Biking brain Boyer begins to blog

Dean of the College John Boyer's new blog, Spacious Ideas, might just become a modern-day salon.

BoyerIt has long been known in certain undergraduate circles that Dean of the College John Boyer, AM'69, PhD'75, is so cool. As dean of the College since 1992, Boyer presided over its rebirth as the hip, laid-back side of the intellectual life at the University. He is a coeditor of the preeminent American journal of European history, the Journal of Modern History, and serves as the University of Chicago's main modern historian, having written volumes on the topic. Boyer's scholarship on the Hapsburg Empire (the coolest empire) has won awards in Austria. And according to his Wikipedia page, "In 2009 John Boyer participated in the World Beard and Moustache Championships, a competition where men display their facial hair. His participation helped boost the contest's popularity and made 2009 one of the championship's most successful seasons." If it's true (and I kind of doubt it is): super-cool.

And Boyer's new blog, Spacious Ideas, promises to be so cool, too! Named in reference to a 1962 speech given by one of Boyer's favorite college deans, Alan Simpson (how cool is it that he has favorite deans?), Boyer wrote, "My hope is that this blog will be a forum for spacious ideas of all kinds, a place where the wisdom of the world can mingle with the learning of the cloister." Not only will he write about "everyday life in the College, my research on the history of the University and the College, and my scholarly work on the Hapsburg Empire," but he'll enlist colleagues to write "and give a sense of the 'full flavor,' as Simpson called it, of their fields."

Boyer even shows what he's reading—at present, professor Raghuram Rajan's Fault Lines, a smart book I would read if I weren't scared out of my mind at the employment implications of the recession—a pretty cool feature that plays up what makes this blog really interesting: people are hungry to learn more about and hear from the really smart, really informed, and very influential people teaching here. And just as it was in the 18th-century Paris salons, comments, suggestions, and ideas will be welcome, Boyer writes.

Dean Boyer, consider my RSS feed yours.

Asher Klein, '11

August 11, 2010