Right, sort of.* I study a few very specific aspects of politics: political violence, religion-and-politics, and the Middle East. Obviously there is a substantial of overlap between these three fields, and when that occurs I am doubly or even triply fascinated, but I am also interested in them independently of one another. For instance, a paper that I'm working on about violence in Mexico is about as interesting to me as a book about religion and politics in Europe, which is in turn about as interesting as an ongoing project about Turkish foreign policy.

Which brings me to the introduction to this blog. Since I'm in DC today presenting a portion of that Turkish project, it seemed like as good a time as any to get this started. It's been in the back of my mind for a while, but being here gave me the impetus to start. Today my coauthor/mentor and I presented a paper to the Young Scholars on Turkey (YSOT) Conference. I may do a follow-up post about our topic and how it develops, but for now suffice to say that it was well received.

As I continue my work on the projects mentioned, and develop new lines of research, I will mention them here. This blog will also serve as a catch-all for outlining my own thoughts on topics raised in the media or in my studies, and for giving updates that may be of general interest. As a rule, I plan to write like strangers are reading, even if in reality no one is. Any benefit derived from this blog by its readers is purely incidental to its may purpose of forcing me to get in the regular habit of writing, which will in turn stimulate further thinking.

*The ability to give qualified answers like this is considered de rigueur in academia, which should be helpful as I progress through graduate school and into the profession.