Hello! Here are some of the projects I am working on.
Giorgio Agamben is a contemporary Italian political philosopher who also writes about theology and the apostle Paul. I love his work, and I’m reading all of it. A teacher of time once suggested that rather than reading all the books on one subject, I should read all the books by one author, no matter how many subjects that author covers. For me, that’s Agamben.
To date, I have read 13 of his books. You can check the live updates (I’m such a nerd) on this page. They range all over the place, from a book about Pilate and Jesus, to one about the structure of oaths in the ancient world, to an analysis of Guy Debord’s work, to the history of poetry to… yeah.
I am planning to write something at the end of this project along the lines of “Reading Agamben for Christians” which will probably not be a published book, much more likely to be a series of blog posts or maybe I’ll turn it into some youtube videos. At this stage, I’m just trying to understand Agamben’s view and begin to think critically about it.
Started: July 2017
Finish: hopefully May 2020
BBC’s Top 100 Films of the 21st Century (So Far)
These movies are a great introduction to arthouse cinema without diving in headfirst (its an acquired taste that I’m still working on.) I had watched 2 of them when I started on this list, but now I’m at 29 of the 102 films. I hope to gain from this project a better appreciation for film as an art medium, and also to become better at analyzing movies for their themes and their meaning. You can catch the full list here. My favorites so far are No Country For Old Men (2007), Memento (2000), Synecdoche, New York (2008), and Boyhood (2014).
Started: January 2018
Finish: December 2019
Senior Thesis, “An Archaeology of Adolescence”
My Senior Honors Project is going to be an analysis of the idea of adolescence. The main question I want to ask is this: some people say that adolescence is a recent historical development, and that in the ancient world 13-18 year olds were considered adults. But is that true? Or, to what degree is that true? Is that true evenly for boys and girls, or is there a gendered effect? Is that true across religions, or have religious differences shaped the way that children transition into adulthood? Does economics play a role?
My (tentative) answer is that something analogous to “teenagers” has existed in every society, but that the modern teenager is still very different from all of those versions of adolescence. I’m not sure what this means, or how these can both be true. But that’s why I’m researching it! This matters because the way that 13-18 year olds identify with their age also changes the way that they understand those years of their life. Are they supposed to sit back and have fun? Or are they supposed to already be productive members of society? That self-understanding makes a big difference in their lives; the former will be hooligans, the latter burnt-out workaholics. Maybe both of those are wrong ways for teenagers to understand these years of their life. Hopefully this work will lead to some suggestions for youth ministry, though I’m primarily trying to put on my ‘critical sociology’ hat for this one, not my ‘youth pastor’ hat.
Started: August 2018
Finish: May 2020
A friend decided to use very few plastic straws this year, and I was like, yeah. Why not? What’s the point of plastic straws? They’re dumb.
(You can see that my environmentalist tendencies are not very strong.)
So I decided to get rid of them for the year, as much as possible. Here is a link to the page where I am keeping track IN REAL TIME (again, such a nerd) of how many plastic straws I have used each month. The goal is to use 12 or less in 2019.
Started: January 2019
Finish: December 2019