Tuesday, April 10, 2018

You Tube Channel

I have started a Youtube Channel. The first video can be found here. The second one is here. I will doing more of these and probably be blogging less as I move into the 21st Century.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

US Conference

This morning I wrote up a proposal and abstract for a conference paper in the US in November. If it is accepted it will be the first time I will be back in the US since 2011. Seven years is a long time and during those years I have spent significant time in Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Looking on the Internet it looks like the US collectively went insane in the last seven years since I have been gone.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Dying of Blogs

At this point blogs seem to be almost obsolete. All the interesting discussion of ideas seems to have migrated to Youtube in the last five years or so. I read very few other blogs now and they seem to have less and less interesting content. I am pretty sure that my audience has been stuck at less than a half dozen people for the last six or seven years. Of course this blog's main function has been merely as an electronic diary for myself for quite some time now.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

New Year's Break

My New Year's break is almost over. Tomorrow I go back to work. Besides going up into the mountains I didn't do anything special. I went to the gym to work out a lot. I ate at B to B a lot. At one of my lunches at B to B I witnessed a gun battle on the street below. But, I still have no idea what it was about. Yesterday, I was taking a cab to the park by the bazaar to eat Nepali food when I saw my friend in the car in front of me and he told me to get in with him. Then his car broke down before we reached the bazaar and we ended up taking the bus to the park. Other than that I didn't do much.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New Article on Germans in Labor Army Available

My article, "Forced Labor in a Socialist State: Ethnic Germans from Kazakhstan and Central Asia in the Labor Army - 1941-1957" is now available on my Academia.edu site. Just click the link on the title of the article.

Happy New Year

Yesterday I went up to the mountains with some Kurdish friends to celebrate the New Year. The green mountains were beautiful. The grilled fish was delicious. The weather was fantastic. Finally, I had a great time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Yesterday, I joined a gym in order to intensify and better organize the exercise my cardiologists have demanded. The coach there wrote me out a weekly exercise plan. I am hoping that this will at least delay for a significant period having to have anymore stents inserted in my arteries.

Monday, March 12, 2018

I Now Have Iraqi Residency (good for ten months)

I finally got my residency and work permit sorted out and got my passport back with another Iraqi visa. It is good until the middle of next January.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Next Semester

I got my schedule for fall 2018. Like this semester I am only teaching three large classes on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings from eight to eleven thirty. This is a reward for getting two articles accepted for publication before July 2018. It doesn't appear that any amount publishing will ever get me promotion here. But, at least it does get me "flexible schedule." Next semester's "flexible schedule" has two CIV 102 sections and one geography class.

Monday, March 05, 2018


It turns out that today is Raparin Day which is the day the uprising against Saddam Hussein began in Ranya. Which meant that my attempt to do business at the bank today failed since the bank was closed. For some reason our university is the only educational institution in all of southern Kurdistan that does not have the day off. So I was given no indication that today was anything other than a normal work day before I attempted to go to the bank.

Today is also the 65th anniversary of the death of Joseph Stalin. Unfortunately, the despot is more popular than ever. From everything I can see on the Internet it appears that the younger generation in the US is completely unaware of his crimes. But, American university students became a lost cause more hopeless than the Confederacy years ago.

The Weekly Grind

Yesterday, I graded over 80 quizzes. This morning I have been making progress on another eighty plus. But, I haven't finished the pile yet. I have fifteen minutes left of office hours and so far only one student has come in. Having my office hours from 7:30 to 9:00 in the morning has really cut down on the amount of stress in my life just as my cardiologists ordered.

Saturday, March 03, 2018


Yesterday, I had a brief video chat with my wife and daughter. Then I took a taxi to the bazaar and walked to the park to buy some Nepali noodles. There was one particularly annoying beggar woman who kept following me around and refused to leave me alone even though I kept telling her I had no money. After she finally left and I was able to finish my noodles, I took a walk through the bazaar and drank some tea.

Monday, February 26, 2018


It has now been raining almost nonstop for nearly two weeks here now. This is after after having absolutely no snow at all down here in the city this winter. The rain isn't that hard which is good because my umbrella committed suicide and I haven't been motivated enough to purchase a new one.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Another Week

The work week is finally over. In addition to lectures and endless marking of quizzes I have been discussing a conference proposal with a colleague in the US. It looks like I'll finally get back the US later this year. The last time I was there was January 2011.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Kurds in the USSR

My article Kurds in the USSR, 1917-1956 is now up on my academia.edu page. You can access it here. 

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Thank God it is Finally Thursday

I am very glad that the work week will finally becoming to an end today. I have classes from 8:00 am to 11:30 am and then Kurdish class at 4:30-5:30. But, I do not have to go to Baghdad this weekend so I at least have a short break to rest.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

This Morning

It is now 8:30 am and I have been at work for one hour and twenty minutes. During that time I have accomplished three things. Two of them are routine matters relating to teaching. The third thing was revising a syllabus for a proposed course on the history of the USSR. This is proving to take a lot longer and a lot more revision than I initially anticipated. Fortunately, I haven't had to take anything out yet. I have just had to add stuff. Everybody else so far seems to want me to put more emphasis on international relations and geopolitics. I suspect this is because history itself as a discipline is extremely devalued in the region compared to IR.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

New Publication on Germans from Kazakhstan and Central Asia

My article, "Forced Labor in a Socialist State: Ethnic Germans from Kazakhstan and Central Asia in the Labor Army, 1941-1957" will be appearing in The Journal of International Crimes and History next month.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Iraqi Visa Obtained

I got back from Baghdad with an Iraqi visa. The trip is exhausting due mainly to the huge number of security checks in both Sulaimani and Baghdad. It is easy to get into Sulaimani, but hard to get out. Likewise with Baghdad.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Random accomplishments of the week

This week I finished revising another journal article that will hopefully be published soon. I also submitted another journal article to a big name journal. I have no idea how that one will fare. I just hope it gets sent out to peer review.

