This blog is born from a desire for open dialogue between academia and the public. The intention is to move beyond the usual, specialised ‘expert’ interventions academics are used to be called for, but which actually kill a lot of the public scrutiny and debate.
The desire for this blog grew out of two observations. For one, the academic publishing sector is evolving. Pretty fast, it goes into a direction, which makes writers work for the publishers without any guarantee neither of required services nor of a defence of author rights. Publisher’s fatal policies include, for example, unilateral decisions to transform peer review practices, to impose exorbitant prices, and to reduce the free exchange of information (for more information and debate see here and here). This pushes the need for other platforms of communication (in geography, examples of this are Antipode and ACME), but which also overcome the massive time lapse between research results and publications. The other reason is slightly more positive. In the course of developing a project, I typically compose files (for more on this practice see this wonderful chapter by C. Wright Mills). These may contain bits of text, images, visual material, music and so on. Very little of this actually transpires in the final product I send to academic journals in the end. I use this blog to share these files and -hopefully- stimulate debate while research is ongoing, rather than let it all cumulate in this one and only book or journal article. So read this also as a desire to communicate with colleagues and students who I otherwise would not able to see or talk to directly that often.
Currently I am working on two projects. One is called Working the Black Mediterranean. It involves reflections on the kind of cross-border culture that emerges in the mists of circular migration patterns between Africa and Europe, with a particular focus on labour migration. The other is called Economies of Displacement. It contains field work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (more on my work there here and here) as well as broader reflections on the productive effects of forced displacement. These projects aside, my blog also engages in more off-the-cough reflections on current affairs, activism, and theatre -all fields where I have been active over the years.