There’s this vast in-between space.
Factoids, observations, stories and personalities that don’t make their way into research articles. Wandering in the periphery, they remain scribbled on the margins and stay warm in the confines of my field notes or transcripts. Some of these may contain kernels of truth, but wrapped in opinion, assumption and neglect, they remain irrelevant. These outliers by themselves can’t help construct arguments, back up evidence or layer understanding, for they are considered trivial and yet, more often than not, remain fascinating.
Folklore that connects geographies, architecture in lands far away that remind you of home, food that speaks to your senses, people you meet along the way and stories you collect, these are often just fragments of a larger field trip driven by academic pursuits. Brief moments of levity, wonder or dread while on the road, help fuel banter or make for engrossing dinner party stories later, but remain undocumented. It is into this realm of the seemingly inconsequential that this blog forays.
Trained in multi-disciplinary research, I’ve had the opportunity of inhabiting incredibly privileged academic spaces, analyzing the nuances of Africa-Asia engagement through the lens of political economy. Studying the interactions of the national and subnational, listening to stories of farmers, miners, entrepreneurs discuss the challenges of assimilation, complexities of being an immigrant. Observing as they redefined spaces, reclaimed words, recognizing that stories of the state and those of the individual often overlap and knowing that it is the details of these exchanges I will spend a lifetime studying.
This web log will shape-shift with each post, take on the form of field notes, an idea board, collect micro-stories, profile people, provide analysis and commentary. With blurred lines, it will sway between the specific and the abstract, straddling the dual domains of the humanities and foreign policy, it will bring imagination to complex politics and exposition to intricate narratives.