~April Boston-area meetup~

Apr. 25th, 2019 03:51 pm
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by sgoch

Apologies for the late posting!

When: Sunday, April 28th, 2019, 10 am

Where: Harvard Art Museum Cafe

32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

The closest T stop is Harvard, on the red line. The museum is about a ten-minute walk across the Harvard yard from the station.

Venue: The cafe is located in the atrium of the art museum. You do not have to pay the entrance fee to sit in the cafe area. The cafe has a small selection of pastries and other snacks, but if you have specific dietary requirements you may need to bring your own food. The building is accessible via a ramp on Prescott Street.

How to find us: I will claim a table and set up a paper sign. I will have my knitting and/or a painting project. I have coloring sheets, but you can also bring coloring sheets! Or sketchbooks!

What to bring: Crayons, colored pencils, paints, coloring books, a puzzle, fun facts about Megatherium and/or fungal networks in forests!

If you need more information, you can inquire on the “Boston” thread at FOCA.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Doing Public Philosophy

Apr. 25th, 2019 04:00 pm
[syndicated profile] feministphilosophers_feed

Posted by Audrey

As we announced April 23, Feminist Philosophers is shutting down. This is one of a series of posts by FP bloggers looking back on the blog and bidding it farewell.

I joined Feminist Philosophers in July 2015, after having written a pair of guest posts at Digressions & Impressions that received some attention, both positive and negative. That was one of my first forays into public philosophy. Here are Part I and Part II of that piece, and my reaction to its reception by some senior men in philosophy can be found here. Rereading those things, what I find striking is that my immediate response was to frame matters in terms of unproductive adversariality, as per Janice Moulton’s critique of the Adversary Method in philosophy. For those unfamiliar with that work, it’s not the same as a call for civility, which I don’t particularly have a lot of faith in either. But it is a criticism of our tendency in philosophy to treat discussions automatically as debates that can (and ought to) be won.

My training is in analytic philosophy, and in particular in the history and philosophy of mathematics. I was hired as our department’s logician, and I still teach a regular slate of logic courses. But at the time I started on at this blog, I was still making the transition over to thinking of feminist philosophy as my primary research area (which it certainly is now). The way I was doing it at the time was through feminist perspectives on informal logic and argumentation theory.

I have been extremely grateful for feminist philosophy, feminist philosophers, and Feminist Philosophers for helping me develop as a professional philosopher. Though I have not been at all prolific here, the connection to the larger community of feminist scholarship has helped me feel as though there is a place in philosophy for someone like me. Though I still love logic and the philosophy of mathematics, it was never a field that felt like home. Being part of this blogging community helped me to think through what a field that felt like home might be.

These days a lot of my work is centred on issues around gendered violence, and the FP post that I still think about was an attempt to work through some thoughts that didn’t yet have a more formal venue. Many of the things that I wrote in a post called Me Too: But What About You? were also part of a paper that came out the same year in Feminist Philosophy Quarterly.

But that FPQ paper was still framed in terms of how we, from the outside, might view perpetrators of gendered violence. What I think about these days has more to do with how we, as ordinary people, are ourselves contributing to violence and upholding oppression. It is really not that hard for us to hurt each other, and we need to come to terms with that without falling into either quietism or unproductive guilt.

I don’t have another regular public venue in which I write down my thoughts. And I have become a bit more pessimistic about blogging as a general way for me to bring about change. That’s not to say we shouldn’t do it – I was very happy to have written this piece for the APA blog relatively recently, for instance. But at the moment, it doesn’t feel like something I can do effectively or on a regular basis.

I think that activism requires a division of labour, and the work that I feel best about these days are smaller scale. Public philosophy is important, and I do think it’s incumbent on those of us who are relatively privileged to keep working to make the world better in whatever ways we can. But that work can take a lot of different forms. It can take the work of public writing. But it can also take the shape of working in our communities and campuses, or of supporting and amplifying the voices of others who need to be heard.

In the meantime, I’m grateful to the Feminist Philosophers community for giving me the opportunity to contribute in whatever ways I have. And I wish us all the best as we each work out the ways in which we are best suited to resist oppression.

[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

In the comments to "Cantonese as a Second Language" (4/22/19), there's an interesting discussion going on about how to maintain and / or acquire competency in more than one language.  This post started out as a comment to that thread, but it soon grew too long, so I've separated it off here.

My son was born in Taiwan and spent the first two years of his life in Taipei in an all-Mandarin household with lots of members (father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, and two aunts), and plenty of other relatives in the Taipei area (more uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.) — all mainlanders.  They all spoke Mandarin with him.

We moved to America (Boston area) when TK was two years old, and the core of the family moved with us, so the Mandarin-speaking nucleus of the extended family was still intact.

For the next four years, most of the people we visited with and his closest playmates also all spoke Mandarin.  During that period, he continued to speak almost exclusively in Mandarin.

Many of TK's older Chinese relatives had thick Shandong accents, and the younger ones spoke Táiwān guóyǔ 台灣國語 (Taiwanese Mandarin), and there were also varying amounts of Sichuanese thrown in to the mix, because the family had spent about a decade in that province during WWII and picked up a fair amount of Sichuaneseisms there and in the communities they lived in after they moved to Taiwan toward the end of the 40s.

Despite all the topolectal influences swirling around him, my son spoke only perfect, exact Modern Standard Mandarin (MSM), because my wife spoke that to him, and I followed suit.  My son's MSM at age three was so good that he could correct his Grandma's pronunciation.  I shall never forget when she was telling him the story of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", she pronounced the heroine's name with a Shandong accent so thick that you could cut it with a knife, something like "bei4shyueh3 gung1choo4", and little TK merrily and enthusiastically chirped with perfect MSM tones, vowels, and consonants:

"Bù, wàipó.  Bùshì 'Bei4shyueh3 gung1choo4'.  Shì 'Báixuě gōngzhǔ'."

"不,外婆,不是'Bei4shyueh3 gung1choo4'. 是'白雪公主'."

"No, grandma.  It's not 'Pansis Sney Wit', it's 'Princess Snow White'."

