I started this blog over 6 years ago, back when I was still living in Paris. A year later, I moved to Beirut and took the blog with me. Since then, I’ve taken it with me on trips to Ethiopia, Yemen, Palestine/Israel, Syria, Rwanda the DRC and other varied places.
Readership has ebbed and flowed, depending on what’s happening in Lebanon or whether I’m being outed as “the White Man” by the Angry Arab. More than one reader has noticed the radio silence over the last few months (with a couple even accusing me, laughably, of not wanting to criticize Arab regimes). The truth of the matter is that I’ve kept my online output confined to Twitter for a much more mundane reason. Last year, I decided to leave Lebanon to go back to school in a different field, so I moved this August to Chicago, where I’m now doing a doctoral program in political science at Northwestern University.
Over the last 6 years or so, I’ve kept a half-hearted veil of anonymity that seems kind of pointless at this juncture, so let me finally introduce myself. My name is Sean Lee, and I grew up in Alabama, left the US 12 years ago to live, work and study in Paris, where I was until I moved to Beirut in 2006 just before the war. For the last 4 years, I taught full time at AUB, mostly in the English Department. I moved to this summer Chicago and am trying to regain my bearings in America after spending most of my adult life abroad. For reasons familial and academic, I’ll be maintaining strong ties to the Arab world, especially Lebanon and Palestine.
So where does this leave the blog? I thought long and hard about boarding up the windows and moving on to other things, but I’ve decided finally to try to balance my other commitments with the blog. Having moved from one side of the desk to the other, I find myself in the odd position of being a grown-ass man with math homework, and lots of it. Needless to say, the time commitment of a doctoral program is demanding, and I’m still trying to iron out a schedule that works for me. So while blogging will always come a very distant third to family and work, I’d really like to make this work again.
Substantively speaking, I’m going to try to keep this is as separate from my studies as possible. So don’t worry, I won’t be boring you readers (both of you!) with epistemological debates on causal inference or opinions on Perry Anderson’s view of the absolutist state. I do, however, hope to get back to some of my interests that I’ve neglected for a while (namely Central Africa), but for those of you who thrive on debates about Middle Eastern politics: don’t worry, there will be plenty of that too.
So with that, ahlan w sahlan. Let’s try to see more of each other from now on.