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Blaine D. Pope, Ph.D.By Blaine D. Pope, Ph.D.
First created
Blaine D. Pope, Ph.D.By Blaine D. Pope, Ph.D.
First created
$550
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
3
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, November 1 2015 6:59 AM UTC +00:00

About

This is a proposal to seek funding to help support publishing my book.  It will contain--for the first time in English--the complete classic, epic poem known as "The Book of Heraclius."  In addition to the epic itself, my book will also contain the following: 

  • historical and literary analyses, to provide readers with additional background and context
  • graphic images: maps, paintings, mosaics, helping to give the reader a better "feel" for the time period (samples included, below).

This is more than a book about "literature."  It is an integrative study, focusing on three thematic areas: history, language, and culture.  

THREE BROAD GOALS

1) develop and publish an easy-to-read book for use in various university departments, for lower-division undergraduates (focusing on, but not exclusive to, schools in the United States)

2) establish "The Book of Heraclius" as "standard reading" in selected departments in the US university system, as part of the African contribution to the broader arena of "world literature"

3) get copies of "The Book of Heraclius" into selected public libraries, starting with the author/editor's home region of Southern California

Scope of the Project:  How did a Roman emperor become so famous within intellectual circles in sub-Saharan Africa?  This book will present and explore issues related to this extended epic poem.  It's plot centers on the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire under Emperor Heraclius, the earliest days of the 7th century Islamic revolution (before Islam was widely known to the world, as "Islam"), and the subsequent war for Roman Syria.  It depicts heroic events and battle scenes on the scale and scope of the Greek classic, The Iliad, by Homer, and the Oliver Stone film, Alexander. The Book of Heraclius is a fictionalized account of actual historical events.   At the center of the poem’s plot sits its star: the enigmatic anti-hero, the "African" Roman Emperor, Flavius Heraclius Augustus.

This book will also look back across time and space, integrating a range of different academic disciplines to help readers grasp the depth of the Eastern Roman Empire’s political, economic, and military relationships—especially in Africa and the Middle East.

Target Audience: first and second year university students; plus, a general, educated readership seeking to understand more about ancient and Medieval history, military history, African literature, Islam, Christianity, and comparative culture.

Page length: 300 pages (estimated)

The Roman Empire in the year 600 CE, shortly before Heraclius came to power.
The Roman Empire in the year 600 CE, shortly before Heraclius came to power.
Heraclius enters Jerusalem, on foot, with the True Cross recovered after the Roman victory over Persia in 629 CE.
Heraclius enters Jerusalem, on foot, with the True Cross recovered after the Roman victory over Persia in 629 CE.

ACTIVITIES AND BUDGET

Most of the remaining work on this project will be done in the United States, at relatively low cost.  There will be a need for two (perhaps three) brief, focused periods of intensive field research, however.

Air travel (Kenya & Germany): the oldest known texts are in Kenya and Germany. Hence, the reason to travel LAX-Nairobi ($3100) & LAX-Berlin ($3700).  Time and funds permitting, there may be research trips to East Lansing, Michigan, to the campus of Michigan State University, and/or Bloomington, Indiana, to the campus of Indiana University.  

Various legal & administrative fees can cost anywhere between $1500-$3000, depending on circumstance.  I have therefore projected a cost of $2000.  

Small contingency of 10% for any unforeseen or previously unplanned activities, totaling $880.

TOTAL AMOUNT OF REQUEST: US $9,680 (rounded to $10,000)

***

Note: as of August 2015, this project is currently in contract negotiations with Indiana University Press (IUP).  This is a proposal to help defray the costs which I, the author, would otherwise have to bear.  I very much agree with the IUP vision: "We want to publish books that will matter twenty or even a hundred years from now."  

For more on IUP: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/.  

Sample / prototype of promotional poster.
Sample / prototype of promotional poster.

Risks and challenges

Challenges of Field Research: I have previously lived and worked abroad, in Africa and the Middle East. I understand very well the types of delays and bottlenecks that can sometimes occur, when working and conducting research there. The key is to have a "Plan B" (and maybe even a "Plan C"). Indeed, this is part of the reason I see myself as uniquely qualified to pursue this project--I have done this type of work before.

Challenge & Advantage (writing as a member of a team): Challenge--I will be relying on the good work of two very talented translators to translate early versions of the epic. Some versions will come from Arabic, as well as from an arcane dialect of Swahili (so far, our team has discovered 15 versions of the epic, across multiple countries). Advantage--One of those two translators is a former professor and boss of mine, from Yale University (Ann Biersteker, now at Michigan State University). The complex nature of this type of project is facilitated by working within a team.

Advantage in my favor in Field Research: I was trained to fluency in modern standard Swahili.

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    1) Personalized "Thank You" card. Specific acknowledgement of you, by name, as a "major contributor" in helping develop my book!

    2) "Book or Heraclius" promotional coffee mug

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    2) "Book or Heraclius" promotional coffee mug

    3) Copy of the book (paperback)

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Funding period

- (51 days)