The primary academic focus for Bill Meulemans has been the study of opposing political extremist groups in the United States, Israel. and Northern Ireland. At the beginning of his career, he was appointed to a post at Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University) where he brought extremist members of the left and right into his classroom. Meulemans developed models that illustrated the sources of their attitudes and methods for resolving community conflicts. His early research was centered in Oregon and California, but later he moved into the southern and eastern areas of the United States where he did a series of interviews with the Ku Klux Klan and various racial and ethnic groups in urban areas.
After a long tenure as a professor of political science at Southern Oregon University, Bill Meulemans was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Israel. He spent his days with the Israelis in Jerusalem and his evenings with Palestinians in Ramallah. One year later, he accepted a teaching post as a professor of pollitics at The Queen's University of Belfast where he split his teaching duties with his research on paramilitary units in Northern Ireland. He conducted on-the-ground research on a daily basis in both Catholic and Protestant working-class neighborhoods. After a decade in Ulster, he returned to the US as a professor of political science at Portland State University where he offered a course titled "War and Peace in Northern Ireland."
Currently, Bill Meulemans is devoting full-time to writing short stories about his experiences with extremist groups in the United States, Israel, and Northern Ireland. His most recent book is "Dynamiting the Siskiyou Pass" in which he discusses his personal involvement in political events around the world.
Dynamiting the Siskiyou Pass and Other Short Stories from Oregon and Beyond
Non-Fiction, Political, Short Stories
Some of the poltical stories in this book appear to be unbelievable, but author Bill Meulemans knows they are true because he was there.
For starters, there were four men who were going to save the Pacific Northwest from a Communist invasion by blowing up the Siskiyou Pass on Interstate Five. Then there was the rancher who sold off most of his cattle because he was afraid they would detonate the landmines he had set out to stop federal agents from coming for his guns.
Early in his career, Bill was employed as a secondary school teacher in a small town where a teacher ordered a contract killing of a school board member. Then there was the time when Bill interviewed Sonny Barger, the undisputed leader of Hells Angels, and he got on the back of his "chopper" and rode around the freeways of Oakland.
Getting off the beaten track opened a lot of doors for Bill. He was on the scene in eastern Oregon when a full-fledged commune of 7,000 people grew up spontaneously in a rural area, he invited himself to a John Birch Christmas Party, he worked as a journalist covering an illegal rock concert (with public nudity and drug use) sponsored by the Oregon governor to avoid an urban riot.
All this happened during a forty-seven year career as a political science professor in the United States, Israel, and Northern Ireland. Nearly every one of the stories ends with a surprise that highlights the chaotic world of politics.