Saturday, I have to go to Baghdad to pick up my Iraqi visa. Sunday I give my first test as opposed to quiz of the semester. I gave my first quiz on Tuesday. I haven't graded it yet.

A German academic currently working in the UK contacted me about Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan this week.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The end of the first week of the semester

Today at 11:30 am I finished the first week of the semester. Having a TA to take roll is great. It looks like it will end all of the hassle associated with the this task. Already there are some people burning through their eight allotted absences before they receive an F.

I really like the schedule of only having classes 8 am to 11:30 am Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursdays. It means I finish before lunch and get everything over fast. It also means I have all Monday and Wednesday to do other things. This week I got all the revisions including redoing all the footnotes as in-text citations done for a journal article which will come out in June. That means I can probably get the same schedule next semester as well since priority in scheduling is given to those that have a peer reviewed publication in the previous semester.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Middle of the Week

Yesterday I taught three classes all in a row. I had my new TA with me this time. I am hoping that her additional presence makes managing the classes easier this semester. In particular I am hoping that having her take attendance for me alleviates the problem of absenteeism. 

My new flatmate sent to replace the one that moved out on Monday also arrived last night. I thought he would come earlier. But, his departure was delayed. I am guessing he stays longer than the last one so I won't get the flat cleaned again for free this week. The first guy was from Syria and the new guy is from Iran.

This morning I had one student show up for my office hours. That gave me time to redo the citations from footnotes to in-text citations on the revised journal article I submitted two days ago. I got an email about this needed change from the editor yesterday.  Fortunately, it only took me an hour and a half to retype all of the citations. So I managed to get the article off before breakfast today. The article will be coming out in June.

I have a department meeting at 5:40 pm and I don't feel like going home and then coming back. So on my list of things to do today I have some reading for my 306 class, cleaning my desk, and redoing the citations on another journal article. I probably won't do the last one today since I spent this morning doing a very similar and boring task.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Week So Far

Classes started Sunday. I have three from 8 am to 11:30. The classes are quite large and there is still a horde of people trying to get into them. The ratio of students to professors keeps getting bigger and bigger.

My new flatmate is already moving out and they are moving in a new one. This means I get the flat cleaned again even though it really doesn't need it this time. At least the cleanings are free.

I have put my office hours at 7:30 am to 9:00 am in the morning on Mondays and Wednesdays. Surprisingly, I actually had a student show up this morning. Then I spent until lunch revising a journal article due next month. I got the revisions finished and sent it off today. If everything goes right the revisions will be accepted and the article will be published in June. Which I hope is soon enough to get flexible schedule for fall 2018.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Since my wife and daughter coming to Kurdistan from Kyrgyzstan has been delayed for so long the school finally moved another faculty member into my giant flat. He arrived last night which was later than expected due to visa and travel problems. I am not sure how long the arrangement will last since he plans to move his family from Syria to here in the next couple months. At which point one of us will have to move somewhere else. But, I did get the flat cleaned for free by the school two days ago as a result. He is also an IT guy so I am hoping that I won't have anymore problems with the wifi or that if I do he can solve them.

We had our first meeting yesterday. Evidently AUIS is now in partnership with University of Arizona in Tucson. Practically, I am told this means AUIS students will also receive a U of A degree and faculty like myself will have the unpaid position of adjuncts at U of A in addition to our position at AUIS. So I finally will get a faculty position at a big name state university in the US. Ironically, University of Arizona is also where my Ph.D. supervisor from SOAS, Benjamin Fortna, is now a very big name. Which is something he richly deserves if for no other reason than he wrote me many hundreds of letters of recommendation for jobs. Three of those jobs, AUCA, UG, and AUIS I actually got in very large part due to his efforts. God works in very mysterious ways.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Work so far

Today, I finished revising my syllabi for this semester's classes. I added two new books to my History of the World 1945 to Present course.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stress Reduction

The cardiologists have decreed that I have to give up stress in addition to quitting smoking narghile. Those are the only two things I have to give up completely. I can still have red meat twice a week. Giving up narghile again was pretty easy. But, stress is something that is inflicted upon you from outside so you don't have the option of just avoiding it like smoking. But, I can try and avoid contact with people that cause stress. One thing I am going to do on this front is have my office hours from 7:30 am to 9:00 am.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Random Doings

It has now been over a week since I had the stent done. We still have a little over a week before classes start. Today I walked over to a cafe to have lentil soup and bread for breakfast and read some Norwegian noir. The book manuscript which is on the Soviet deportation of ethnic Germans from the Volga and other regions to Kazakhstan and Siberia and their subsequent treatment is now up to 12 pages. Yesterday, I met with a recent graduate about hiring her as a TA for the semester. It looks like we will formalize the paperwork on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Back to Work

Okay, today I started work on writing a book. I got a little over a page done. I figure if I do at least a page a day, I can finish it before the end of the year.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


For those concerned about my health, the insertion of stent into a blocked artery was successful on Thursday. I am back up and easing back into work today. I tidied up my desk and updated the anti-virus definitions on my work computer. I feel quite good and the chest pains have stopped.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


This morning it rained a lot. But, fortunately I was inside for most of the downpour. We are on break right now. For Christmas and Boxing Day I went up to Erbil and Dohuk with a friend for a few days. I saw the Citadel in Erbil and had some excellent food in both Erbil and Dohuk. Here are a couple of photographs from the trip. I will post more later.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year

To anybody reading this I wish you a Happy New Year. I am not exactly sure what is going to happen with this blog in the upcoming year. But, I am open to suggestions.