Nunal has been fairly static except for the periodic apologies for the lack of posting..usual disclaimers...

I've been all over for the past couple of weeks. I just spent several very enjoyable days at the conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. I presented a paper on my research on extraterritorial crime, extraterritorial abduction and extradition which basically compressed a couple chapters of the book I am writing. I thought it was pretty good and, more importantly, other people did as well. One never knows, toiling away in obscurity. The paper was, as you might imagine and as one historian said, rather "densely constructed", or as I would describe it more directly -- following the lyrics to one of Lefty Frizzell's great songs--"so round, firm, so fully packed." if you want to read it, send me an email and I can send it to you. (But that doesn't mean you won't still be on the hook to buy the book when it is finely done.)

Going to the SHAFR conference is always both very interesting and rewarding, not least because it is one of the few times that I am around people who understand what I am talking about. Really smart people too, I never ceased to be amazed how accomplished and sharp all of these historians are. I think more so than ever, or at least more interesting works are coming out, particularly those about American empire.

Before, during, and after the conference I spent some very welcome days in the National Archives. It is, perhaps, the one place in the world where I effortlessly attain perfect concentration. Not exactly a zen state, but definitely a productive one. I am not sure why, but having absolutely nothing else to do but read these old documents must have something to do with it. This becomes doubly true on the days it is open until 9 pm, where you can have 12 uninterrupted hours. That is, twelve hours of reading things that possibly nobody else in the world wants to read and, in some cases, certainly nobody has read since they were created since I untie notes in ancient string that disintegrates at the touch.

The sheer relentless torrent of material is something that needs to be experienced. I've been looking at borderlands cases from the 1870s, which come in batches of hundreds of boxes...


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