My latest piece on aid, suspicion and evacuation in a time of Ebola has been posted in Dissent Magazine's blog.
Critical media reading by ‘Black Twitter.”
Black Twitter wasn’t happy with how the Associated Press handled the verdict in case of Theodore Wafer, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Renisha McBride.
The tweet in question inexplicably references McBride’s reported inebriation at the time of her murder, with an equally inexplicable mention of Wafer’s home-ownership.
The hashtag that followed “#APHeadlines” took the usually venerable news wire to task through absurdly satirized headlines of old news stories. Check out some of the more poignant examples below.
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I’m trying not to make my commentary about the current Ebola outbreak about representation, but I’ve been a bit troubled by the political analyses accompanying the epidemiological and health systems ones. Specifically, I want to talk a bit about how Liberia’s and Sierra Leone’s civil wars have been deployed by these analysts to understand the response... Continue Reading →
How powerful is a number? I’ve been writing about the politics and techniques of enumeration for some time now and continue to delve into how the global health and development industries use numbers to advance and justify their work. I am also interested in how people interpret and use various estimates to communicate value(s) and... Continue Reading →
Last week in my anthropology and global social problems class, students learned about bureaucracy and how anthropologists engage with the concept. We read the introduction to Hummel's famous book on The Bureaucratic Experience, which is a pretty good primer on how bureaucracy transforms social action, human relations, and bureaucrats themselves. We started class with this... Continue Reading →
Sarah Kendzior, in a recent opinion piece on Al Jazeera, compares the aftermath of President McKinley's assassination by a Polish-American to that of last week's Boston Marathon bombings. In the piece, she argues that Chechen ethnicity became demonized (and criminalized). She writes: Knowing nothing of the Tsarnaevs' motives, and little about Chechens, the American media tore... Continue Reading →
more on the politics of representation in relation to childhood in Africa.
In 1995 Dorling Kinderlsey published a book, Children Just Like Us, sponsored by UNICEF, which brought pictures of children from “all over the world” into its pages, complete with facts and apparently direct quotations from the children (who all seem to speak perfect English). The book feels friendly, ecumenical: children certainly have some funny habits and names, but underneath, of course, they are all alike! What effects do these kind of books, which make faraway places and different cultures specularly available to middle-class children, have on the young minds who read them. Do they inform a harmlessly cosmopolitan, global outlook? Or ambitions to travel, to see and know the world as benevolently different as it was promised? Is there another perspective hidden within, which involves a dangerous sense of moral and intellectual superiority? The cause of these thoughts are a photo-series of children with their toys, by an Italian…
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRQHraheNzQ In this clip from Showtime's House of Lies, we see a parody of celebrity 'humanitarianism' and charity. The critique begins with Damon's hiring a management consulting firm to cultivate his humanitarian brand. The video draws together all the tropes of celebrity humanitarianism: suffering children; war-torn, dusty African town; members of the clergy protecting the... Continue Reading →
Yesterday, Max Fisher, foreign affairs blogger at the Washington Post, put together a helpful primer, "9 Questions about Mali You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask." It is funny, accessibly written, and a good start for those unfamiliar with the conflict. But as is the case in most simplified (but not simple) explanations of complex conflicts,... Continue Reading →