I could tell endless stories of this sort about TK's fantastic Mandarin at age two (here's one), and also about my mother-in-law's linguistic inventions and adventures trying to communicate in America when she had only a smattering of English (e.g., "Radcliffe" became  "Dawtaw Hawfo" — see if you can figure that one out).

TK's Mandarin from ages two to six was so good and so confident that my sister Heidi, when my wife and I were working at the Middlebury Summer School of Chinese in 1972, came to help us by babysitting TK and learned quite a bit of the language from him so that now, nearly half a century later, she can still say with exquisite pronunciation:

wǒ yào táng
wǒ èle
wǒ yào niàoniào
māmā zài nǎ'er


I want candy
I'm hungry
I have to peepee
Where's Mom?

At age six, like most other children in America, TK went to elementary school, and then he learned English rapidly.  But his Mandarin to this day is still pretty good, because he had such a solid foundation, and we often were in situations, whether in America or in Taiwan or in China, where everybody was speaking Mandarin.

As for Chinese characters, we never forced TK to learn them, but he already recognized a few before we left Taiwan and he did acquire some literacy by attending weekend classes while he was in middle school.  When he was in his early 20s, TK spent a year in Hangzhou and learned to read and write with characters fairly well then.  We still have a precious scroll on which he wrote a long, loving poem to his Mother — all in Chinese, and illustrated with beautiful Chinese-style water colors.

I think that the lesson to be learned from my son's experience with Mandarin and Chinese characters may best be exemplified by one of my favorite Chinese expressions:  "Tīngqízìrán 聽其自然" ("Let nature follow its own course; let it be").  Never compel a child to learn a language or a script.  If it's meant to be, provide a nurturing environment, and just let it happen.

The Lazy DIYer’s Craft Bag

Apr. 25th, 2019 01:58 pm
[syndicated profile] alreadypretty_feed

Posted by Sally

Many moons ago, I attended a monthly craft group. Most of the attendees were avid and skilled knitters who brought the most gorgeous array of fibers and objects-in-progress to work on. I was (and still am) a lapsed knitter who...

[syndicated profile] egystreets_feed

Posted by Egyptian Streets

FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi . The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

According to state-owned news outlet Al Ahram, Egypt’s nationwide state of emergency has been renewed for three months starting Thursday.

The renewal, put in place by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, is pending approval by Parliament which is due to take place within the next week. The news was officially announced on Tuesday.

It allows the state to”“take [measures] necessary to confront the dangers and funding of terrorism and safeguard security in all parts of the country.”

The emergency law can only be implemented for three months, after which it has to be renewed by the president and should be approved by the parliament. It grants Egyptian authorities the right to intercept all forms of communications including social media. Civilians can also be referred to State Security Emergency Courts where they are unable to appeal verdicts, as such, it has been routinely criticized by human rights advocates.

The already-in-effect state of emergency was announced last year by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when two churches were bombed in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday in 2017 killing 47 people.

A state of emergency refers to the government’s mobilization and empowerment to perform actions normally not permitted except in exceptional situations such as during wars, armed conflict or natural disaster.

The state of emergency, in Egypt, aims to curb ‘terrorism and its stop their fundings’. It is perceived as significantly timely by the government as efforts are amplified to fight Islamic insurgency in northern Sinai and other parts of the country.

According to article 154 of the 2014 constitution, the state of emergency is to be announced after consulting with the cabinet. Then, the decision should be reviewed by the parliament in no more than seven days after its approval by the cabinet.

The state of emergency was imposed nonstop during the era of former president Hosni Mubarak, from 1981 to 2012, even after he was ousted.

101 Update

Apr. 25th, 2019 08:55 am
zhelana: (Marvel - Hammer)
[personal profile] zhelana
Progress This Week

Prepare and teach a class on magic and superstition in period
Read 3 books on magic and superstition in period
April Camp 2019
Listen to 90 other podcasts
Positive thing daily 2019
Go out 85% of the days each month in 2019
[syndicated profile] polviolence_feed

Posted by politicalviolenceataglance

Guest post by Patrick Pierson.

Outside the gates of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, with Lion’s Head mountain in the background. Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by the author.

The African continent will see two dozen elections in 2019. While many observers herald this year’s surfeit of political contests as a sign post of the “Third Wave of Democratization,” others are less optimistic, noting the violence that often accompanies putatively democratic elections across the continent. Indeed, the causes and consequences of electoral violence in Africa are currently at the fore of work in both academic and policy circles. And the focus on electoral violence is warranted—in 2019 alone, violence has marred the political process in countries as diverse as Senegal, Nigeria, and Malawi, among others.

While the current wave of political violence is troubling, it is far from unprecedented—physical violence has tainted more than one-in-five elections worldwide in the post-Cold War era. Despite the prevalence of such overtly contentious elections, few studies have examined the broader causes and effect of political violence, especially in new and emerging democracies. Addressing these challenges, recent studies document the uptick in politically-motivated violence that often accompany electoral cycles (see here, here, and here); though important, the explicit focus on election-day violence runs the risk of missing broader trends in political violence. Here’s why.

Research shows that election-related violence, both in Africa and elsewhere, is not incidental to the political process, but instead reflects a strategic, instrumental calculus by political elites to turn the electoral tide in their favor. Threats—or the actual use of—violence can increase politicians’ electoral competitiveness by influencing voter behavior and turnout (see here and here). Electoral violence has also been linked to a number of broader structural and institutional characteristics, including the ethnic composition of states, various types of electoral institutions, and regime type.

These approaches, however, typically examine only one type of political violence—namely, the use of violence by politicians to mobilize supporters and/or suppress the opposition. While important, this is not the only form that electoral violence may take and, in many instances, is not the most common form of coercive contestation in democratic states.

My recent research explores intra-elite violence in democratic states, an oft-overlooked aspect of political contestation that has recently claimed lives in countries as diverse as the Philippines, Mozambique, Mexico, and Nigeria. More specifically, I explore more than 260 political assassinations in South Africa from 2000 through 2017. Figure 1 documents the rising tide of targeted political killings in recent decades.

Attacks on local politicians—by other politicians—recently reached such a fever pitch in the KwaZulu-Natal province that the government convened a commission to look into the nature of the violence. Contrary to much of the existing work on electoral violence, the commission’s findings document fighting within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) as the underlying driver of the assassinations.

