My name is Joshua P. Preston and I was raised in Montevideo, MN, and couldn’t be prouder of where I’m from: western Minnesota. Leaving high school a year early, I attended the University of Minnesota, Morris, where I spent the first semester sleeping out of my car (later, a horse barn). In 2013 I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science (Theory) and History (American), with honors.
As a student I spent two semesters as a Teaching Assistant (Introduction to U.S. History), served as a student representative to the Board of Regents, and with two years of experienced under my belt served three months as the chairman of the Student Senate, which represents all 67,000+ UMN students across five campuses. In 2012, as chairman, the student senate ruffled some conservative feathers by pushing and passing a resolution encouraging the University of Minnesota to stand for marriage equality. Unfortunately, I lost reelection to a full-term as that body’s chairman (by a landslide). This prompted me to spend my senior year of college doing independent studies, living out of my car and relying upon the help of those with an empty couch.
I ran off to the Jack Kerouac School’s Summer Writing Program (Boulder, CO) before spending the fall studying at the Initiative on Neuroscience and the Law (Houston, TX). In Spring 2013 I loitered at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and was awarded a Mondale Research Fellowship through the Humphrey School of Public Affairs (for something else, not the loitering).
- In 2010 I was selected to attend the first National Rural Youth Assembly in Santa Fe, NM. That same year I was invited to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University in Miami, FL.
- I’ve given presentations at the Blandin Broadband Initiative’s Annual Conference (2009, 2010), The Midwest Rural Assembly (2010), the Rural Policy Leadership Summit (2013), Minnesota Rural Arts and Culture Summit (2013).
- Since 2012 I have served as an at-large director of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s Executive Committee. I am a co-chair of the Personnel Committee and voting member of the Party Affairs & Coordinated Campaign Committee.
Today, May 31, 2013, I handed in my one month’s notice and will be starting a life in Houston, TX, as a Research Fellow at the Initiative on Neuroscience and the Law.
I’ve yet to figure out where I’m going to live or how I’m going to make money.
Email: Prest202 [at] morris.umn.edu (I’ll be changing this soon)
Current Research Projects:
- Heathen!: The Selected Hate-mail to Dr. PZ Myers, 2013, edited by the Morris Freethinkers.
- “Big Data,” Research Fellow, the Initiative on Neuroscience and the Law at Baylor College of Medicine.
- “Minnesota State Senator Allan Spear and the 1993 Human Rights Act,” Mondale Research Fellow, University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
- “The Problem of Wheat,” Poetry Manuscript.
- “The President’s Speech: Attention to International Human Rights in Post-Cold War Presidential Speeches,” Original Research. Preliminary work presented at the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Symposium (Morris, MN) and Midwest Political Science Undergraduate Research Conference (Mankato, MN).
- “Six Poems About Rural Minnesota,” Letterpress Zine, Editor with Samantha Bruno (St. Joseph, MN: Bruno Press). New Poems by Myself, George/Anne Meyers-Welsch, Chrissy Kolaya, Athena Kildegaard, Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen, and National Book Award Winner Robert Bly. (Funded through a grant from Springboard for the Arts).
- A Jefferson Bible for the 21st Century, 2012, Research Assistant (Washington, DC: American Humanist Press).
- “The Histories of Hubert H. Humphrey: Biographical Representations of Humphrey’s Role in the DFL Merger and Schism of 1948,” 2013, History Senior Seminar, University of Minnesota.
- “Space and Place: Rural Identity in Western Minnesota’s Literary Tradition,” 2012, Directed Study, University of Minnesota.
- “The Revolution of Neurolaw: A Foucauldian Critique,” 2012, Political Science Major Thesis, University of Minnesota.
- “Evolutionary Theory and the Social Contract,” 2012, Honors Thesis, University of Minnesota.
- The 2012 Midwest Science of Origins Conference
Things I would like to someday study:
- A Capabilities Approach to Behavioral Law.
- Political Anthropology and the Emergence of the State.
- A “Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party Reader” made up of primary sources from the state historical society.
- “Letters to a Young Progressive,” a volume of advice for young activists from major politicos.
I write or contribute to the following blogs:
- Pretty Awful Giraffes, a website dedicated to pictures of giraffes drawn by people who should not be drawing giraffes. I’m the founder.