I will be blunt: Even the short posts at the Stage take hours of preparation. Fact checking my data, writing proper citations, drafting and redrafting paragraphs until their prose reaches acceptable clarity and verve—well, it all takes an enormous amount of time. This writing would not possible without the Scholar’s Stage membership community.
Membership is divided among three tiers of support (labeled on Patreon as “supporters,” “sponsors,” and “benefactors”), each of which is given access to exclusive Scholar’s Stage content. Supporters are given membership access to the Scholars Stage web-forum. Sponsors are given access to the forum as well, but also can read transcripts of all Scholar’s Stage podcast episodes and my monthly “Notes From All Over” round-ups. Benefactors have all of the benefits of the first two tiers, but are also invited to monthly “Ask Me Anything” calls on Zoom.
I participate actively in the forum. For me, the forum is a place to write up the sort of thing that I used to tweet in long threads before Twitter degraded into a toxic wasteland. The sort of thing I post includes ideas that I am still fleshing out and would like feedback on, ‘hot takes’ on recent news items or articles, and questions for my broader readership. Some, though not all, of this material will eventually make it to the Scholar’s Stage frontpage. When it does, you will see how your comments and counter-arguments on the forum have shaped my thinking.
There are other benefits to forum participation: the ability to connect with other Scholar’s Stage readers, access to some especially smart commentators who prefer not to leave their thoughts in public, and finally, early knowledge of podcast episode topics and interviewees. Before I do a new episode I write up a post that explains what reading the next podcast will be discussing and who that episode’s invited guest will be. Forum members are welcome to post questions that I might ask the guest, and are given the chance to read the essay, article, or book that we are discussing beforehand. In a charming way, the forum is something like a giant book club.
The forum can only be accessed through logging in with your Patreon account to confirm you are a current supporter. New members should read the forum rules before commenting.
For those who prefer to read their podcasts instead of listen to them, all episode transcripts are available here. To get a sense for what a “Notes From All Over” link collection looks like, see this one from several years ago, written before this sort of thing became gated content.
The monthly “Ask me Anything” Zoom calls are reserved for the highest tier. These are informal, one-hour discussions that follow the Chatham House Rule (“participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed”). Sometimes I will be joined by selected guests for these discussions; other times I will be the one taking questions. Each discussion will follow a theme (such as “the future of American conservatism,” “On ‘cultures that build,’” or “Marxism and modern China”). Recording is not allowed. These discussions are intended to be thoughtful, fun, and low key.
I am committed to keeping all of the essays, shorter posts, and podcast episodes published at The Scholar’s Stage free for everyone. Your support is what makes that possible. For more information about membership tiers, please head over to Patreon.
Those wishing to contribute beyond Patreon’s tier level are invited to do so. If you would like to make a particularly large contribution, provide your personal details on the consulting page. I will contact you shortly afterword to discuss the details.