Life in the Middle Atlas

There are a million pictures of the old medinas of Fes and Marrakesh, and justifiably so. Those are two of the most amazing places on Earth. Just 45 minutes south from Fes, as the old beat up grand taxi drives, however, is a world that attracts much less attention. That is where I had the privilege of working for two years in a little town called Imouzzer Kandar. This post is an attempt to catalogue my experience of that special place in as few images as possible.

Thoughts from an Economics Conference

I am sitting at the John Wayne Airport (did he build it?) reflecting on the conference I just attended “The Economics of Religion”, held at Chapman University. It was my first economics conference and I thoroughly enjoyed it, perhaps less so because of the material presented (much of it, particularly the modeling components, were way over my head), but just because of all the great people I met and the collegial atmosphere that prevailed.

What is the Value of Democracy

On June 1, 2021, one hundred and ninety-seven political scientists signed a “Statement of Concern” about “threats to American Democracy.”1 As evidence for the precariousness of democracy in this country, the signatories list the attempts to deligitimize the national election by former President Trump and his allies, voter suppression legislation masquerading as voter ID laws arising from Republican-controlled legislatures, and the continued practice of gerrymandering.2 The authors take the fact that these behaviours are corrosive to democracy as a given.

2021 Media Review

This year I kept track of both books and movies. Let’s start with books. These were my three favourite books read in 2021: Circe Before Marvel’s horrible multiverse there was the Greek mythoverse. Over generations, the Greeks built a shared collection of stories with reappearing characters and a somewhat orderly timeline. Circe, as a character, appears in the Odyssey, but doesn’t play a particularly large role. In this book, Madeline Miller, who has an MA in Classics and has taught Greek for fifteen years, continues in that tradition of extending their mythical universe.

Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion

This summer one of my tasks as a research assistant has been to conduct a literature search on recent articles within political science and sociology that pertain to ethnic diversity and social cohesion or trust. While the literature still appears rather divided, the majority of recent publications appear to take a negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social cohesion as a given starting point, and then move to challenge that apparent consensus (e.