This book has been a long time coming. The essays collected here span almost
four decades. Since each of the essays included acknowledgments when they
were published, the comments here address those who helped in the prepa-
ration of this collection, and the individuals and institutions that have had an
enduring impact on my life and work.
As a reviewer recently noted, I have had an atypical career. For much of my
working life I was part of the itinerant academic labor force, or what Richard
Walker (Geography Department, University of California, Berkeley), calls the
“lumpen professoriat.” While marginality is commonly romanticized, I am
acutely aware of its challenges. I have been sustained by a network of excep-
tional friends and colleagues, a series of informal study groups, and some of
the more anomalous institutions of academia. This book is a joyous occasion
to express my gratitude and appreciation.
I have been immensely privileged to have been educated and inspired by
many brilliant thinkers and scrupulous scholars. Richard Bailey, Alton (Pete)
Becker, Kent Flannery, Raymond Kelly, Marshall Sahlins, Charles Tilly, and
Henry Wright were among my most influential teachers when I was a student
at Michigan. Each had a unique and formative impact on my intellectual habits
and sensibilities. Since my return to Michigan as a faculty member, Tomoko
Masuzawa and Tom Trautmann have been similarly influential as colleagues:
their work has profoundly reshaped my own. I can never thank Gillian Feeley-
Harnik, David Halperin, Erik Mueggler, Abigail Stewart, and Valerie Traub
enough for their generosity, wise counsel, and intense engagement with my
work. I am deeply grateful for the support of a small writers group into which
I was warmly welcomed: Rebecca Hardin, Nadine Naber, Julia Paley, Damani
Partridge, Elizabeth (Liz) Roberts, and Miriam Ticktin, all struggling with
manuscripts of their own.
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