A big hello to anyone who’s newly arrived here as a result of my brief appearance, with the wonderful Katherine Harloe, on this morning’s Today programme on Radio 4 – especially since this blog was presented as my main claim to authority on the subject. I should make it clear from the start that I don’t write this thing full-time (and was I imagining the disdain in John Humphry’s voice at the thought that I did? What is happening to British universities these days..?); it’s very much a side-line compared with the teaching, administration and academic publications that actually produce a salary, something that I can keep going by scribbling posts on the train when travelling in to work, just as a way of keeping my brain functioning when there doesn’t seem to be any free time for thought… If only this were full-time, and I actually got money and/or kudos for doing it (okay, it has yielded an invitation onto the Today programme, which isn’t to be sneezed at).
One of the consequences of this is that posts here are, at best, rather erratic; I try to put something new up at least once a fortnight, but it really depends on whether I have any inspiration and the time in which to do something with it. Another consequence is that this has a tendency to be somewhat self-indulgent at times, to say the least; this is a chance for me to think through random ideas that interest me, which may end up becoming something more serious in due course or which may end their lives as a blog post, and so they really can be quite random – lots of Thucydides, but also economic history, German literature, pop music, beer, jazz and a fair amount of griping about certain tendencies in modern higher education. It all interests me; I don’t for a moment imagine that it will all interest anyone else, so feel free to skip as much as you like (and I do try to be quite careful with tags for different posts, so you should be able to find topics that do relate to your own interests).
Update: incidentally, if you are particularly interested in the issue of Thucydides, the Melian Dialogue and the current stand-off between Greece, Germany, the IMF and the Eurozone, the relevant posts are here, here (see also the second comment), here (again, see also the comments) and here (long post on Varoufakis and game theory), plus a more accessible version of the latter over at the Monkey Cage blog at the Washington Post.
I’m also particularly fond of the thesis I developed a couple of years ago, which I decided not to mention in this morning’s discussion, to the effect that Thucydides is actually a virus that turns people into shambling Neorealist zombies: here.