Friday, December 30, 2016

Summary of 2016

Overall 2016 was a great year. I finally got a decent paying job for the first time in my life. My compensation literally increased an order of magnitude. I got published in a top tier journal for the first time ever. The abstract is available here. I got to spend more time with my family this summer and have been able to video chat with them since then, something I couldn't do from Ghana. On the other hand my increased standard of living has led me to gain unwanted weight.

The Other Mall

Actually there are quite a few malls in Suli. But, I went to the giant new Majidi mall today. It is built like a giant airplane hanger and three floors. I ate a burger at Fatburger and purchased some spicy Iranian ketchup, spicy Filipino banana sauce, and Turkish olive oil at the supermarket in the basement of the mall.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

George Ciccariello-Maher

To clarify the offensive statement by George Ciccariello-Maher is not the one on "white genocide" but this one.
“To clarify: when the whites were massacred during the Haitian revolution, that was a good thing indeed.”
He is wrong about the timing of the massacres. The Revolution had already drove all the French military off the island by the time of the 1804 mass rapes and killings of the remaining white civilians. As justifiable as the Revolution was this is the first time I have ever seen anybody claim that the rape and murder of the French men, women, and children still in Haiti after its success was a "good thing." Usually the claim by historians like C.L.R. James is that it was a very bad thing, but not nearly as bad as what the French did to the Haitians. So the Revolution was a good thing despite the atrocities afterwards in 1804. Circcariello-Maher has flipped this on its head and said the Revolution was good because afterwards the Haitian government orchestrated the rape and murder of whites.

Publications During 2016

In 2016 I had two peer reviewed journal articles and a book chapter published.  The first article is "The Persecution of the Ethnic Germans in the USSR during World War II," The Russian Review, vol. 75. no. 2, April 2016. An abstract of the article can be found here. The other article is "The Deportation of the Crimean Tatars in the Context of Settler Colonialism," International Crimes and History, issue no. 16, 2016. A full copy of the article can be found here. The book chapter is "Nkrumah, the Cold War, the "Third World", and the US Role in the 24 February 1966 Coup" in Bea Lundt and Christoph Marx, (eds.), Nkrumah Today (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016). A full copy of the manuscript of the chapter can be found here. So that is two publications on the USSR and one on Africa. Feel free to leave any comments on the articles below.

It Has Now Been 73 Years Since the Deportation of the Kalmyks

On 27 December 1943 the NKVD began the round up and deportation of the Kalmyks from their homeland on the Caspian Sea to Siberia. The Stalin regime falsely accused the entire population of treason despite the fact that far more Kalmyks fought in the Soviet Red Army against the Nazis than served in German organized units. The patch to the right is a Red Army patch for Kalmyks from the 1920s. The swastika is a traditional symbol of many Buddhist peoples such as the Kalmyks. Rather than write a new post on the deportations I am instead linking to an encyclopedia article I wrote on the Kalmyks in 2010. It was published in Jeffrey Cole, ed., Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011), pp. 215-218. Please feel free to leave any comments on the article here.

Monday, December 26, 2016


Since I have finished grading and entering final grades for fall 2016 I have read two books on Kurdish history and gotten half way through a third. I then walked to the bazaar to buy three more books.  My goal is to read at least eight books on Kurdish history before February.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas from Suli

I finally finished all my marking two days ago. Now I have a break here in Kurdistan before I have to return to teaching. I hope to catch up on some reading and writing during the break.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Some of my Published Articles on Race in the USSR

The amount of scholarship on racial discrimination in the USSR is extremely limited. This is especially the case in English. The established orthodox position is that there was never any racial discrimination in the USSR under Stalin except anti-semitism. I have, however, written some pieces on the subject. I have listed below some of those that have made it into publication. Feel free to leave any comments on the actual pieces in the comments section to this post.

Is there a Black Eurasia?: Ghanaian and other Diasporic African Populations in the USSR in Comparative Perspective. 

Suffering in a Province of Asia: The Russian-German Diaspora in Kazakhstan.

Soviet Apartheid: Stalin's Ethnic Deportations, Special Settlement Restrictions, and the Labor Army: The Case of the Ethnic Germans in the USSR. 

Friday, December 09, 2016

NPP Victory in Ghana

From 2011 to 2016 I lived in Ghana under the NDC. Until President Mills died in 2012 things were going well. But, after his death JDM proved unable to manage the economy. In 2014 the Cedi collapsed, destroying most of my purchasing power. At the same time the greater Accra area including the University of Ghana had no electricity most of the time. Officially we were on a schedule of 24 hours of black out and then only 12 hours of power. But, sometimes we had less electricity. The Dumsor (Off/On) was mostly dum and not enough sor. I don't know if the NPP can fix Ghana's economic problems which at base are a result of not producing anything value added and relying upon the export of cocao, gold, and oil to pay for imports of everything. But, the NDC certainly showed itself incapable of addressing these problems in the last few years.

Another Semester comes to an End

My first semester of teaching in Kurdistan is almost at an end. It had some significant differences than my teaching in Ghana. The biggest one was that I taught three Civ 101 classes and only one more advanced history class. I am hoping to be able to move permanently to Civ 102 from now on since I am a modern not an ancient historian. But, even so Civ 102 involves teaching first year students and that is a considerably different and more difficult task than teaching third and fourth year yet alone post-graduate students.

Thursday, December 08, 2016


At this point I am pretty sure this blog has no human readers other than my parents. But, just in case I am wrong about this above point I encourage any readers I might have to leave a comment. My thinking is that nobody will comment and that will be confirmation that all of the hits on my site counter are in fact bots and not real human beings. It seems really strange that 99% of my "readers" are robots and not humans.

A Tale of Two Islands

One island is a brutal dictatorship off the coast of the US that has been ruled by the same political party and indeed same family since 1959. The other is a liberal democracy off the coast of China that started out as a dictatorship under one family but, unlike the first island it has become a stable and free society that largely respects human rights. Yet, the fashionable thing among internet pundits seems to be to support the government of the first island and oppose even recognition of the second one. This is one of those things that is so stupid that only intellectuals can support it.

A Picture from Kurdistan

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Still more on Soviet Kurds

Tomorrow I finish up my week on Kurds in the USSR for my History of the Middle East class. Unlike some other diaspora nationalities in the Soviet Union such as the Koreans and Germans the NKVD only deported a minority of the Kurds living in the Caucasus to Kazakhstan and Central Asia in 1937 and 1944. The first wave of deportees from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan effected a little over 3,000 Kurds and the second from Georgia to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan entailed the uprooting of almost 9,000 Kurds. So close to 12,000 Kurds from the Caucasus initally ended up as special settlers out of a population of 76,000 (1939 census figure) in the USSR as a whole. The NKVD deported the Kurds in Georgia along with the Meskhetian (Ahiska) Turks and Hemshins. The three nationalities formed a single contingent on the NKVD rolls listing special settlers. This makes sorting out the exact number of Kurds condemned to be special settlers at any time after the initial deportation difficult. It is certain, however, that in addition to high mortality rates from 1944-1948 that a large number of Kurdish special settlers got reclassified as Turks or Azerbaijanis during the 1940s and 1950s.