I will be in Thailand this summer for five weeks teaching a course for the University of Nevada, Reno, as a Visiting Professor. As part of the employment procedure, I had to sign a loyalty oath indicating “I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States, and the Constitution and Government of the State of Nevada, against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign…” Unlike the other papers I signed for the employment, thisone needed to be notarized. This created the amusing situation that I swore allegiance to Nevada in front of a German notary.
The good news for me: I get to teach in a creative study-abroad program in Chiangmai, Thailand. I also got to think about the symbolic importance such oaths in structuring society: Not a bad thing for a social scientist to do now and then.
And the really good news is for Nevada. I signed a similar oath to California when I started working for the State of California in the 1990s, and California is still safe from enemies foreign and domestic! Nevada will be too. Nevada, I got your back!
Tony Waters is czar and editor of Ethnography.com. He came to us from the Sociology department at California State University at Chico where he has been a professor since 1996. In 2016 though he suddenly found himself with a new gig at Payap University in northern Thailand where he is on the faculty of the Peace Studies Department. He has also been a guest professor in Germany, and Tanzania. In the past, his main interests have been international development and refugees in Thailand, Tanzania, and California. This reflects a former career in the Peace Corps (Thailand), and refugee camps (Thailand and Tanzania). His books include: Crime and Immigrant Youth (1999), Bureaucratizing the Good Samaritan (2001), The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture: Life Beneath of the Marketplace (2007), When Killing is a Crime (2007), and Schooling, Bureaucracy, and Childhood: Bureaucratizing the Child (2012). His hobby is trying to learn strange languages–and the mistakes that that implies. Tony is a prolific academic, you can read more of his work at academia.edu.or purchase one (or more!) of his books from Amazon.com.