Unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed

Just returned from an enjoyable but exhausting couple of days in London, presenting at the INFORM session at the London School of Economics. I say ‘enjoyable’, but it was a bit stressful. On the way there, I left my passport, so had to go back for it, and I eventually arrived at the front gate of the airport at 8:03, for a plane whose gate closed as 8:15. So I was too stressed to sleep on the plane, etc. But it was great to see pals like Kim Knott, Matt Francis, Titus Hjelm, Beth Singler and Eileen, Amanda and Suzanne from INFORM, and to make new friends and colleagues.
It had already been a busy week, because two long-term publishing projects came together. One I will announce when the contract is inked, but I can hereby announce that I will be publishing my first monograph, UFOs, Conspiracy Theories and the New Age: Millennial Conspiracism, with Bloomsbury in January 2016, in their Advances in Religious Studies series. As well as having a strong editorial team, Bloomsbury guarantee that the book will be available as an affordable paperback (although not straight away, regretably). I felt strongly that I wanted this to be available outside of academia, but I lack the clout (or academic capital, to be more post-structuralist) to have demanded this of some other publishers. And while I didn’t actually approach them, I can’t imagine one of the more mainstream bookshop-friendly academic presses like OUP even considering going near a book with that title by an unknown author. Expect to hear lots more about this in the coming months.
The Unwritten (Mike Carey and Peter Gross) reached its end and its 70th issue. I loved the set-up (stories are magic and reality is a story and where does story end and so who creates and dammit #everythingisfiction) and generally the execution, despite the series sometimes feeling like it was spinning its wheels unnecessarily (although by no means as much as other work by Carey and Gross have). A good read though, especially if you’re Ethan Quillen.
Clementine is a novella (or maybe novelette) in Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, which I have enjoyed quite a bit. This one concerns the notorious confederate spy Belle Boyd, recently turned private detective, and her quarry, the gigantic airship pirate and free slave, Croggan Hainey. It wasn’t my favourite in the series, but Priest’s prose is as sharp as ever and her characters vividly drawn, particularly the female ones. It’s a believable and consistent world, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a film or TV series before long.


4 thoughts on “Unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed

  1. Anonymus February 22, 2015 / 2:03 pm

    You’re not that unknown anymore. Your work is being refered to by some of the most important researchers of the ascending generation ex. here: http://www.occult-minds.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Asprem-and-Dyrendal-Conspirituality-Reconsidered-JCR-POSTPRINT.pdf (polemically, but still – one is also judged by the kind of polemists one has). In your field, where young academicians seem to be more promising overall than the generation of their mentors, it takes a single strong entry to become notable – see the example of, say, Julian Strube. The question is, whether the publishers have grasped that fact yet.

    • David Robertson February 23, 2015 / 9:36 am

      Thanks anonymus! Although the commissioner for Religious Studies was keen on the book, it still took a lot of persuading to get the higher powers to agree to it. But hopefully, they won’t regret it.

      I should probably post about that article at some point. Dyrendal and Asprem are colleagues, but I was a bit miffed at being described as “building off Ward and Voas’ piece” as I have never once used the term “conspirituality” (except when specifically describing that paper in the lit review of my thesis), and had done my MA thesis on the topic before theirs was published. But I was glad of the citation, certainly. And I know there are a couple more citations coming down the slow pipe of academic publishing…

      • Anonymus February 23, 2015 / 6:56 pm

        Regardless, in what they say about the continuities in esoteric discourse, their theses seem legitimate. What I find interesting about your approach is that it seems more appropriate for addressing the discontinuities in the evolution of ideas; I think these make it possible for those ideas to “bleed” into other discourses, and thus they also lay ground for the subsequent “discovery” of complementarity of various such ideas (which, unbeknowst to their holders, have common historical source), like you show on the example of David Icke. This is why I’m following your work – I’m interested in the mechanisms and role of such discontinuities.
        So if you could make some points on those in that post… just a suggestion.

  2. David Robertson February 23, 2015 / 7:50 pm

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good piece in every other respect. I guess the approaches to historiography are different – theirs historical (seeking continuity and narrative) and mine archaeological, seeking out discontinuity and transformation. Following Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge (1969), each strata uncovered reveals new structures built upon the old, so we see each strata of the idea as a new development, adaptation, appropriation or embellishment. Thanks, you’ve given me some food for thought.

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