Category Archives: Sheer Raw Geekery

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

#Prefectus Must Fall: Being a True History of Uagadou, the Wizarding School

So there’s been a spot of disagreement about how to think about state systems in Africa in relationship to J.K. Rowling’s world-building for her Harry Potter novels. I feel a bit bad about perceptions that I was being unfair, but … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Sheer Raw Geekery | 8 Comments

On Uagadou, the African Wizarding School

I have a good deal to say on the plausibility of a wizarding school in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy world, and the first would be that I should know better than to send Twitter to do a blog’s job, I guess. … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Africa, Sheer Raw Geekery | 10 Comments

The (Ab)Uses of Fantasy

Evidently I’m not alone in thinking that last week’s episode of Game of Thrones was a major disappointment. By this I (and other critics) do not mean that it was simply a case of poor craftmanship. Instead, it featured a … Continue reading

Posted in Popular Culture, Sheer Raw Geekery | 5 Comments

Teleology and the Fermi Paradox

I sometimes joke to my students that “teleology” is one of those things like “functionalism” that humanist intellectuals now instinctively recoil from or hiss at without even bothering to explain any longer to a witness who is less in-the-know what … Continue reading

Posted in Defining "Liberal Arts", Generalist's Work, Sheer Raw Geekery | 5 Comments

The Longue Duree of the Galactic Empire

In response to this symposium at Wired about the Battle of Hoth, my thoughts: “The overly episodic focus of military historians and policy experts rather typically leads them to ignore the deeper structural considerations shaping this period in the history … Continue reading

Posted in Sheer Raw Geekery | 5 Comments

What Has It Got In Its Pocketses?

Three movies for The Hobbit. Like a lot of other geeks, this makes me wary. (Non-geeks who know geeks are probably feeling despair instead, knowing they’re going to be dragged to all three.) Joking about the second film being a … Continue reading

Posted in Sheer Raw Geekery | 7 Comments


I really love the idea of courses which combine trying to apply a body of knowledge to a practical problem with exploring why said practical problem actually poses intellectually challenging questions with no clear answer. I’ve mentioned before at the … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Intellectual Property, Popular Culture, Sheer Raw Geekery | Comments Off on Adaptation

Geeking Out About Dragons and Alt-History

I’ve talked about Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series before, which is an alternate history focused on the premise that many of the major governments of the world between 1600-1800 have had access to intelligent dragons as military, economic and cultural resources. … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Popular Culture, Sheer Raw Geekery | 3 Comments