If you get a moment, take a peak at my buddy Osato Dixon's recent portrait gallery of Hope Masike, a ZImbabwean singer who I had the pleasure of meeting last summer in Harare. With her incredible voice, it's only a matter of time before she blows up beyond the borders of Mugabeland. I'll post links to mp3 files of her music just as soon as I get my hands on them...
I've been receiving updates from my friends at the SHARE Foundation on the excellent work they've been doing on the ground in storm-ravaged El Salvador, information that I hope moves readers to donate funds -- however small -- to support their necessary work. From the organization's executive officer, this report:
Looking at the photos and reading the stories that reach us via our office in San Salvador, we find ourselves "con el corazón partido" - which, literally translated, means with our hearts broken open.
Devastating flood rains from Hurricane Ida pounded El Salvador this past weekend, taking the lives of over a hundred Salvadorans, causing the disappearance of scores more, and the dislocation of nearly 14,000 people nationwide. On top of the sickening human toll exacted by the storms, over 60 percent of the country suffered significant property and infrastructure damage as well.
First, my thanks to Alyson Zureick for sending along Francisco Toro and Juan Nagel's op-ed, first published on their Caracas Chronicles blog, then later reposted on The New Republic's website. In sum, the chroniclers from Caracas argue that the deal brokered by the United States -- and which has since seemingly unraveled -- made losers of just about every actor involved save Hillary Clinton's State Department. My preliminary reactions follow below. Feel free to tell me where I'm wrong!
Williams’ piece reminds readers of the dismal reality facing grad students and scholars seeking tenure track positions in academia.Only roughly 10 percent of PhDs receive permanent positions in colleges and universities, while at the same moment attrition rates in grad programs nationwide are skyrocketing.“This” Williams writes, “is compounded by those who finish but are stuck in a purgatory of ‘post-docs’ or part-time adjunct positions.’”Far from being populated by “tenured radicals”—as conservative accounts attempt to mythologize American higher education might have it—universities in the United States are filled with “overworked and underpaid adjuncts or graduate students.Instead of being exemplary figures of the postwar meritocracy, the current generation of faculty more likely represents the job-traumatized.”
Williams applauds Bousquet’s focus on labor as the thread that “stitches together the experience of students, faculty, and administration in the university.”But he warns that labor-based arguments for fair treatment only go so far in the American imagination, appealing to those on the “shop floor” but not far beyond.The remedy?“The ground of appeal,” Williams argues, “is what professors provide and what needs they serve.Faculty is not really used to thinking this way; we are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as independent researchers who teach, whereas the public understanding of faculty is that we are primarily teachers.”
Bousquet himself indirectly endorses this view, noting that “Cheap teaching is not a victimless crime.”If this axiom were more strongly embraced by tenured faculty and adjuncts alike, Williams asserts, chances that part-time laborers might find sympathetic audiences to their protests beyond the walls of their union silos would likely increase.After all, “to embrace the recognition that we are labor likely means that we also would have to recognize ourselves more forthrightly as teachers.”
The generalist nature of his approach allows Lester to effectively dramatize the simultaneity of history—how many different actors all struggle toward the same goal without knowledge of their peers’ efforts. In our standardized age, it’s pleasantly jarring to realize that until recently the contours of the world adhered most strongly to an individual’s personal exploration. This assemblage of thumbnail history has limitations, of course, and “The Fourth Part of the World’’ sacrifices exactitude in order to spin a good yarn. For the most part, this enthusiasm for narrative more than compensates for the periodic lack of comprehensiveness, but Lester’s leveling approach does have one outstanding drawback.
You can access the entire piece here, and enjoy tasty snippets like this sprinkled throughout: “Suffice it to say that Copernicus gazed upon the map laid before him and, buried in the contradictions of its history, saw a way forward, the future held present in the past.”
About six weeks ago, I argued that resolution of the Honduran crisis would depend in large part on the actions of leading candidates in the country's presidential election slated for later this month. At the time, international super-negotiator Oscar Arias began strong-arming the candidates to back his peace proposal which they largely did. It seemed to me then as it continues to now that the presidential hopefuls would find it in their best interest to bring Zelaya back sp to avoid inheriting international bad will and pariah status that accompanied the coup.