Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Quick Update

I am still having problems with my home internet connection. I am not sure when I will get the problem solved. Things overall are pretty quiet and slow here in Arivaca. I have been doing alot of walking recently. For the last couple of weeks I have been walking home from town after riding in with my uncle. I can usually make the trip on foot in a little less than two hours.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

More Internet Problems

I am posting this from the Arivaca Library since my internet service at home has been acting strange. It keeps claiming that my firewall which is provided by my ISP is blocking its access. Yet, every time I have checked the firewall permissions in response to this problem it has all the needed programs listed as allowing full access. I am going to call my ISP on Tuesday and see what is up. It may just be that getting reliable internet access at Serenity Ranch is impossible. In which case my blogging is going to be less frequent.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Woodpecker Update

The other day my uncle went after the woodpecker with the pellet gun. He hit the bird a couple of times, but it has not solved the problem. Today the woodpecker is back with a vengence drilling holes into the side of the house. This appears to be a general problem with non-lethal solutions. If you leave recividists like the woodpecker alive they keep engaging in criminal behavior.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Arizona Statehood Day

On February 14, 1912, President Taft, using a golden pen, signed the proclaimation that made Arizona the forty-eighth state in the Union. This event came exactly fifty years after Jefferson Davis had proclaimed Arizona a territory of the Confederate States of America.

Madeline Ferrin Pare and Bert M. Fireman, Arizona Pageant: A Short History of the 48th State (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Historical Foundation, 1975), p. 220.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Picture of Arivaca

Most of the land around me for about a 50 mile radius looks like this picture. I took this photograph on Jalisco Road in Arivaca on 28 October 2005.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Guru Pohl Gets a Hollywood Gig

While academia may not want me it appears that Hollywood does. The other day I got a fan letter in my e-mail. I of course wrote back. Well today I received more e-mail from this woman. It turns out she works in the entertainment business in Los Angeles. From what I have been able to find out through the magic of Google most of her recent work has been in television. She is starting work on a new film project that involves one of my research interests. This in itself would be very cool. But, far cooler is the fact that she is hiring me as an historical consultant. From the information I have gathered so far this mainly involves reading and checking the script for mistakes and omissions. I hope I can parlay this experience into future consulting jobs. My next call could be from Ron Howard. I can hardly wait to be interviewed at the Oscars about my choice of fashion. I am thinking my ensemble of boots, tie dye t-shirt, jeans, hat and ZZ Top style beard could become the next big thing. In all seriousness, however, I am very excited about this recent bit of good fortune.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Picture of Otto's Chicken Shack

This is a picture of me at Otto's Chicken Shack and Hookah Lounge. My uncle took this photograph on 29 October 2005.

Guru Pohl's Introduction to the History of Kazakhstan and Central Asia

This is the second entry in my series of bibliographic posts. It is a list of good basic texts in English on the history of Kazakhstan and Central Asia under Soviet rule. It is by no means complete. So please feel free to suggest additional books in the comments. One thing to note is that there is very little being produced on the topic by people in US universities in recent decades. As I have noted before US universities have essentially abandoned research into the history of the region. Hence by neccessity this list has a lot of British writers from the 1950s and 1960s.

Allworth, Edward, ed., Central Asia: 130 Years of Russian Rule 3rd edition (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994).

Caroe, Olaf, Soviet Empire (London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1964).

Naumkin, Vitaly, ed., State, Religion and Society in Central Asia: A Post-Soviet Critique (Reading, UK: Ithaca Press, 1993).

Nove, Alec and Newth, J.A., The Soviet Middle East: A Model for Development? (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1967).

Olcott, Martha Brill, The Kazakhs 2nd edition(Stanford, CA: Hoover Institute, 1995).

Park, Alexander, Bolshevism in Turkestan 1917-1927 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957).

Rumer, Boris, Soviet Central Asia: "A Tragic Experiment" (London: Unwin Hyman Inc., 1989).

Rywkin, Michael, Moscow's Muslim Challenge: Soviet Central Asia (London: C. Hurst and Co., 1982).

