Dissertation Writing

Maintaining concentration is a problem on more than one level when writing my dissertation. I cannot know how widely spread this problem might be among other PhD students. But, maybe if I describe it here, other students could benefit. This is not a post about dissertation writing secrets, plans, or advice. There are plenty other places on the internet and through university counseling centers to get others’ opinions in that regard. This post is more about a brain-challenge, a thought-hurdle that stands in my way. Continue reading Dissertation Writing

J. G. Renat – Early Modern Swedish Superhero

Johan Gustaf Renat (1682-1744) was an amazing historical figure, a Swedish man with an uncanny skill for survival in strange environments who traveled further afield into Turko-Mongol territory than practically any other European in his generation. He has left an interesting trail of documents and traces in others’ accounts of the time, but still one must rely on conjecture and speculation to put together many of the personal details of his life. Continue reading J. G. Renat – Early Modern Swedish Superhero

After the fact

First, a digression: several centuries ago, the English language was quite a different beast. I love to look through the entries at the online etymological dictionary for insights into the changing vocabulary of English as a means to getting at the change in thinking patterns over time. Many times it is the most mundane or boring words that have the most interesting entries. A good example is the entry for “the.” Continue reading After the fact

Histories and Stories

I’m hoping to share more translations, but in the meantime I wanted to put together some words to articulate an idea. It’s an idea I’ve had as long as I’ve studied the history of Kazakhstan. I haven’t questioned or reconsidered this idea critically, though. Continue reading Histories and Stories