In a country with unemployment rates consistently pushing 30%, securing a position as a local councilor represents an economic windfall for many young, entrepreneurial politicians. Access to—and significant control over—the disbursement of local development funds further provides politicians with ready-made access to a vast patronage network that confers vast economic and social leverage. In this setting, political violence is rampant, but represents a qualitatively different type than what is typically studied by policymakers and academics.

For many observers, the unseemly behavior of local politicians is not surprising in a country reeling from accusations of “state capture” by private interests under the prior administration of President Jacob Zuma. Citizens are polarized on the issue, however, as evidenced by last week’s violent disruption of a book launch detailing ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s murky dealings and alleged involvement in corruption. These developments raise all sorts of important questions about the role of violence in democratic regimes and citizens’ choice to (not) sanction leaders implicated in malfeasance.

More broadly, current trends in South Africa encourage a renewed exploration of the challenges faced by democratic regimes in an increasingly polarized political climate. In a world where politicians can shoot people in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose voters, the South African case serves as a reminder of the need for strong institutions that curtail political misbehavior and encourage democratic accountability in the midst of heated political contests. If Google searches are any indication, South Africans are concerned about the potential for electoral unrest as they head to the polls next month for general elections. And while the focus on securing a peaceful election day is important, every day, quotidian political accountability is needed to ensure democratic stability in the years ahead. It’s a lesson that all democratic citizens, not just South Africans, would do well to remember.

Patrick Pierson is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Emory University and the Managing Editor of Political Violence @ a Glance. You can follow him on Twitter @plpierson.

[syndicated profile] egystreets_feed

Posted by Egyptian Streets

Officials revealed that two ex-Coptic Christian monks,  Isaiah El-Maqary and Faltaous El-Makary, who killed the head of their desert monastery last year were sentenced to death.

In July 2018, Bishop Epiphanius, head of Anba Makar Monastery (Saint Macarius the Great) near Wadi el-Natroun, was found dead “in a pool of blood in his room, with fractures to his skull, as if he had been struck with a instrument, and injuries to his back.”

In February, Damanhour Criminal Court issued preliminary death sentences to two monks before the ruling was passed over to the country’s grand mufti for his non-binding opinion as required by Egyptian law.

“The defendants were led by the devil to the path of evil and vice,” Judge Gamal Toson of the Damanhour court said in his ruling in February.

The accused monk, Isaiah al-Makari, was defrocked by the church days later and arrested by Egyptian authorities.

The church released a statement that the monk was investigated even before the murder and that he was committing “inappropriate actions which violate monastic behavior and way of life.”

The issue escalated as a second monk, Faltaous al-Makary, attempted to kill himself by cutting his arteries and throwing himself from the roof a monastery building before Isaiah al-Makar confessed that both were involved in the murder of the bishop.

The murder led to new reforms in Egypt’s Coptic Church, as Pope Tawadros II put a ban on monks leaving monastery grounds without permission and restrictions on monks’ use of social networks and media appearances.

[syndicated profile] egystreets_feed

Posted by Richel Hodder

Egyptian filmmaker, Mohamed Shalaby, has used his craft to share his struggle with depression and body image in his coming-to-age film, 51 Kilos. The short film, which premiered with BBC Arabic Documentaries this year, highlights Shalaby’s feelings of constraint growing up in the Gulf, and his reliance on food as his only companion. Following his journey, Shalaby reflects on happiness not being defined by a number on a scale, but on his mental well-being and a sense of ownership over his life.

In an interview with Egyptian Streets, Mohamed Shalaby shares more of his thoughts on topics raised in his short-film as well as his motivation to turn to film. He particularly shares ideas about associations made with food in the Gulf region, the stigma attached to mental health, and the outcomes of social-media as a platform for further discussion.

What is the biggest thing you want people to take away from your film? What is your main goal?

Depression and anxiety are natural reactions to the outside world. Unfortunately, so many times we think we should hide them because we don’t want to look weak. We don’t want people to see our scars and imperfections. But the truth is we are common in our weakness. And all of us, no matter how much we try to look like we are holding up, we have very similar fears and anxieties.

So, maybe for once, let’s try something different. Let’s give these things space, let’s let people around us know that we’re not as wise or strong as we may seem, that we share with them their weaknesses, defects and flaws. Isn’t that what we all want eventually? To feel a little bit less lonely and a little bit more relatable?

My main goal is to simply share my experience, to let someone out there know; you aren’t alone in your struggle. Nothing is permanent. You’re not stuck. You have choices. You can think new thoughts. You can learn something new. You can create new habits.

Why do you think others around you, particularly those from the Gulf region, struggle with their relationship with food? Do you think this will ever change?

I think the struggle with food is related to a certain lifestyle. Namely, the lack of variety of activities a child can try as well as being surrounded everywhere by commercials about restaurants and fast food. This lifestyle creates a culture that drives people to rush through life in search of instant gratification. Yes, my personal experience of this happened in the Gulf, but I don’t think it’s only limited to one place. This is a global issue. As a solution, I believe awareness is key, we need to recognize this culture as an issue, speak about it, and identify the many factors that are leading to it.

I haven’t lived in the Gulf since 2013. But, I think the status quo is changing now. People are becoming more aware and I hear a lot about programs and initiatives that promote well-being and physical activity.

Can you comment more on therapy being a shameful thing and the stigma attached to it; how do you think this stigma is met in male communities? Do you think social reform is needed to change this outlook?

If you searched on Google for “male adjectives” the first results are “strong, rough, tough, powerful, etc.” The word “insecurity” is mostly associated with women because men can’t or shouldn’t have insecurities. This says a lot about how men in today’s world are still expected to not express their weaknesses, let alone have them in the first place. This makes me really sad because I know for sure that this is not true. Men experience anxiety, insecurity and depression but they are not given the right communication tools to express these very natural human feelings.

I’ve received a lot of feedback after the film was published from men telling me that they identified with my struggle, and I think the solution starts from here. We need more people to speak up and share their experiences so we can finally realize that it’s very common and natural. How could something that we all experience be shameful?

What drew you to making films? What stories do you plan on sharing in upcoming films? Which stories are important to you?

