I had lunch today with an immigrant friend from the former Yugoslavia, a naturalized American citizen who left as a child refugee from the Balkan wars of the 1990s. It doesn't matter whether he's a Catholic Croat, a Serbian Orthodox, or a Muslim Bosniak. He could be any one of them, and his story would be the same (for the record, he's secular).

I have a thesis (it seems I'm beginning a lot of sentences this way) that there's a direction correlation between conservatism and the tendency to believe that one has not introduced someone until their religious affiliation (or lack thereof) is known. The academic parallel (which I've, again, seen mostly amongst conservatives) is to introduce someone by mentioning their thesis advisor, as though this sufficed as bona fides.

Also: theses on Straussians:

1. Third-generation Straussians try to pretend not to be Straussians.
2. Four-generation Straussians (of whom, I suppose, I should number myself one) don't care about intellectual genealogies.
3. Almost everyone is more methodologically pluralist than they let on; the only die-hards are converts.

1 comment:

Nicholas said...

On Advisors: it's one thing, of course, for new-ish PhDs, who, for better or worse, get the reputation given to their advisors and the people before them who were students of the same professor. I've heard this about people with tenure, which seems something else entirely.