Episode 19 – Tim Longman

8 06 2021

Professor Timothy Longman of Boston University joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast. Tim chats with Brent about growing up in Illinois and Kansas, with two politically active parents and a father who was a pastor. Professor Longman attended Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, pursuing his interests of religion and politics. While there, he also became politically active, working on the Mondale campaign in 1984. 

Tim talks about how the genocide changed the focus of his dissertation

He speaks about his graduate training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his interest in African politics and his decision, eventually, to focus on Rwanda as the basis for his dissertation, examining the role of the Christian churches there in its political transition. This included fieldwork in 1992 and 1993, but by the end of his time there it was becoming apparent that violence was a real possibility.

In 1994, Tim took a Visiting Assistant Professor position at Drake University, and it was there that Brent took his  first political science class taught by Tim in the Fall of 1994. Tim talks about how the genocide changed his focus of his dissertation, how he was able to defend in the Spring of 1995 while still a VAP at Drake, a period of temp work in Minneapolis that preceded his work with Human Rights Watch back in Rwanda where he worked closely with Dr. Alison Des Forges on examining the factors that led to and facilitated the genocide. Tim talks about his time at Vassar, then at Boston University, as well as his approach to writing, work/life balance, and more!