As I have been writing drafts of my PhD dissertation, I am working in Microsoft Word for the sake of interoperability with committee members, with the intention of submitting the dissertation in LaTeX format after the defence. My footnotes are just unique identifiers to sources listed in my developing public bibliography. In it’s way it […]


From a social movement perspective, one of the most interesting things about 350.org’s fossil fuel divestment campaign is how they have proliferated the strategy among (often newly formed) independent groups. One mechanism has been written documents. Bill McKibben told me that reading the Carbon Tracker Initiative’s 2011 report “Unburnable Carbon: Are the World’s Financial Markets […]


Robertson Davies once told a group of architects that they were “the designers of the scenery against which we act out the drama of our personal lives.” Ron Thom seems to have taken this observation to heart in designing the college’s public rooms and especially the quadrangle, which, with its elegant clock tower, rectangular pools, […]


The most disturbing thing about the January 6th riot and Trump coup attempt has been the reaction of American politicians. Despite being witnesses and targets of the attack, politics as usual has persisted, including Trump’s dominance of the Republican party. This suggests a substantial danger that Americans in power will choose the victory of their […]


Avner Cohen provides a great summary of writing history (here under the particular limitations of studying Israel’s nuclear arsenal): The narrative I offer, then, is by nature incomplete and interpretative. Like all narratives, it is not written from God’s-eye view; rather, it is a story told through incomplete human and archival sources. Cohen, Avner. “Before […]


The scope of the Israeli request for French technological assistance, the details of which Shimon Peres spelled out in Paris in 1956/1957, was tantamount to a national proliferation commitment. Enough is now known about the extent of the Dimona deal to appreciate how determined Ben-Gurion was to pursue it. The Dimona nuclear complex was designed […]

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Because of its restrained and historically accurate storytelling, Bridge of Spies is one of my favourite films. Looking for something a bit meatier than podcasts to listen to on my exercise walks, I am trying out an Audible account with James Donovan’s Strangers on a Bridge: The Case of Colonel Abel. It’s the perfect kind […]


A very good blog post on what to expect from a PhD program (and especially what the university itself won’t tell you): So You Want To Go To Grad School (in the Academic Humanities)? Two paragraphs which are especially informative for people who don’t have recent personal experience in a PhD program: The most important […]


I have heard the theory that every time we remember something it is influenced by our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs at the time of remembering. That implies that the memories we think most about are the ones that have been most distorted from their original form. An exaggerated version is in effect for stories recounted […]


On a global level, bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks set the course of U.S. foreign policy for the first two decades of the twenty-first century and reshaped the Muslim world in ways that bin Laden certainly didn’t intend and that few could have predicted in the immediate aftermath. The Authorization for Use of Military Force, which […]