Statement of Purpose

My intention with this blog is to write on topics such as economic and political development in Africa, feminism and gender roles, academia and US education policy, history and historiography, and general issues  in international politics. I may also include anecdotes of my experiences living and working in Conakry, should anything particularly interesting or amusing arise. 

Strange as it may seem, my imagined audience as I write these posts is one of high school or undergraduate students, or, alternately, those adults not versed in the relevant topics. I would even like to think that, with the aid of a dictionary, middle school students could read and consider the essays. Having taught students ranging from 6th to 12th grade, I find that most people (and a few teachers) vastly underestimate these students' capacities for understanding complex ideas and issues. 

I have also found that most adults without a post-secondary education or training in politics, sociology, or history are far more interested and engaged with the topics when the opportunity to learn about or discuss them arises than most news media give them credit for. I don't mean to say that the American and many international news outlets do not report on these issues, but that they typically do not give sufficient nuance or theoretical analysis. 

I was hesitant to even start a blog because, with the seemingly infinite number of online news outlets, magazines, and personal blogs, how could anything anyone has to say be unique? I truly do not believe that my writing will be any significant departure from existing analysis on the same subjects that can be found elsewhere, however, I am going to try my utmost to present my ideas in an accessible format- one that enables someone who has never read a word of Marx to potentially understand dependency theory when I write, as I will occasionally, on economics issues in Sub-Saharan Africa, or, again, that would make a critique of western feminism clear to one who has never read Mohanty. 

This is an essential goal of not just my blog, but as an educator- the rejection of the concept that somehow advanced understanding is limited to those who read long, esoteric articles or books and attend university seminars on theory. I hate living in an intellectual society where one is judged for not reading Derrida, and I hate that somehow many "intellectuals" consider themselves above the "plebeian masses" because of the privileged access they've had to copyrighted knowledge. 

So, the real question for me is if I will overcome the lure of procrastination and actually take the initiative to write all of the posts I have in mind (or that come to my mind). I hope that I will continue with this, and I hope very much that at least a couple people read a couple things I write and consider at least one thing perhaps they hadn't before.

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