I’ve been watching films since I was eight. Maybe I don’t mention this in my film directly, but movies were actually my second companion, next to food, in my childhood. It’s one of the few things that makes me feel connected and less lonely. To be able to pay back some of that, by making someone feel less lonely through something I did, is one of the greatest accomplishment that I can achieve.

I am currently in the development stage of my first feature documentary film. The core question the film tries to deal with is, “What does it mean to belong?”

I am interested in telling authentic human stories that show what essentially shapes our common humanity; our fears, doubts and uncertainties.

Do you plan on using your platform and skills to further the discussion surrounding mental health and body positivity, particularly in the Gulf region?

We still need more momentum and we need to attract the attention of bigger institutions and media outlets. Also, because these are new topics in our region, we need to learn how to best present it to our people. However, I think the discussion has already begun and a change is coming. I am happy to be part of it and I will help to move it forward in any way I possibly can.

You referred to yourself as the “obese boy” in the beginning of your film, how has the way you label and view yourself changed since then? Do you still think about what others think of you when they look at you?

The way I see myself has definitely changed. Now, I see both versions of myself as equally beautiful; myself at 139 kg with big chunks of fat around my belly, and myself at 87 kg with loose skin hanging from my body. I love them both. I wouldn’t let anyone shame me or make me feel embarrassed about how I look.

What was the hardest part about ‘facing yourself’? Do you continue to struggle with your relationship with food?

The hardest part could be the realization that external changes, like where you are or what you’re doing, aren’t actually what makes a difference in your life. They could be factors, but real change comes from within yourself.

I believe the struggle with food never ends. It’s an ongoing one. But, the difference now is that I’ve established a relationship with my body. Like any other relationship, it has its ups and downs. But we communicate. I am listening to it and I try my best to take care of it.

How important do you think it was to have someone to look up to when you felt like you were struggling? What is your biggest piece of advice to others that might be in a similar position to you?

I don’t like the term “role model” because it implies that a person is perfect. No one is perfect. We all have our human imperfections and flaws. I believe realizing this fact will make us feel less alienated from each other and eventually less lonely, allowing us to come closer together.

“Community is a safety net from an unfair world. Let it catch you when you need it. Catch others when you can.” I live by this. At a certain point in my life, Baraa was that safety net. I lost him, but that’s why I know how important that was. So I try to catch and help people around me as much as I can.

How has social media been both beneficial and disadvantageous for you? Do you think there needs to be more diversity in the people shown on Instagram, in movies and commercials?

Social media can be very destructive, but it can also be a very impactful tool to address current issues and make changes. We need to learn its language and how to utilize it. I felt very empowered after sharing my story on social media and got a lot of positive feedback.

We definitely need more diverse and inclusive media content in the MENA region. It’s important to deconstruct some of the existing preconceptions about things like mental health, beauty standards, and masculinity.

Have you reached out to any support networks or groups? Have you formed your own networks with others that experienced similar feelings?

Yes, I’ve reached out to a few. Some were very enthusiastic and supported me. I am currently collaborating with them to find ways to deliver our common message. However, since the release of my film, I am finding out that my weight loss story isn’t very likeable by some fitness and diet people. One of the replies I got was: “We are afraid that the picture with loose skin is exaggerated and unrealistic and that it may look scary to some people.”

I contacted some of them to get more exposure for my film. Those who I contacted are ones I actually respect. They support natural and healthy weight loss, instead of the gimmicks and frauds that are spread around this industry.

[syndicated profile] egystreets_feed

Posted by Richel Hodder

Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) boasts many success stories, and recently highlighted the work of the Middle East Professional Learning Initiative (MEPLI). The initiative, co-founded by Amin Marei two years ago, aims to develop educational structures already in place in the region, by working directly with educators and system-level leaders. By doing so, MEPLI aims to support students with the means to lead sustainable lives.

One of the initiative’s most notable programs is its Fellowship, which was piloted in Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon. It focuses on providing both formal and informal resources which broaden the tools available to teachers in the region, to better serve them. After the success of the first two Fellowship cohorts, MEPLI is already in discussions to extend their focus to other countries in the region.

In an interview with Egyptian Streets, Associate Director and co-founder of MEPLI, Amin Marei, shared further insight into the initiative’s goals and mission, its personal success stories and his personal connection to it.

Can you summarize the initiative and describe the importance of it? What drove you to start this initiative? How does it feel to watch it gain the recognition that it has?

The Middle East Professional Learning Initiative (MEPLI) at Harvard Graduate School of Education aims to support teacher educators and system-level leaders in developing practices, programs, and structures to help improve student opportunities to learn and achieve productive, sustainable lives. MEPLI builds on the existing wealth of educational knowledge in the region to support it in fulfilling its mission.

MEPLI was founded two years ago with the support of faculty, staff, and donors who believe in the power of education in nurturing a prosperous future for the Middle East. Since its inauguration, MEPLI’s impact has grown significantly with the support of our various stakeholders in the region. We still have a lot to achieve and even more to learn, and I hope we can continue to refine our strategy in a way that is driven by the need and the context of our educators.

How does it feel to be the youngest director at Harvard, and the first Egyptian to co-found an initiative at HGSE?

I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to co-found and lead an initiative that builds on my passion for education and is focused on the region that’s closest to my heart. As for being one of the youngest directors at Harvard, I believe that it provides me an additional incentive to keep learning from the expertise of my colleagues while at the same time adding to their knowledge and experience.

I also feel a responsibility to represent Egypt and the Middle East in a way that supports a more coherent and thoughtful narrative. As you may expect, the dominant perceptions about the region are driven by the US media’s portrayal of the region. Accordingly, it is a challenging task to change a narrative that is the result of decades of misrepresentation, but again that’s why I feel it is even more important to have an initiative like MEPLI, especially in these challenging times.

What aspects of your personal experiences and interests drove you to co-found the MEPLI? Considering you are from Egypt, how would you like to further your outreach from the MEPLI to Egypt?

I believe that education in its informal and formal settings is one of the main reasons for our existence and prosperity as a species. The way we learn and transfer knowledge from one generation to the other has been the major drive behind the progress of our civilization.

