About Us

We are (in order of assembly) Carl Dyke, Asher Kay, John McCreery, Jacob Lee, Chuck Dyke, and Greg Afinogenov:

Carl teaches mostly introductory world history at a nice little regional university in North Carolina, USA. My seminars cover historiography, early modern to modern European society, culture and politics in global perspective, the modern world system, the history of formal and informal thought, gender, race and ethnicity, identity, and occasionally Latin America. In 2008-9 and again in 2012-3 I was named my university’s professor of the year. I mention this because it was a nice honor and I’ve been instructed not to be shy about it. (I should also mention that although my university supports my ideas and practices as part of the productive diversity of a liberal arts community, it does not necessarily share them.)

just another white boy in academe.

just another white boy in academe.

Because my training encompasses their theoretical underpinnings, during my professional apprenticeship I also taught modern philosophy, sociology, and human development at various colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay area. I’m comfortable in many conversations and not very territorial.

My research covers the history of formal social and political theory in mostly Europe in mostly the 19th and 20th centuries, especially the intersections of Marxist and non-Marxist theories of complex adaptive systems. I also have an ongoing project on interdisciplinary approaches to the formation and operation of identity. When I’m teaching sometimes I look like this:

I waste time at a fabulous rate when I can, some might say chiefly on this blog, craft mobiles after Calder (and not) out of stuff that happens to be around, and operate a small regenerative farm.

This blog is for communicating. If for some reason it won’t do, you can try flatharmony at gmail dot com (it’s a Beach Boys joke). You can also check out my teaching / learning / assessment blog, Attention Surplus.


Asher Kay is a complete mystery, and possibly dangerous, in that serial-killer-neighbors-thought-was-nice-kept-to-himself kind of way. But he’s also an accomplished author and philosopher, so he’s well worth the risk.


And then there’s John McCreery:

Anthropologist, adman, activist.
In Taiwan I studied magicians.
In Japan I joined the guild.

A self-supporting independent scholar who has lived in Yokohama, Japan, since 1980. Came to Japan as an unemployed academic, then stumbled into a career in the Japanese advertising business. Left Japan’s second largest agency, Hakuhodo, in 1996 and joined The Word Works, Ltd.

In my view there are three kinds of intellectuals. Empire-builders are visionaries with big ideas that they hope will take over the world. Gardeners who have found a small piece of the world that they will know more intimately than anyone else. I belong to the traders. We travel between a variety of fields and if we have any utility, it is that we sometimes are able to point the empire-builders and gardeners to things that they haven’t noticed  from their bird’s eye view or nose-to-the-ground perspectives.


Jacob Lee checks out more books than he can write, writes more songs than he can read, and reads tales taller than he can climb. Aside from that, he is a man of catholic interests and broad knowledge in the informational, computational, and social sciences, and of narrow expertise in a handful of things that most other people don’t care about. A lot more about Jacob than you probably want to know can be found on his website http://www.jacoblee.net/.


Chuck Dyke, a.k.a. Dyke the Elder the Late, squatted for many years in the Philosophy Department at Temple University. Trained as an analytic philosopher at Brown, but with a formative primordial exposure to Marcuse and other continental expats at Brandeis and a deceptively brief side trip to CalTech, he then worked until his timely but lamented death at the intersections of theories and practices of complex dynamical systems. Over the years his research, teaching, and publication have covered Enlightenment and Risorgimento republicanisms; existentialism; the philosophy of economics; The Evolutionary Dynamics of Complex Systems; How Nature Speaks; the pedagogy of complexity; and horse operas, to name a few. He was (is?) also Carl’s dad.


Greg Afinogenov, a.k.a. Razumov, one of our most admired partners in the digital scholarship blogosphere, performs amazing feats of historical excavation and analysis at Slawkenbergius’ Tales.


10 Responses to “About Us”

  1. Carl,

    First, Dead Voles has just moved to a spot just behind Savage Minds at the top of my Anthropology bookmarks.
    Second, thanks for the positive feedback on SM.
    Third, are you familiar with Grant McCracken’s blog http://www.cultureby.com/ If not, you might want to have a look. Grant is a top-of-the-table corporate anthropologist who tracks contemporary culture on behalf of companies like Coca-Cola. Gives him an interesting perspective on this crazy world we inhabit.

    Finally, should you ever consider a trip to Japan, you are welcome to a futon in a tiny, tatami-floored guest room chez McCreery.


  2. John, it’s a treat to see you here. I always look forward to your comments at SM.

    Thanks for McCracken. I took a look and added the link to my blogroll. His stuff on identity is right up my alley.

    Futon on tatami is my idea of a good night’s rest. We’re not nearly so well appointed here but you’re welcome anytime. In the meantime, please drop by my humble blog whenever the mood moves you!

    Cheers – Carl

  3. Carl,

    What’s up? Dare I hope that the Vole in chief is not truly dead but either insanely busy or recreating himself?


  4. Hi John, I’m alive! Thanks for sticking with me. You nailed it – busy + uninspired = blog death, or rather, an undeath of half-written posts. I can really see the advantage of group blogs like Savage Minds where the creative baton can be passed around! But now I’m back from the AP reading in Colorado (shall post on that today or tomorrow) I think I’ll be able to pick back up, especially after this weekend’s road trip to Maine….

  5. To all and in particular John McCreery: Just wanted to let you know I’ve enjoyed this blog and that I liked your empire-builder/gardener/trader metaphor so much, I posted on it. I have a language acquisition related blog but thought it very much applies to my field.

  6. I am working on a book-blog which can be seen at [one word] theoryofirony.com, then clicking on either the “sample chapter” or “blog” buttons. My Rube Goldberg contraption of a brain processes the world with an odd, well-caffeinated kind of logic. Why is there an inverse proportion between the size of the print and the importance of the message? Art. Science. Religion. I call this eccentric thinking the Theory of Irony and if your busy schedule permits, why not give a read, leave a comment or create a link?


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