationalities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia

Course Description:

This course will examine the history of Stalin’s deportation of whole nationalities from the Caucasus and other regions west of the Urals to Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In particular it will focus on the Russian-Germans, Karachais, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks exiled to special settlements in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan during World War II. The course will cover the development of Soviet nationalities policies during the 1920s and 1930s, the planning and conduct of the deportations, the changing legal and material conditions of the deportees, their struggles for rehabilitation and return and finally, post-Soviet conditions. Among other factors the course will look at the roles played by geography, language, economics, religion, memory and gender in the historical development of the deported nationalities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Special attention will be paid to the differences between the deported national groups in regards to cultural retention and political mobilization. The course will seek to ascertain the root causes of these variations. A comparative approach will be followed throughout the course.

Things I would Teach if they let me part I

Introduction to the History of Kazakhstan and Central Asia Under Russian and Soviet Rule

Course Description:

This course is an introductory survey course to the history of present day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. In particular the course will concentrate on the era of Soviet rule from 1917 to 1991. The course will treat the area chronologically and emphasize the political, economic and social changes it experienced under Soviet rule. Among the topics that will be examined are the development of territorialized national identifications, the political subordination of the region to Moscow, the radical transformation of the territory’s economy and ecology and the changing social roles played by Islam and women in recent history. These topics will be covered in the course of examining the important political events in Soviet history and their impact on Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Among these events are the Bolshevik Revolution, Civil War, demarcation of internal Soviet borders along national lines, collectivization, industrialization, the assault on religion, the Purges, World War II, the Thaw and finally Glasnost and Perestroika. The course will emphasize a comparative approach and concentrate on the historical similarities and differences between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the two largest nations in the region.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Life on the ranch

Actually, it is an ex-ranch. The horse corrals are empty. Other than my uncle's dog all the fauna is wild. The torrential rains from the monsoons have turned the desert green. There is a big pond in the back and several streams. The toads evidently came to spawn. There are thousands of tadpoles in the water and hundreds of small toads hopping onto the land. Unfortunately, the well is solar powered so despite constant rain we have a water shortage. Now that it has stopped raining we should be okay soon.

We have alot of mesquite trees and I have been looking into prehaps doing something with the beans. They are a traditional staple food of several native nations in Arizona. It looks like they will be ready to pick at the end of September. We also have some vines which I think may be either melon or squash. I got some rosemary, basil and tarragon to grow inthe Arizona room to go along with the tomatoes and chilis already there.

I have been getting one to two pages done every day on my cotton paper and should be finished soon. It just needs a couple more pages. Then I will get on the four encyclopedia articles I still have to write due in October. Right now I do not have many job applications to fill out.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Writing for the Common Man and Woman part I

Dr. Camicao asked me to blog on this subject. I am currently writing a book aimed at a popular audience on the history of Russian-Germans in the USSR. So I am in the middle of this experience. I am going to try and illuminate what I think the differences are between this type of writing and the academic writing I have done in the past. I am going to have to do it in parts I decided since it is a rather large task. In many ways it is easier than writing academic work. You do not need to include lots of transliterated footnotes for one thing which really makes a difference in the speed you can write. I average over 1000 such footnotes in a book length academic text so this alone is a relief. In other ways, however, you have to think differently. You are not writing for specialists and alot of what you assume is common knowledge is not and has to be explained clearly. More importantly, the interests of the lay reader and the Ph.D. are often quite different. This is the core issue I will be addressing below.

The first and probably most important thing in writing for a popular audience rather than academic specialists is picking a topic that is of general interest. The extremely narrow subject matter of most academic writing has no real appeal beyond the Ivory Tower. A history of Soviet administrative law in Uzbekistan is not going to attract many general readers. A history of the Soviet GULag might very well as Anne Applebaum's Pulitzer Prize winning Gulag: A History demonstrates. An important part of picking a viable topic is to relate to the common reader. This ties into what I have written about putting the human back into humanities. The writer needs to relate the humanity of the reader with the humanity of the subject and bridge their cultural differences. This means dealing with what is important to the average reader. People are interested in such things as family life, work, education, religious practices and sports because these are important things in their own lives. I think alot of American academics really discount the role religion has continued to play in peoples lives even in the "secular" twentieth century. Because they themselves are not believers they do not properly respect and address the fact that billions of other people both now and in the past have been sincerely religious. The other aspects of everyday life are easier to deal with for most academics.

My own topic is the history of an ethnic minority group in Eurasia, the Russian-Germans, during the twentieth century. Among the topics I have dealt with have been how they lived both during relatively prosperous times and during times of extreme persecution. I have focused on what happened to them and how they reacted rather then on why the Soviet government acted as it did or how it implemented its policies. For a general work, theory is almost worthless, what is important is creating a coherent narrative based upon empirical facts. It is also important to show the subjective experience of these people to their circumstances. They rather than the Soviet government or the NKVD or GULag camp structure are the focus of the history. Hence, I find this type of writing fits my recent inclinations regarding scholarship well.