Encouraging children to learn and develop is both crucial for their own wellbeing and their ability to sustain productive lives.

Over the past decade, I’ve had several experiences that have fueled my passion for education. I’ve had the opportunity to co-found an NGO that focuses on civic education in Egypt, I’ve spent three years co-instructing a course at the American University in Cairo, and I had the opportunity to work as a consultant for several local and international NGOs. These experiences influenced my decision to pursue a Master’s degree at HGSE.

Thankfully, my presence at HGSE along with my previous experiences helped me convince HGSE’s faculty and staff with my credentials. One particular interest that drove the strategy of MEPLI as we were co-founding has been my belief in the power of learning communities and contextual knowledge. As someone who spent most of his life in the region, I have witnessed firsthand the wealth of social and human capital. I also knew how important it was to understand the context of every town, village or sometimes even street before you embark on a strategy that is reliant on your assumptions. Even though our strategy meant more work for us, it was the only way for us to pursue a thoughtful sustainable plan.

I hope that we would be able to support the education sector in Egypt in a way that supports the needs of the learners in Egypt. We are currently in discussions with members of the Ministry of Education in Egypt to ensure that our strategy in Egypt is relevant and sustainable.

One of the most notable programs offered by MEPLI is its Fellowship, can you expand on other programs offered?

We develop contextualized Arabic courses that are focused on education. We just completed the launch of our first Arabic course in March titled “Agile Thinking”. This course is focused on supporting teachers’ develop differentiated instruction techniques. For the first run, we had 55 educators from 5 different countries in the region. We also have three other courses that are under development and will be launched this year.

We have also provided various residential experiences in the region to support educators of various levels. These activities include workshops, institutes and consultation projects. We also developed Harvard’s first online learning platform in Arabic titled “Usable Knowledge-علم نافع”. This platform aims to connect research to practice. We make education research and well-vetted strategies accessible to a wide audience of Arabic speaking educators. We also develop case studies that are focused on the education system in the Middle East.

What outcomes have you seen from Fellows joining the alumni network? How have you seen the initiative extend beyond the space of HGSE?

We have already witnessed the impact of our Fellowship within their own networks. Our Fellows have conducted more than 50 knowledge sharing activities, with each activity including an average of 30 educators. These activities included workshops, courses, online content development, and blogs. The activities were all designed with the support of our team in a way that focuses on the learners’ performance of understanding.

MEPLI mentions Fellows are expected to return to their communities and share the knowledge they learn within the program. Do you have any particular success stories of individuals who have done so?

Thankfully, we’ve had several success stories. We currently have two Fellows from Lebanon and Palestine who connected through the Fellowship and are currently working together to initiate a private school for students in a low-resource location. We also have four Fellows who have been recruited by Harvard Graduate School of Education to work as coaches for one of our online offerings.

What feedback have you received regarding the initiative, from participants in particular?

The main feedback we receive is an appreciation of the thoughtful design of our programs and activities. They appreciate our focus on the contextualization of knowledge and our reliance on local expertise to enhance our offerings.

How transferable do you think your model is? Do you see it being replicated in other regions?

I think MEPLI’s model is transferable as long as the context and the environment of the new region are well articulated and understood. We are currently in discussions to develop similar models in other regions, but we’re more cautious about committing to a specific project before identifying local partners who can help us understand the context and the needs.

Do you have any future goals for the initiative? Have you found there to be any gaps in the initiative, or areas that needed to be improved to better meet the needs of providing beneficial resources to this region in particular?

To be able to achieve any of our goals, we have to stay humble and capitalize on any opportunity to learn. Our strategy is always changing based on what we learn from our stakeholders and through our different activities.

One area that I hope we can focus more on is supporting researchers in the region showcase their work to a global audience. I also hope we can continue to refine our strategy in a way that further promotes regional collaborations among educators and researchers.

Gender Fuck Kidman

Apr. 25th, 2019 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] dorothysnarker_feed

Posted by Dorothy Snarker

I don’t really know what’s going on with Nicole Kidman in this Vanity Fair photoshoot. Like that wig is…something? And the whole Michael Jackson vibes with that jacket are…intentional? But I am happy she has apparently forgotten how to button buttons. Hey, it’s the little things.

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Posted by Henry Jenkins



I would say yes.  We have somehow come to equate expression in a democracy with civility.  But democracy in a complex society demands contestation. Democracy needs processes and institutions that can support the public in voicing their lived experience.  This point was emphasized by two different city planners in our podcast series TheMove. Wendal Joseph spoke of the need for cities to create spaces in public hearings for venting, while Sabrina Dorsainvil advocated for embracing delight in our civic life.

We need to remember the idea of democracy was built on a narrow concept of who was worthy to participate:  Property owning white Christian men, many living in communities of faith. Over time we have challenged and adapted the notion of who could participate (women, nonmembers-property owners, asanas, blacks, people of the First Nation and so on...) without changing the system built on a foundational of exclusion.  

As a result, our imagination for how democracy should function is stunted.  We are in some sense trapped inside the Norman Rockwell Freedom of Speech which to me is a caricature of the town hall meeting.  This image is so powerful that even today with our advanced technology and social processes we still hold the quaint New England idea as the pure form of citizen's voice in a democracy. Thus we end up with televised town hall meetings that are nothing more than orchestrated forms of theatre.

We have tinkered with our system of participation as much as we can.  We have to invent new civic systems built on the notion of inclusion capable of supporting the varied ways we know and understand the world and the diverse ways we need to express that knowledge. We need to create a new civic system capable of strengthening the public's ability to be in dialogue and struggle around race, the most rooted tradition that binds us.  

I find it helpful to think of the civic challenge facing America, and all democracies as threefold: 1. Designing spaces/places in which it is possible for the complex public to “peacefully struggle” with the traditions that bind and the interest that separate; 2. Designing the interactions that occur in those space/places so that the public emerges from these struggles with path(s) forward that provide just and equitable improvements on the past; 3. Designing a framework that overtime connects individual spaces/places into an organic infrastructure where the public is able to do that work that only the public can do in self-governing systems.

Is it possible?  Yes. I think this is one of the main reasons  The Movement for Black Lives is so important: they are on the frontlines of creating an inclusive civic system capable of sustaining joy, struggle, and hope.