Wheeler, Geoffrey, The Modern History of Soviet Central Asia (New York: Praeger, 1964).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Finally, a picture of me

This is the first photograph I have managed to upload to Blogger. It was taken in London by my friend Abdulhadi at Casa Blue on 4 November 2005.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Woodpeckers are in big trouble

The other day my uncle got the pellet gun he ordered to deal with the woodpecker problem. There are two of them. They bang on the outside of my office and drive me crazy. They have managed to do significant damage to the side of the house. Tomorrow my uncle will begin laying in wait to ambush the woodpeckers.

The Separation of Universities and Research

The separation between research and universities in the US at least when it comes to Eurasian history is just about complete. Almost all history searches advertised in the US place no value what so ever on research and publications and only count teaching experience. This is especially true regarding the history of Eurasia. Not counting document collections my Ph.D. dissertation which I wrote from 2002 to 2004 has 140 books and articles listed in the bibliography. The number of works in it written by people tenured in history departments at US universities and published in the last 12 years is a mere 15. That is fewer than the number of scholarly works published in the same period it cites by people without a university position. I had not really given this issue much thought at the time I wrote my dissertation. But, my experience on the job market made it painfully clear to me that universities in the US are only for teaching and that publications play almost no role in hiring decisions. I am not the only one who has noticed this removal of knowledge production from the university. Dr. Deniz Kandiyoti at SOAS and others have also commented on it. The separation of universities and research will most certainly only acclerate in the near future. The schism will also probably continue to be most pronounced in the US with regards to the historical study of the peoples and lands outside the Americas, the European Union and East Asia. Unfortunately in this time of transition there are few institutions hiring people who do historical research and writing.

There are two possiblities for the future of the study of history in the US that I can envision. First, that institutions separate from universities spring up for the purpose of historical research. I do not think such a scenario is likely. The second is that history becomes a mostly free lance affair and gradually is eliminated from institutions of education. This is already happening and it is a world wide movement. The removal of history as a subject of learning from secondary schools has been proposed in Scotland and Norway. History I believe will soon be relegated to the same position now occupied by Classics in the academy. At the same time I think historical research and writing outside the university will continue to grow. My hope is that such growth renders the universities rather than history as a subject irrelevant.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

State of the Blog Address

Trying to figure out who reads this blog is an occult craft that makes old style Sovietology back before Gorbachev look like a straight forward and exact science. I do not have a site meter, but I have checked some other quantitative tools. According to my Blogger Profile a total of 1500 people now have looked me up. Now it is possible that a few of those 1500 are the same people using different terminals. But, even taking them into account somewhere in the order of twice the population of Arivaca have viewed that page. Based on comments, e-mails and other sources I only have evidence that around 30 people have read this blog. Who are the other 1400+ people? I can not imagine that US and foreign intelligence agents assigned to watch me would number more than 20. I am having difficulty really believing that 1500 people have actually read this blog. If you are one of the people reading this blog I do not know and you are not a spook then I invite you to leave a note in the comments. If you are a US spook please send me an e-mail telling me how I can get a job working for your agency. I am willing to relocate anywhere in the world and I work cheap. People other than spooks with jobs to offer me should also contact me immediately. I figure there must be one among the 1500.

Of course it could be that most of the 1500 that visited my profile only visited here once never to return. But, other quantitative measures suggest that I do have some sort of regular readership. I have in the past estimated it at between half a dozen and a dozen people. According to Technorati this blog is in the top 75,000 out of over 25 million blogs. At first that seems to be a pretty good ranking. In reality it probably means that over 20 million blogs have been abandoned and currently have no regular readers. The Truth Laid Bear reports that my blog has evolved upward from being a multi-cellular organism to being a wiggly worm. My goal is to eventually become a vertebrate of some sort.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Something is Definitely Happening on the Border

I live about a dozen miles north of the Mexican border. In the last twenty four hours the Border Patrol has dramatically increased its activities in this area. Today in town I saw three rather than the usual one Border Patrol vehicles and rather than just sitting at the corner they were chasing down vehicles with their sirens. At the ranch the stepped up reconnaissance by the Border Patrol is even more apparent. Frequent sorties by low flying Border Patrol helicopters have been passing overhead on their way to the mountains southwest of us. I do not know exactly what is going on. I am quite sure it is the kind of thing that does not get covered in the media. Rather some historian will piece together the evidence decades from now when the relevant archives are declassified.