I will continue writing on this subject later. In the next post on this topic I intend to address the challenges of reducing such academic encumberances as excess statistical data, acronyms and other jargon and explicitely engaging with other scholars. Later posts will deal with structuring content, style and other aspects of writing for a non-academic book.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Things to look forward to

For the two to three people who read this blog below is a list of topics that I will be covering in the near future here.

The process of writing a book for a popular versus an academic audience.

Adjusting to life in Arivaca.

The 68th anniversary of the deportation of the Russian-Koreans.

The 64th anniversary of the deportation of the Russian-Germans.

Things I would teach if they let me.

They may not appear in any particular order and it may take a few weeks to get through them all as other things intervene. But, I promise to have at least one entry on each of them.

History Carnival update

Well, it has not even been a full day and I have already gotten an e-mail from the current History Carnival host rejecting my entry as too "technical." At least I have progressed from simply being ignored to getting rejection letters. But, honestly not even I expected to be proven right about the unwritten parameters of acceptability for the History Carnival so fast. Maybe some day one of the hosts will specifically tell me what these parameters entail and why I will never meet them. In the mean time I am three for three with twenty three submissions left.

History Carnival Experiment

I just submitted the blog entry below, "Why it is Russian-German and not German-Russian" to the History Carnival. I predict that like my previous entries "Russian-Germans as a racial catagory" and "Happy Manifesto Day" that it will be rejected without any stated reason. Despite the fact that each of these carnivals, XII, XIII and XIV have different hosts I do not think it matters. The "hip" academic history blogs seem to have formed some sort of exclusionary clique. People with ideas that do not fit into their rather politically correct definition of "cool" get ignored. I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I live in the real world and can see the creation of a blog wall between the "haves" and "have nots."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Why it is Russian-German and not German-Russian

The term Russian-German is a translation of the German Russlanddeutsche and Russian rossiskie nemtsy. In both these cases the word Russian refers to the territory of Russia or historically the Russian Empire which would include Ukraine, parts of Poland, Bessarabia and other areas outside the Russian Federation. It does not refer to Russians as a nationality. This is clear in the original German and Russian versions. In German you have Russland vs. Russe and in Russian you have rossiiskie vs. russkie. A more acurate, but really awful sounding English translation would be Russia-Germans. The translation Russian-Germans is standard in most literature outside the US and corresponds to the designation of other immigrant groups in the former USSR such as Russian-Koreans, Russian-Greeks and Russian-Finns.

In the US you often see the term German-Russians. If this is translated back into either German Deutschlandrusse or Russian germanskie russkie it describes an ethnic Russian living in Germany. Although many native born Germans view the Spaetaussiedler arriving from Kazakhstan, Siberia and Central Asia as Russians rather than Germans this is not why the term is used in the US. Rather it is a poor attempt to impose an American system of ethnic classifications upon Eurasia. I wrote earlier of Americacentrism distorting American views of other places and this is a prime example. The term German-Russian is meant to correspond with the term German-American. But, it does not. The American in German-American does not refer to the territory of America. Rather historically a German-American was a person in the process of assimilating from being completely German to being totally American. It was a temporary hybrid ethnicity of the second generation. In the 1960s and 1970s a number of activists in various white ethnic communities sought to freeze this assimilation process in order to use the ethnic symbolism of their ancestral origins as a tool for political mobilization. Hence the permanent existence of such catagories as Jewish-American, Irish-American and Cuban-American. Almost nobody in the US calls themselves a German-American. People of German heritage in the US are nearly totally assimilated and identify themselves as merely Americans.

The situation of people of German descent in the US is radically different from that in the former USSR. Since 1938 the catagory German has been an inherited and immutable legal catagory. It has been stamped on all passports, identification documents and other records of people biologically descended of German speaking immigrants to the Russian Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. Regardless of how much they acculturated or adapted to Russian culture they legally remained Germans, a status they inherited at birth from their parents. Only in the case of the children of mixed nationalities did an individual have an opportunity to partially escape from this racialized legal catagorization. In the case of mixed parentage, a child had to choose the nationality of one of his parents when he turned 16. Otherwise nationality in the USSR was in effect a racial catagory determined by biological descent and not subject to change. This legal catagorization and the discrimination that went along with it created a pyschological identification of being German among Russian-Germans that were totally acculturated and would have otherwise become assimilated into the Russian nationality. Voluntary assimilation in the USSR and most Post-Soviet states was never an option like it was in the US. Legally a Russian-German was always completely German in his essence no matter how well acculturated.

