Author Archives: William Ramp

William Ramp teaches sociology at the University of Lethbridge, in Alberta, Canada. He’s bemused to find himself in his sixth decade, nursing both a long and faulty memory, and age-inappropriate attitudes. He is fortunate to be organized, inspired and kept in line by dear friends and cheerfully-irreverent children. He contends as best he can with a host of garden-variety demons, imagining that some day he will beat them all, but suspecting he really should invite them in for coffee and a chat at fireside. Though trained in academic prose, he’s returning to a love of creative and incidental writing left behind in high school. That love is now his lifeline; a way to retain a footing on new paths and to contribute to uncaged and free-range conversation. His interests tend to be intellectual, but he delights in poring over antique machinery, grafting strange sprigs onto unsuspecting trees, listening to frogs in spring, watching thunderstorms outside and in bare feet, and talking to crows and magpies. He bumbles at night around the porch-lights of culture and ideas, and gravitates to redolent old things left at the curb of modern life. He tries not to let frustration with bad politics and worse news eclipse his sometimes wayward and over-ardent affections for the things of this world. Banner(1) photo used by permission of photographer Penny McCoy: www.pennyphotographics.com; banner(2) photo used by permission of photographer Bradley Rawlings; headshot photo by Louis-Philippe Valiquete, Laboratoire d'études durkheimienne, UQAM.

Communicating The Fall

“The problem is that all the political infighting leading up to the economic future of Britain or to the next US Presidential election fades into insignificance compared to the catastrophic effects of unchecked global warming. Those effects are no longer in the future. They are present now, if only we could but see them as […]

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An Admonition

“On the morning I left him for home, we did talk. About Donald Trump. Not at length: Dad tires easily. But the news coverage of Trump had clearly shaken him. The open departures from truth or even reality; the cheerful contradictions; the in-your-face hyperbole; the coarseness; the utter contempt for whole categories of human beings; […]

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Of Nostalgia & Going Sideways Beautifully

“There were fishing folk online, and their love of and longing for the boats and the water was palpable and poetic. What little I knew of tug crews from my early life had been different: these could be hard men; rough, no-nonsense and quick with profanity when a lubber or another boat got in their […]

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Recollections of a Child from the First Nuclear Age

“A regular camera shutter tripped at the initiation of a nuclear blast would deliver only a negative, assaulted by light so overwhelming that all detail is annihilated, leaving pure dark. Images of nuclear explosions had to be taken at very high speeds and at a distance that would ensure the survival of the equipment and […]

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Easter Out of Season

“Conviviality: the word is born of the marriage of con and vivere, ‘with’ + ‘live.’ Quam ad convivendum? How can we beckon, hold, live with and for each other in the face of a death both present and foretold; how do so in the name of lives present, remembered or forgotten; how even to assert—as […]

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Next Year’s Country, Last Year’s Dreams (Chapter 4: The Plains Series)

“For whatever reason, hearing and seeing snow geese that afternoon triggered something. Perhaps I recognized in that sighting something iconic about prairie life. It felt like I was granted a signal that I was now at home here, in a place to which I had migrated: a powerful, troubled, vulnerable place. A place from which, […]

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Reason’s Ghosts: The Settling & Unsettling of The Plains (Chapter 2: The Plains Series)

“On the 18th of December, 1635, François Derré, sieur de Gand, Commissary-General of the Hundred Associates (the trading and colonization company of New France), went ‘to the Cabins of the Savages’ to give new orders concerning the prohibition of the traffic in liquor. Pointedly, he referred to deaths among the Indians caused by abuse of […]

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Forgotten Commonwealths: Agrarian Legacies & Lessons (Chapter 3: The Plains Series)

“These developments are driven by dreams—of energy independence, economic recovery, political advantage, and profit. They coexist or clash with other dreams, some of which are born of recent concerns: food security, sustainable agriculture, re-wilding. Others revive far older matters: reassertion of Native sovereignty, a literal and figurative return of the buffalo, land claims. Ancient or […]

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Dreams in a Sliver of Time: Plains Songs (Chapter 1: The Plains Series)

“These developments are driven by dreams—of energy independence, economic recovery, political advantage, and profit. They coexist or clash with other dreams, some of which are born of recent concerns: food security, sustainable agriculture, re-wilding. Others revive far older matters: reassertion of Native sovereignty, a literal and figurative return of the buffalo, land claims. Ancient or […]

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Forgotten Commonwealths: Agrarian Legacies & Lessons

“These developments are driven by dreams—of energy independence, economic recovery, political advantage, and profit. They coexist or clash with other dreams, some of which are born of recent concerns: food security, sustainable agriculture, re-wilding. Others revive far older matters: reassertion of Native sovereignty, a literal and figurative return of the buffalo, land claims. Ancient or […]

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