March-April 2017. This conference — held in a slow-paced Charlottesville only months before it would be awoken by white nationalist violence — was mainly a meeting of minds between political scientists and historians. I had the great honor of getting to discuss work by Elizabeth Borgwardt, and I also had the pleasure of sharing ideas (and drinks) with James Morrow, Erik Voeten, and David Luban.
Perhaps the highlight of the conference was kicking back post-conference at Mila Versteeg and Kevin Cope’s modern rustic home, a building that was converted from a Confederate uniform factory to a livable academic space. But I have to give a shout out to Chris Fariss, Charles Crabtree, Yon Lupu, and Cosette Creamer, who made sure to keep the party going each night.
Which reminds me. While a group of us were watching the NCAA Tournament, I heard the song “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears. This would be unremarkable, save for the fact that I had heard it the night before in a different bar. Being folksy, I would describe this as “dumb luck” or “a strange coincidence.” However, Yon Lupu, who is powered by a John Nash-like left brain, called this a “low probability event.” Indeed.