An Introduction of Sorts

[Note:  I originally made this my first post, but it quickly got so buried beneath other posts I thought to make it a page and explain the purpose and general aim of this blog.  Enjoy!]

Before making the web suffer another blog, I thought it useful to introduce my purpose for this specific blog as well as provide an example of the sort of material and approach the reader will find here.

A Personal Introduction

My name is Nathan Albright, and I am a historian.  (This is an ominous beginning–it sounds like one is introducing one’s self at a Historians Anonymous meeting.)  I am currently seeking to enter a Ph.D program in history in 2011.  I currently have an M.A. in Military History from Norwich University, where I graduated this past June.  I have a dissertation topic in mind for my Ph.D, which I am already conducting preliminary research for, though I wish not to bore you on that topic at present.  I have no doubt that many future blog entries will be about the process of researching for a dissertation–including reading, travel to dangerous foreign lands, and endless hours spent pouring over archival data.

A Note on the Title of the Blog

The title of this blog is “Edge Enduced Cohesion.”  I thought that it would be worthwhile at the beginning to explain what that means and why I have entitled this blog so.  In the book War And Peace And War:  The Life Cycles of Imperial Nations, cliohistorian Peter Turchin comments a lot about how group identities (in other words, ethnicities) are formed as a result of the process of hostility towards other, alien identities around them.  Social cohesion (asabiya, in Arabic) is formed as the result of conflict across metaethnic frontiers with those whose culture and worldview are so alien that there is mutual revulsion and incomprehensibility across the boundaries of the two cultures.  As a result of fierce conflict and warfare, a strong cohesion with one’s cohorts of the same worldview is formed.

Therefore, as a historian interested in how cultures break apart and join together (to explain why I am interested in that at this juncture would be too personal), I wish to have my history blog reflect this aspect of social cohesion being the result of fierce conflict.  By temperament, religious beliefs, educational background, and personal history I have a very strong interest in warfare and conflict on various levels and its repercussions.  As a historian, I seek to understand those conflicts that I see around me and participate in, as well as understand why the world is the way it is in detail, and explain it to others.

A Note on the Content of This Blog

This blog, being about the life and studies of a historian, will contain various types of posts.  I will try to provide the reader, through the use of tags, with fair warning as to the type of entry is present.  Some of them will be posts about the life and activities of a historian.  These would include (hopefully) posts about the process of being a graduate assistant, conducting interviews, applying for research grants, traveling to foreign lands, pouring through archives to find the right information, and so on.  Some of the posts will be about my thoughts on various historical subjects.  Some of these will be original to this blog, but others will be reprints on various other matters already published elsewhere (like Facebook) or already present in my personal archive of writings, but relevant to my behavior and philosophy as a historian.  Included here would be essays I wrote as a Master of Arts student, my thoughts on the origin and conduct of the American Civil War (warning:  I am a huge fan of the Union and of Abraham Lincoln in particular) or some other historical matter (I have written and studied a lot on Asian and Latin American history as well), or book reviews on my historical reading (which there is a large backlog of in my archives).  It is my hope that the content on this blog will be accessible to non-historians, but I am always willing to explain when it is not, if asked.

A Note on My Approach to Moderating

I am fond of lively and spirited conversation (as anyone who knows me personally or through online debates can attest), but there are a few things I will not tolerate on this blog or its comments, and I thought it fair to tell those ahead of time.  No spam links will be permitted.  Additionally, there will be no toleration of any malicious slander towards anyone, or any group of people.  There are blogs and fora where such speech is encouraged and tolerated–this is not one of them.  Additionally, I will not tolerate any hostile speech directed at me or my views–such comments will be deleted, and if persisted, such people responsible will be blocked.  You have been warned.  Other than those restrictions, I welcome the conversation of other students of history.  That said, let us begin.

32 Responses to An Introduction of Sorts

  1. Pingback: The Prism Has Many Faces | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. trhrtrrth says:

    Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car

  3. Steve Payne says:

    Hi Nathan
    I am writing to please request your permission to repost your CS Presidents article on my web site please
    Thanks for your interest

  4. Julio in Chile says:

    Wow this is really cool. While in Saudi Arabia I made friends with many Bedouins and got to attend some family meetings in the desert. In my opinion, Saudi Arabia is more democratic than people give it credit for. Many things are discussed among family members before decisions are made also they have very strong property rights. The King does the same he discusses things no just within his own family but with other families as well.

