As Professor of Political Science at California State University, Stanislaus, Jason C. Myers has long been interested in digging beneath the surface of political thought and finding out what’s actually going on. Democracy, equality, socialist, conservative … most of us use those words as if we know what they mean, but do we? Jason’s latest book, The Politics of Equality, offers some answers. Jason has also written numerous articles on ideology and political theory, and did extensive, firsthand field research in apartheid South Africa for his book Indirect Rule in South Africa. After hours, Jason is an accomplished jazz bassist. He has, of course, an interesting office.
What does your desk—the bare desk itself—look like, and how did you acquire it?
The desk in my office is from IKEA: light-colored wood top with a grey metal frame. It has a very clean, modernist look. I bought it myself.
What’s on your desk?
– A 1992 edition of the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary
– A small desk lamp, also from IKEA
– A frosted glass toothbrush holder, pressed into service as a pencil-and-pen cup
– A Black Pearl eraser
– A telephone
– An iMac computer
– A small metal statue of the Owl of Athena
– A set of grey/green letter trays, probably from the 1970s
– A mouse pad shaped like the Rosetta Stone
– A stack of graded essays
– A stack of essays to be graded
The stack of essays to be graded.
Are there artifacts in your office that relate to your current project?
On my door is a photocopy of a New Yorker cartoon in which a father shines a flashlight under his son’s bed saying, “See? No socialists.”
Are there living things in your office (besides yourself)?
There is a palm-like plant on top of a filing cabinet, near the window.
What else surrounds you?
Quite a few books. I am nearly out of bookshelf space and small ziggurats of unshelved books are beginning to appear on the floor.
What’s on the walls?
- My degrees
– A student evaluation of one of my courses. It states: “Dr. Myers has a vast knowledge of the subject, but the class does not seem to interest most of the students.”
– A map of South Africa, where I taught for several years
– A reproduction of the Checkpoint Charlie sign
What have you lost in your office that you really wish you could find?
My office is relatively neat, so not much tends to go missing in there.
What tools do you write with?
A combination of contemporary and primitive technologies: I enter reading notes and research data into a computer database and compose text on a computer word processor, but my outlining is done with pencil and paper.
Is anyone allowed to come in and clean?
The university’s janitorial staff used to vacuum offices and take out the trash every week. After several rounds of budget cuts, that doesn’t seem to happen any more.
T. Myers is a writer who does not share her brother’s (full disclosure!) admirable ability to keep an office where things are never lost.
(Photograph courtesy of Jason Myers. Book cover image courtesy of Zed Books. Image of Checkpoint Charlie sign from Wikipedia.)