As an historian of the civil rights era, I have been grappling with the question of what that history can illuminate about the strengths and weaknesses of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a recent article in The Journal of Black Studies, political scientist Dewey M. Clayton compares the civil rights movement to BLM suggesting that the former was more inclusive in its approach, while BLM was more exclusive and that the civil rights movement was better able to create an expansive “master frame” around the issues it was advancing -- equality, freedom, justice -- that could excite potential allies (such as white liberals and moderates) than has Black Lives Matter whose “master frames” have, he suggests, been more narrowly structured around police brutality and criminal justice reform. Non-black liberals and moderates might feel themselves less included by BLM’s framing of issues. “The genius of the civil rights movement,” he argues, “is that they were able to elaborate these values into a master frame that made the civil rights movement problem an American problem. Today Black Lives Matter does not utilize the same framing -- it has yet to appeal to mainstream Americans and convince them that its [BLM’s] concerns are part of the national identity.”

For instance, in Charlottesville, local BLM activists have chanted and draped the Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee with the slogan: “Fuck white supremacy.” This kind of “incivility” has raised hackles among some as potentially alienating supporters. The argument is that the civil rights movement was more dignified. In a Washington Post piece, veteran civil rights movement activist Barbara Reynolds wrote about why she found it difficult to fully support BLM: “The demonstrations are peppered with hate speech, profanity, and guys with saggy pants that show their underwear” even as she acknowledges that “This ain’t your grandparents’ civil rights movement.”

She’s concerned that the albeit justifiable rage and anger of BLM activists will be counter-productive. On the other hand, to criticize activists today for not being decorous in their protest style as Reynolds and others have done is to misremember how the civil rights movement was received much of the time as similarly raucous, alienating to white moderates because of its confrontational marches, civil disobedience, and encouragement of violence by white supremacists (the strategy required to get media attention). Only in nostalgic memory was the civil rights movement “civil.” Only in retrospect do we recognize the civil rights movement as a high point in the expansion of American democracy and a shining example of American ideals of equality and justice for all.


I raised The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) to acknowledge the structural work around organizing it began in Cleveland when over 50 community organizations and 2,000 individuals gathered to reflect on their movement. Over the next year, people gathered in local a national convening to create a platform for advancing the work of liberation and the policies necessary to get there.  

The unapologetic focus on Black Lives (in all its forms) by M4BL exemplifies what I believe is one of the core tenets of designing an inclusive civic infrastructure: Design for the Margins. Solutions that emerge from focusing on those at the margins of society have a greater possibility of providing benefits for more people than solutions derived by concentrating just on the mainstream.  Why? Those pushed to the margins of society are most attuned to the structural and value failures of the system. Participation solutions that emerge from a focus by and with those at the margins will not only improve engagement for those at the margins but inevitably, for the broader society.

M4BL's year-long and ongoing effort to create and maintain a Platform for dialogue and action around the liberation of black lives is to engage in the struggle with the traditions that bind us and the interest that separate us" that Moore suggests democracy requires. For me, M4BL  has much to teach us about creating the spaces and processes in which it is possible to engage in the struggle for a future that is equitable, just and liberating improvement on the past. But will we allow ourselves to learn from what they have to offer?


Aniko Bodroghkozy is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and has been on its faculty since 2001. She is the author of Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement was published in 2012 by the University of Illinois Press. Her first book, Groove Tube: Sixties Television and the Youth Rebellion was published by Duke University Press in 2001. In 2018 she published a major anthology, edited for Wiley-Blackwell’s

Ceasar L. McDowell is Professor of the Practice of Civic Design at MIT. His current work is on the design of civic infrastructures and processes to connect the increasingly demographically complex public.  Ceasar teaches on civic and community engagement and the use of social media to enhance both.

Gathering of Folks at M4BL Cleveland:


83F - 59F : Sunny

Apr. 24th, 2019 09:02 pm
zhelana: (seaQuest - Hurled)
[personal profile] zhelana
I couldn't sleep last night, but I really wanted to sleep so I stayed in bed. Kevin woke me up when he got up for work at 7, so I wound up getting 1 hour of sleep. I fell back asleep. When my alarm went off at 12 it was painful. I stood up, and... fell down. I pushed myself back up on the bed, and tentatively tried putting weight on my left leg again, and if I hadn't had most of my weight on my arms already, I would have fallen again. I shuffled my weight onto my right leg, and did not fall but literally wound up screaming out in pain. I have no idea what I did to my hips, but it isn't good. I called my therapist and told him I couldn't walk through his parking lot, and then went back to sleep. Kevin called at 4 but it failed to get me out of bed. He came home at 5:30, which did wake me up.

Because I have no brain, I stood up from bed. This time I didn't fall, and didn't scream, but every step gets a whimper. I shuffled stiffly into my office where Jack tried to jump up with me and give me kissies. I kind of alternated between reading lj and dw and trying to go back to sleep in my chair. Kevin kept demanding that I get up and do things and I really wanted to snap at him that I don't ask him to do shit on high pain days, and where the fuck does he get off demanding I move around on the one high pain day I've had this year. Slowly I realized that walking is less painful than standing, however, and while I was in the kitchen to let the dogs into the yard, I made myself a bagel. I ate that and finished off the granola bites I had bought last weekend, and called it dinner.

I read the 4 books I read on Wednesdays, and then did the habitica tasks that don't require standing or using my hips (which honestly isn't many of them). I decided not to go to the SCA meeting because it was a class called "bycockets part 2" and I don't know what a bycocket is, and I missed part 1 whenever that was. Rather than hold the class up while she caught me up, or just not understanding what was going on, I opted to stay home. My hips still weren't feeling up to standing for a long period, which always happens at these things, anyway. So I just stayed home.

I have somehow tagged Aaron on here almost half as many times as Jack, despite the fact that I've had Jack for 11 years and Aaron for only 3. I usually only tag them if they do something cute or if I have to take them to the vet. I suspect this comes from all the vet visits for Aarons UTIs? Though I'm pretty sure that Jack has hurt his legs more often than Aaron had UTIs.

