Summer break 2018

Hi all,

As I wrote in last week's link review:

Unlike previous years I will have a proper break until the second half of August to focus on other (academic) writing projects, catching up on my reading list - and simply take a break from the #globaldev news cycle. There will be an official vacation post at the end of next week with reading suggestions from the archive-and perhaps even the odd book review or commentary depending on what will happen over the summer.

In the meantime, besides leaving you with an image of Malmö's Västra Hamnen harbor with a view of the Öresund bridge in the background, I am sharing a few blogging highlights with you in case you feel like browsing the archive or, if you are a new student for example, getting to know my Aidnography project.

I hope you will also have a great summer and look forward to seeing you again in August!

One of the key themes of my blogging has been engaging with the aid industry and the professionalism of aid work(ers) - from earlier reflections on 'the field' to a curated bibliography on the Oxfam scandal.

In response to Duncan Green: My 9 development trends and their implications for tomorrow’s aid jobs (June 2018)
Here are my 9 trends and their implications for how to enter the sector and find meaningful engagement and employment.
The professionalization of development volunteering – towards a new global precariat? (March 2015)
I will arrange my reflections around two key points: First, the paradox that rightly demands better educated aid professionals, but not necessarily links them to equally professional work and salaries.
And second, a growing ‘volunteering industry’ that usually brings together state, civil society and academia, but that is more likely to contribute to a depoliticized ‘employability’ discourse than meaningful political engagement over development policy and practice.
‘The field’ is where inequality persists–a reply to ‘Send them to the field!’ (July 2013)
The focus on the rural field also has the danger that it fits all too well with our social enterprise, public-private, win-win mindset where everybody can be on the winning team and can actually turn out to be more colonial than we enlightened cosmopolitan citizens of Aidland would ever think it is. Successfully returning from a ‘field visit’ comes with a lot of entitlements from a ‘proper’ shower to Skype dinners with ‘home’ and the guilty pleasures of Nutella, cornflakes or a few days off. It can also take the pressure off to not see the expat club, expensive trip to headquarters or a conference or injustice in the office through the ‘field lens’ that requires critical reflection, speaking up or even planning an ‘intervention’ of sorts.
Oxfam, Haiti & the aid industry's #MeToo moment-a curated bibliography (February-July 2018)
There are now more than 120 resources featured in this bibliography!
For the time being, my bibliography will not be updated regularly anymore, but the July update includes new sources that are diretly linked to the financial fall-out from the original scandal.
The debate has branched out in so many different directions since the original scandal broke that I want to keep this thread more narrowly about the Oxfam scandal and how media the aid industry responded to it.
I was also delighted to host to great guest posts this year:

Of lofty ideals, dual careers & long-distance motherhood - guest post by Milasoa Chérel-Robson (May 2018)
Milasoa Chérel-Robson works for UNCTAD and her reflections on the challenges and trade-offs of combining her international career with family duties highlight many personal insights into bigger debates in gender and development.
This is a perfect long-read for the weekend after Mother's Day that spans a historical trajectory from Madagascar and the socialist aspirations of the 1970s to the limits of “leaning in” in Geneva and contemporary Rwanda where Africa is celebrating a bright economic future.
Dear Colonialism - guest post by Ami V. Shah (May 2018)
I am honored to kick off the week with a powerful guest post by my colleague Ami V. Shah, Assistant Professor of Global Studies & Anthropology at Pacific Lutheran University.
We have been discussing many issues around decolonization for a while and I am thrilled that she shares her reflections here on Aidnography!
Another topic that has been popping up regularly in my writing and tweeting is the infamous #allmalepanel:

What’s next for #allmalepanel? (December 2016)
Maybe people only share panels with a particularly large number of men, but in general I have a gut feeling that panels seem to grow in different surroundings such as academia, policy and other public events. So even if we assume that these panels could be more diverse, that does not answer the more strategic question: What do you expect from a 6, 7 or 8 people panel?
Reflections on development blogging more broadly have also been part of my writing and research: 

The development blogging crisis (January 2018)
And yet, I still really enjoy the freedom of running my own small public writing project.
My blog is everything academic publishing is not, from rigid formatting requirements to waiting for peer reviews and that feeling that you are writing for someone else who may in the end own your product anyway (I use Google’s Blogger so I am much more embedded in those dynamics than I should/want to be).
My blog is also a very small form of resistance within my framework of full-time academic employment: I can afford blogging and engaging with the public that way. Blogging remains a great way of staying tuned in debates and actively engaging in communicating development which is more than a job I am passionate about. Blogging informs my teaching, supports my research and may ultimately just be some kind of online diary-something that may never go out of style even if formats and platform shift!
Last, and definitely not least, there are my book reviews:

Why I promote book reviews (March 2015)
At the end of the day, as with almost all the writing on Aidnography, my reviews are driven by curiosity and actual interest in the content. I do not review and promote books for the sake of the author and/or publisher, but I will also not author a set of reviewing guidelines and reserve the right to a certain amount of randomness what gets reviewed when and how.
Appreciating the hard work that colleagues have put into their books always benefits the wider academic community, reminding us of the importance of critical writing, independent publishers and communicating the importance and power of books to a wider audience.

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