Monday, August 08, 2005

In Response to Dr. Camicao

In a comment on my entry "On Expanding my Knowledge Base as an Orientalist" Dr. Camicao asked why I did not think I will ever get an academic position. The short answer is that despite having two published academic books and a number of peer reviewed journal articles I have no teaching experience. I have applied to dozens of jobs and have been rejected for all of them in the last year. Among those rejecting me were a number of adjunct positions. So it was not as if I was trying to get anything more than an entry level position. Of the few rejections that have given reasons this has been the one. I have never taught in a formal classroom setting, not even as a TA. Despite what others may claim, academia values teaching much more than they do publications. In fact I do not think American academia puts much weight at all to publications by themselves. They will never hire a person with a strong publishing record and no teaching experience over somebody with teaching experience and a weak publishing record. A person with teaching experience and no publications can always get published. Especially since many publishers use blind peer review and hence judge articles solely on their merit. This is not the case regarding teaching experience. To get a position that involves teaching you have to have had such a position previously. Such job selections are not blind. They know who you are and will use anything they can against you.

I will also repeat what I wrote in a comment to Frank. I could not get into graduate school in the US even with two published academic books. In the UK where publications are important I got into SOAS with no problem. For US academia publications are completely irrelevant. What counts is that you have people on the inside supporting you. I know that a great many people have gotten tenure track jobs without having any books published. Many of these people have then gotten tenure with only one book, almost always a revised version of their Ph.D. dissertation. With all due respect even Dr. Camicao got tenure with only one book published. He obviously originally got the position on the basis of something other than writing books.

I could not even get into an MA program in the US despite having two academic books published. Books that have been well cited and favorably reviewed by academics working in my field. A lot of this work is rather narrow. But, some more popular scholary works have also cited me extensively. If you look in Anne Applebaum's pulitzer winning Gulag: A History you will find me in the index and endnotes. Richard Overy's The Dictators also cites me extensively. So it is not as if I was writing mere hackwork that is long on quantity and short on quality. It is that the real priorities of US academia lay elsewhere.

I do not see any way ever around the catch-22 of having no teaching experience. No matter how many books, journal articles and other academic pieces I publish it will not change this basic fact. It is clear from the hiring record of academia that a TAship is considered a greater asset by selection committees than any number of scholastic books. I initially took up academic writing as a hobby and greatly enjoy it. My real jobs while doing this were stuffing envelopes, making sandwiches and brewing coffee. By technical training I am a barrista. So I will continue to do some academic writing. Mostly, because I enjoy travelling to conferences. My main writing focus in the future, however, I think is going to be for a more popular audience. I have a little over 50 pages written of my first non-academic book and I am finding it more enjoyable to write for real people rather than the Ivory Tower crowd.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Smoking narghile with toads in Arivaca

Note that the title is smoking narghile with toads not smoking toads in the narghile. It was merely mint flavored maassel, not toad flavored. As much as I like exotic things, I have refrained from toad smoking. In Queensland it is evidently a major drug problem. Given the poor state of toad smoking addicts there I have no desire to join them.

The other night I was out on the Gazeebo smoking narghile and reading Sacred Clowns by Tony Hillerman when the toads visited me again. I think they might be the same toads. There was a small one and then two big ones. They came to eat the moths drawn by the Christmas lights.

The toads are only some of the strange animals living here. There are also lizards that run on their hind legs, bats, snakes and jack rabbits. That only covers the creatures I have actually seen. I still have not seen any scorpions or rattlers.

The plants are also exotic. There are lots of Cacti. The prickly pears with their bright purple fruit which makes a very tasty glaze are everywhere. Then there are the short barrel cacti pointing south west with their yellow and red flowers. Finally, there are the great big pipe organ cacti.

I really like the landscape of this region of the South West. I have been able to get a fair amount of writing done early in the morning. I usually write one page a day on my cotton paper and two pages a day on Catherine's Grandchildren. I think the natural ecology has been helpful in increasing my writing output.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Rehabilitating the term Orientalist

Over the next couple of days I am going to try and catch up on those blog posts I promised, but have not yet written. This is one of them. There is also the one on why it is Russian-German and not German-Russian. After that I will post some new stuff on Arizona and life here in Arivaca.

The term Orientalist today has a negative connotation and is often used as a term of abuse as a result of the influence of Edward Said and his academic followers. Said wrote Orientalism in 1977, a book which seeks to tar most European and later US scholarship on the Arab world as being essential parts of colonial and imperial projects. The book has a lot of flaws. Not the least is its reduction of European scholarship down to the UK and France. For some reason the large body of scholarship existing in Germany, Hungary and Russia merited almost no attention in the book. Probably because none of these states ever had Arab colonies, protectorates, mandates or even military bases. Hence since there were no overt German or Hungarian colonial projects in the Arab world there must not have been any attempt to study the region. In the Saidian universe the only reason westerners would study the Orient would be so they could exert direct domination over it. This is rubbish.