At this point, my hips don't hurt anymore, so I'm hopeful I can get to fighter practice tomorrow evening if they don't flare up overnight again. Maybe that's a bad idea, though. But since the writers don't seem to write anymore, I'm not sure what else to do with my Thursdays. if I do the thing, I need to buy gas. I went to buy gas yesterday, and all of the machines had a card in the credit card slot that said "cash only" - I'm certainly not about to either try to guess what my gas will cost ahead of time nor spend my cash on gas because they can't get their shit together to allow me to pay with a credit card. There are plenty of other gas stations around, and they should be punished financially for not having their shit together. I've been thinking I shouldn't go to that station anyway because one of their pumps doesn't allow you to set it and stop holding it the entire time you're pumping, and I never remember which one it is so I often end up at it. lol. I just realized that I drove off and left my gas cap off. Fortunately it was still attached when I got out there.

One of the founding members of our barony, Duke John the Mad Celt, found out yesterday he has cancer, and today they did surgery. It was fairly major surgery, and he's still going to be in the hospital for a few days, and then we'll see what's going on about chemo and all those other cancer treatments out there. The speed they're moving with makes me think things are bad.

Master Gluten Free Crumble Recipe

Apr. 24th, 2019 02:29 pm
[syndicated profile] gfshoestring_feed

Posted by Nicole Hunn

Turn your favorite fruit of the season into a show-stopping dessert with this master gluten free crumble recipe.

(This recipe works best for less fibrous summer fruits, like fresh berries and stone fruits. If you’d like to make an apple crumble, I have a separate recipe for that.)

Turn your favorite fruit of the season into a show-stopping dessert with this master gluten free crumble recipe.

Crisp or a crumble

Fruit crisps and fruit crumbles are basically the same things. Each is a deceptively simple dessert with a fruit base and a crisp-tender buttery topping baked together to perfection. 

Originally, a fruit dessert was considered a crisp only if it had oats and/or nuts added since they would “crisp” during baking. A crumble was denser and nubbier. But they both have crisp edges and tender centers, and each can be made with or without oats, so the names tend to be used interchangeably now.

Crumble topping recipe

Many of the crumble topping recipes that you’ll find are made more like a pastry, with cold, grated or diced butter in the mixture. I find that the easiest way to make a crisp topping with plenty of lumps of different sizes is to melt the butter and mix it into a mixture of flour, oats, sugars, and salt. 

When you mixed melted butter into the dry ingredients and sugars, and then refrigerate the mixture, you can break up the crumble topping into whatever sizes and shapes you like. I like the topping to have very small crumbs, slightly larger ones, and some really large pieces. 

Turn your favorite fruit of the season into a show-stopping dessert with this master gluten free crumble recipe.

How to make a berry crumble

A berry crumble can be made with any type of berry, but strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries work best. I don’t love baking with blackberries since the seeds don’t soften that much during baking, and the added texture can be unpleasant.

To make a berry crumble when berries are in season, use fresh fruit if you can. Taste each type of raw fruit, and see how sweet it is.

If you’re in the heart of berry season and the fruit is super ripe and juicy, feel free to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. If your fruit is nearly overripe, you can still use it but add another tablespoon (9 g) of tapioca starch to the filling recipe.

You can still make a berry crumble in the middle of the winter using frozen fruit. Frozen fruit is often of the very best quality since it’s frozen right when it’s at its peak.

Don’t defrost frozen fruit before using it, though. The filling is best when the fruit melts quickly in the hot oven. When you’re using frozen strawberries, avoid the largest berries since you won’t be able to slice them in half before adding them to the filling. 

Turn your favorite fruit of the season into a show-stopping dessert with this master gluten free crumble recipe.

How to make a stone fruit crumble

I don’t ever remove the skin on stone fruits before baking with them. After having made fresh homemade baby food for all 3 of my kids for years, I know how time-consuming that process can be—and the skin of stone fruit like peaches, nectarines, and apricots is very soft and tender when the fruit is raw, and even more so after baking.

Turn your favorite fruit of the season into a show-stopping dessert with this master gluten free crumble recipe.

In this recipe, I used mostly peaches and apricots, with some plums. The skin of plums is tougher than other stone fruits, but it softens significantly after baking. 

You really can use any combination of stone fruits you like, and frozen stone fruits work just as well (if not better) than fresh. Like in a berry crumble, don’t defrost the fruit before baking or it will release too much of its liquid. 

Turn your favorite fruit of the season into a show-stopping dessert with this master gluten free crumble recipe.

Pay particular attention to the sweetness of your stone fruits by tasting them raw. If they seem overly tart, add some more sugar to the filling.

Taste with a clean spoon as you go, and make sure you’d eat the filling raw as the flavors will only intensify during baking. Peaches are generally better for baking than nectarines since they tend to be softer and sweeter, but nectarines will work, too. 

Turn your favorite fruit of the season into a show-stopping dessert with this master gluten free crumble recipe.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy-free: The only dairy in this recipe is in the butter that is used to make the crumble topping. Butter does a great job of creating a nubby, bumpy crumble that is crisp and tender but holds its shape. 

If you were to use Earth Balance buttery sticks in place of butter, it would probably melt too much during baking. I’d recommend trying a mix of Earth Balance and Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. 

Tapioca starch: Tapioca starch is the best thickener to use in the filling recipe, to help absorb some of the juices that the fruit produces as it bakes. You can use cornstarch in its place, but cornstarch tends to leak when it cools so I prefer tapioca starch.

Gluten free oats: Certified gluten free oats are safe on a gluten free diet. They add great texture and some chew to the topping recipe. 

If you can’t have oats or want to avoid them for any reason, you can replace the oats in this recipe with an equal amount, by weight, of chopped pecans or cashews. Softer nuts will help add bulk and texture, like oats. 


Turn your favorite fruit of the season into a show-stopping dessert with this master gluten free crumble recipe. #glutenfree #gf #crumble #crisp #berries #summer

The post Master Gluten Free Crumble Recipe appeared first on Great gluten free recipes for every occasion..

[syndicated profile] cairogossip_feed

Posted by Dina Khafagy

Channel your inner party animal and get ready to party all night long because we’ve got the scoop on all the awesome parties happening in our great capital this weekend!

