Author Archives: Timothy Burke

On Harvard and Admission

Longer comment tomorrow, if I have time; and maybe also on the debate over the essay “The Case of Colonialism”. But in the interim, a quick thought on Harvard not admitting a promising student. ————————- Considering that Harvard is in … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | Leave a comment

Game of Rewrites

As we arrive at the end of the penultimate season of Game of Thrones, much of the credit given to its showrunners for significant improvements to Martin’s original draft of the story has to be qualified by the revelation that … Continue reading

Posted in Popular Culture, Sheer Raw Geekery | 1 Comment

When In Truth Did We Win Anything?

Progress is dead. In the same sense that Nietzsche spoke of the death of God, only to be habitually misunderstood by the same kinds of people that misunderstand Einstein saying that God does not play dice with the universe. The … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Production of History | 10 Comments

Recipe for Coalition: 1. Add Recognition, At Least Half a Cup.

David Atkins at Washington Monthly has a point about what progressives, Democrats and anyone else who is dismayed by the current political situation in the United States has to do. It’s entirely possible that at a grassroots level in many … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 13 Comments

On Confederate Counterfactuals

For some years, I’ve taught a course on counterfactual history. Unlike many scholarly historians, I find counterfactual history useful for a variety of reasons. For one, I accept the argument that a number of its proponents have made that all … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Production of History | 25 Comments

A Matter of Perspective

If you were going to strip away the layered sociocultural histories that surround opinions like “colleges are bad for America” or “bring back coal jobs”, you would have some baseline economic truth that you’d think would reorder those opinions. a) … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Politics | 5 Comments

Trump As Desecration

I still regret to some extent that at the beginning of Swarthmore College’s Aydelotte Foundation (before it received its current name) we decided that a good initial test of the ability to have conversations across and within disciplines was best … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 17 Comments

Helpful Hints for Skeptics

I suppose I knew in some way that there were people whose primary self-identification was “skeptic”, and even that there were people who saw themselves as part of the “skeptic community”. But it’s been interesting to encounter the kinds of … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Generalist's Work, Oath for Experts | 5 Comments

Some Work Is Hard

Dear friends, have you ever felt after reading an academic article that annoyed you, hearing a scholarly talk that seemed like nonsense to you, enduring a grant proposal that seemed like a waste of money to you, that you’d like … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Oath for Experts | 26 Comments

There’s No Hope For Him Now, Travis

We are at the moment. Oh, it might take a few more crises and outrages, but the institutions of established political power in Washington–and in the interstate systems that bind Washington to the world–have arrived at their reckoning with Trump. … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 5 Comments