Orientalist should be a neutral term to describe somebody who studies the peoples and lands of the Orient. There are other better terms for people who acquire knowledge of the Orient for the purposes decried by Said. Imperialists, colonialists and hegemonists are some that spring to mind. Of course the most bigoted and racist commentators on the peoples of the Orient do not call themselves Orientalists, they call themselves Zionists.

Contrary to politically correct dimwits in the US, Oriental does refer to people as well as rugs. It should be noted that the proposed replacement term for Oriental, Asian is totally inadequate. The Orient is not the same as Asia either geographically or in terms of racial catagories developed in Europe. The most famous source of Oriental rugs is Iran. There is no doubt that Iran, both in terms of location and people is Oriental. Neither its location or people are generally considered Asian. Usually Iran is considered part of the Middle East which is part of the Orient, but not part of Asia. Persians as well as Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Turkomen, Baluchis, Arabs and other ethnicities in Iran are all Oriental in terms of European discourses on culture. None of them are Asian in terms of race. Even the US federal government specifically states that for purposes of Affirmative Action that Iranians are white. So lets not have any more deculturated third generation Americans of Korean descent tell me that Oriental refers to rugs not people. No, it refers to both and much more.

The Orient is much larger geographically than Asia. North Africa, the Balkans, Crimea, and the North Caucasus are all historically part of the Orient. They are not parts of Asia. Indeed the stupidity of the term Asia is quite apparent when it is noted that part of Istanbul (the new modern and less Oriental part) is in Asia and part in Europe. Are Turks from Thrace such as Mustafa Kemal, Europeans and Greeks from Izmir (Smyrna) Asians? What is one to make of the fact that most of Russia is geographically in Asia? Such divisions make no sense. Historically, the Ottoman Empire which spread across three continents was considered Oriental by European scholars. Likewise those areas and people of the Russian Empire that had cultures based upon Islam were Oriental. If one goes by geographical or racial catagories instead of cultural ones then you get a bizzare system of classifications. One that does not reflect the actual divisions between peoples and cultures that have historically existed in Europe, Asia and North Africa.

So I am an Orientalist because I study the people and lands of the Orient. I can do so without thinking that the Oriental is inferior or that he is other than fully human. Contrary to Said, I can be both an Orientalist and a humanist.

Friday, August 05, 2005

One Year Old

Believe it or not this blog has been around for a year now. Of course it still has less than 40 posts. Mostly because I got tired a couple of times of writing stuff I was very sure nobody at all was reading and took long breaks. Then I finally got a comment and it inspired me to try and keep it going in the hopes that I might get a couple of readers. I do not think it will ever get too many readers, but I do not have a problem writingor speaking for small audiences. I think it is better to have one sincerely interested reader than a large number of people looking to see what is trendy. One thing I have noticed is that a lot of other blogs have lots of links. The source of these links varies, but there is a definite elitism involved. The carnivals are an example of this. I have entered postings to a couple. Only the Carnival of Liberty IV posted a link to the article I submitted. It was the blog on the Human Cost of Cotton. Other carnivals have like many academic jobs rejected me without even sending notice. The absolute worst has been the History Carnival which has rejected me a couple of times now despite different hosts. I am pretty sure there is a clique involved around which blogs are acceptable and which are not. I am not sure how much my political stances play into it. Although I am sure they do. At any rate I intend to enter the History Carnival every two weeks for a year just to see if I am right. I am quite sure they will reject every single entry. But, if they do I will have the satisfaction of knowing I was right. Many academic bloggers, particularly those in history are just as bad as the cliques around people like Ivan Tribble. Indeed their hypocrisy makes them worse.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A new settler in the South West

I have now been in Arivaca for two days. It is quite interesting. This is only the third time I have been to Arizona and the first time in the southeastern quadrant. The flora and fauna is very interesting. I love the cacti flowers. Most of them now are purple or yellow. I also like the cold blooded critters. Last night several toads each larger than the first kept hopping up to me as I grilled shish tavuk. I have always found amphibians to be fascinating.

I am trying to pick up on the history and cultural strands of the region. I found a basic primer on Arizona history in the living room and have been reading it in the mornings before breakfest and writing. I am now up to the Civil War.

There are some Russian-German Mennonite settlements in northern Mexico not too far from here. They came from Canada during the early 1920s. I may take a research trip down there some time.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Now in Arizona

Well, I made the trip across VA, TN, AR, TX, NM and finally into AZ. I will start posting regularly again now that I have access to an internet connection. I think I may have two maybe even three occasional readers.

I will certainly have plenty of time to write out here. The distractions are minimal. I have to finish up my cotton paper and slavery encyclopedia articles. Then I can get back to working on book projects.