Starting with Thursday, head to CJC’s Thursday Night Live with Funk off, and the ever-jazzy cover band, Amro and The Big Bang Boogie who will be in charge of the music! And, since we’re speaking of wild parties, make sure you don’t miss Doggy Dogg’s crazy spinning at The Tap Maadi.

Over on the east side, Motherfunkers will get everyone grooving at The Tap East this Thursday.

While on the west side, over at Cairo Jazz Club 610, Oriol Calvo and Ahmed Eid will take the decks, take it from us, you don’t want to miss it! The folks at The Tap West will be grooving with Soul M and king Feedo. 

If you’re feeling oriental, head to Gŭ Lounge’s awesome WKND party with Hassan El Kholaky and their awesome belly dancers.

Kick off your Friday at CJC 610’s Friday brunch with Omar Emara’s awesome tunes. At night, everyone at CJC 610 will boogie with the king himself, Feedo, with another wild edition of Block Party!

Mr. Arafa will be at The Tap East with the sickest mixes. The Tap Maadi is bringing Frogmoose this Friday where it’s all about rock, pop and punk!

Gŭ Lounge’s awesome WKND party continues on Friday with Hamza El Soghier and their excellent belly dancers.

On Saturday, head to The Tap West because Spade of Hearts will be jazzing it up! As always it’s your favourite Saturday brunch at Cairo Jazz Club 610, featuring Gravity and Gahallah!

Meanwhile, Ahmed Shiba will be at Gu Lounge along with the awesome belly dancers this Saturday, make sure you don’t miss it! And finally, get ready for Jack at The Tap Maadi.

Back to the east side of the city, up on The Tap East’s decks is your favourite DJ Teddy, make sure you don’t miss the chance to dance all night long! While, High Dam are taking the stage by storm at Cairo Jazz Club for one hell of a night!

[syndicated profile] alreadypretty_feed

Posted by Sally

I have mentioned many, many, MANY times that I daydream about California Closets. Oh, how I long to pay someone thousands of dollars to make my wardrobe look like an organizatrix’s dream. But until then, I’ll stick to my nearly-free...


Here at Feminist Philosophers…

Apr. 24th, 2019 11:00 am
[syndicated profile] feministphilosophers_feed

Posted by Lady Day

As we announced April 23, Feminist Philosophers is shutting down. This is one of a series of posts by FP bloggers looking back on the blog and bidding it farewell.


I began my first ever post for Feminist Philosophers on June 4, 2012 with the following words: “Here at Feminist Philosophers, we love…”

It doesn’t matter how that sentence ends. What’s striking to me about it now is that in my very first post for a blog that had by then already existed for five years and had already received about four million site views (not a spitball; I just looked it up!), I was cocky enough to make myself perfectly at home in this way.

Some of that was no doubt due to my own bravado, but I think that a larger reason why I acted at home in my first Feminist Philosophers post is that by then, for me, as for countless other women philosophers, the blog really did feel like home. This is no mean feat in a discipline that often feels anything but hospitable to women.

For many women philosophers who felt isolated not only in the discipline but in their home departments, Feminist Philosophers was a crucial lifeline. It helped us to feel part of a scholarly community, but it also helped to change the community in big and small ways.

The blog shared advice, data, and analysis, called out male-only conferences, and fostered much-needed conversations about such topics as implicit bias, stereotype threat, micro-inequities, and sexism in academe. You can get a sense of the scope of the topics, by taking a look at the first page of the blog’s drop-down menu of categories available for each post:

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 8.38.32 PM
A glimpse of some of the categories available to Feminist Philosophers bloggers.

The blog also celebrated the work of feminist philosophers, and supported feminist philosophers when they were down. (A case in point: a couple of months before I joined the blog, a conservative pundit compared me unfavorably to Stalin. Feminist Philosophers poked gentle fun at the comparison, which helped me to feel like I was sharing a chuckle with savvy women colleagues rather than just being freaked out that somebody hated me enough to write about me as the pundit had.) As well, many readers wrote to the blog for various kinds of confidential advice and support during tough times — support that  they very often received behind the scenes thanks to the wisdom, discretion,  and generosity of some of FP’s senior bloggers.

I have been the beneficiary of the improvements in the discipline wrought by Feminist Philosophers to a much greater extent than I have been a contributor to those changes. I joined five years in, and having only authored 93 posts, I am one of the blog’s less frequent posters. (Ugh! If only I had counted my contributions before today, I could have contrived to go out on my hundredth post. Alas, 94 — this post — will be my last.)

Still, I have been enormously proud to play a tiny part in a blog that has served the discipline so well. While here, I learned a lot more about the contours of the discipline, I cut my teeth on public scholarship, and I wrote some posts that I’m proud of.

I think that the post I’m proudest of writing for Feminist Philosophers was one in which I as a Canadian woman worked through some of the legal issues that were exposed by the acquittal for sexual assault of notorious Canadian broadcaster, Jian Ghomeshi. Here’s a link. I don’t know whether the post was much better than others I wrote, but I do know that other women told me afterwards that they found it a helpful perspective at a difficult time. If we philosophers can occasionally offer a helpful perspective at a difficult time, then that is not a bad thing at all.

These days, most of my public philosophy contributions occur in the realm of academic freedom and campus free expression/speech issues. If you’d like to read some of that work, then check out my Dispatches on Academic Freedom column for University Affairs.

To the creators of Feminist Philosophers, thank you for all you have done to make philosophy a place where more of us feel at home, and thank you for letting me play a small part. I was honoured to join the team, and I am grateful to be able to participate in this final celebration of Feminist Philosophers as it winds down.



Sick Boy

Apr. 24th, 2019 12:15 pm
[syndicated profile] tinycatpants_feed

Posted by Aunt B.

My nephew has some kind of crud and his throat hurts and the only thing that seems to help is carbonation. Which meant that, when he sat on my lap last night and asked for my Sprite, I gave it to him.

I was wise enough to not drink the Sprite after him.

But when he reached up and shoved a fist full of French fries at me, I ate them. And when he laughed, even though he was clearly feeling like shit, I ate some more out of his little grubby hands.

When I complain about being sick later, let’s all remember how it happened.


ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
Ajnabieh - The Foreigner

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