    • I have thought about that subject myself, namely, the phenomenon of desert egalitarianism. This may be the subject of a post today, as long as I have the time to flesh out my thoughts on the subject a bit more (I myself am from the egalitarians of the Appalachian mountain country of the United States–and remote hills and valleys, like deserts, tend to be filled with egalitarian people). It is possible that you were able to see a different side of Saudi Arabia than most see because of how you managed it. If you look from outside (whether as a Shi’ite dwelling near the Persian Gulf or an American soldier) you would see a very authoritarian state in Saudi Arabia (and in many of the other states of the regions), while from the inside you might see more of an informal system of rule where the power of the king or ruler appears more symbolic than autocratic and more based on traditional norms, and consultation with other powerful people, one’s own powerful relatives, and so on. The pictures from inside and out would be very different looking at a state like Saudi Arabia. Or Thailand for that matter.

  5. Pingback: What’s In A Greeting?: The Epistles of Paul « Gates of the City

  6. Pingback: Gates of the City

  7. Hector says:

    Have you applied to any PhD programs in history?

  8. Hector says:

    Which schools are you applying?

  9. Caroline says:

    Gee whizzos Nathan, I enter “Samuel as leader” and get your entry top of the list, and must say, most informative. Then I end up reading the blog replies. Also interesting. Am researching Godly leadership, for a conference in Lesotho this October, God placed Samuel on my heart, and now we are back to the beginning. I do trust God that you are well, that you are pursuing your hearts desire. Earlier today, reading book of Job, was made very aware of fact that God is always in control, as much as we may not realise it. Also, with relevance to your writings, that as in the book of Job, I must accept that part of what is written is from the heart of God, as Job’s friends did not always speak the truth. Anyway, much love to you Nathan, I trust you are prospering, and that all is well with you.

    • Thanks for your comment; I hope your studies for your conference go well and that you are prospering as well. As far as pursuing my heart’s desire, that is always a subject of considerable interest :).

  10. Pingback: Advice To A New Blogger | Edge Induced Cohesion

  11. Hi Nathan of the ‘US of A’ from an Aussie ‘down under’ where the ‘roos [kangaroos] live but not often go down the main drag [street] regardless of what some commentators broadcast occasionally . . . indeed some Aussies thin that those that may believe this are ‘a few roos short in the top paddock’ which translates colloquially as ‘thick as a brick’ i.e. a bit stupid in the thinking faculty . . . I live at a small coastal tourist-centred joint called Buderim which is on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland . . .
    Greatly appreciated your ‘Sons of Korah’ article blog [not ‘bog’] (which means ‘dunny’ or ‘long dop’ or even ‘loo’ or even ‘little house’ i.e. bathroom/toilet – though I regularly tell Australians if they ask where the bathroom is I tell them that the loo is over there, etc but there isn’t any bath in it -so just call it toilet and not get all ‘cultured’ aka genteel British or American style and ‘nicely’ refer to it as bathroom – what a lot of ‘bullshit’) in times gone by in Australia [often pronounced ‘Aaawwwsssstrrraaaalia’ by blokes of ‘Oz’ [Australian Aus Oz descent/heritage]. My point in all of this is to (a) congratulate you on your fine piece about the Sons of Korah and (b) offer you a Free Opportunity [sadly with no FREE 6 Steak knives as we have also been assaulted by entrepreneurial USA marketing strategies] to check out some unusual renditions of ‘English as she is spoke’ in Australia compared to proper English of the Queen in England or some ‘Tin Tanks’ – ‘Yanks’ [no offense intended] to familiarize yourself and possibly others with orstralian slang via

    Keep smiling and ‘In God I Trust’ even though it is somewhat ‘re-borrowed’ from the good ol’ USA banknote of “In God We Trust” [with or without liberal doses of persuasive judiciously applied firepower] but that could be a blog you wish to write about . . . Vietnam and all that and even the ‘bullshit’ and ‘song and dance’ about our glorious baptism of fire as soldiers that goes on in Australia every year on 25 April commemorating ANZAC Day and what a great stuff up the Poms made at Gallipolli landing and getting 1,000s of Aussies slaughtered for the good of the King and all that rubbish – the sooner we are made a republic the better though I am not toooo sure about either Hilarious Hillary or Dubious Donald being the new leaders of the Free World [whatever free means . . . .] Is it to emulate another culture or to stick quietly to a national viewpoint that may differ from ‘what we know is the best’ and here’s a few missiles to ensure that you conform [or even a few woomera launched spears or boomerangs] . . . . “Catchya mate!”

  12. P.S. I forgot to tick the box Notify me of new comments via email . . . so have done so now . . .

  13. Wolf says:

    Enjoy your website, Since your interest is history. Do you have any thoughts of the ethnic cleansing of people of ethnic germans from Eastern Europe ?

    • Thanks for asking this question. I have dealt with this question obliquely, after having visited Estonia, which has a lot of German folk architecture even now. Would you be interested in reading a larger discussion of the cleansing of the Volksdeutsche from Russia, the Baltic States, Poland, Prussia, and the Czech Republic in the aftermath of World War II? That was a horrifying story, to be sure.

  14. Pingback: Book Review: A Sort Of Life | Edge Induced Cohesion

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