ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (Default)
As you might know if you follow me elsewhere, I'm in the middle of a two week fieldwork trip, heading back and forth between Beirut and Amman to talk and ask about community mobilization, Syrian refugees, and everyday transnationalisms. I've been posting pretty regularly on Tumblr and Twitter, or at least trying to...

But I was using Keefak, a language study app designed for Lebanese dialect, on the airplane here, and found the dialogue on politics really interesting. It's amazing how much a short text can tell is about how people think about politics. So I decided I'd try to record my thoughts on what we can learn about Lebanese citizens and their thoughts on government from this text.

Read on for screenshots of the dialogue and my analysis...

kell siyésé halo malak )
ajnabieh: A seagull standing on a "no seagulls" sign, with the text FIGHT THE POWER (fight the power seagull)
You know how you arrive at a new academic institution, meet new people, and get sucked into new all-consuming vortices of work? Yeah, one of those happened to me. However, it's been a pretty awesome experience, and I'm hoping it'll only continue to be great over the next year...two years...five years...however long...

Anyway. I'm now the co-director of Community Mobilization in Crisis, which is a program being sponsored by the University of Ottawa to develop a certificate program in community mobilization skills, to be offered through a mix of online and in-person classes to Syrian refugees and other conflict-affected communities in Lebanon. We're working with a diverse mix of academic and NGO partners to create a program that will be tuition free for students, will provide them with a living stipend in a situation where it's illegal for refugees to get work permits, can provide a bridge to higher education for youth unable to access formal schooling, and will provide the Syrian community (as refugees, and inshallah when they can go home) with trained, credentialed, and experienced leaders with experience working with NGOs and outside the formal NGO system to get things done and improve conditions for their communities.

Sounds awesome, right? Yeah, I think it is. It's also a huge amount of work: applying for funding, making sure what we're doing is targeted at the right people, looking for more funding, designing an innovative, collaborative curriculum that is pedagogically cutting edge, looking for yet more funding because OMG this thing is EXPENSIVE. But we've got some good vibes from some good funders (fingers crossed, everybody!), we've got tremendous institutional support from the university, and we've got lots of people (students, faculty, administrators, civil society folks) from across Canada, Lebanon, and beyond to put this thing into place. It's a big job, but I think we're gonna be OK.

Want to learn more? My co-director Nadia Abu-Zahra and I were on All in a Day, a CBC radio talk show, in December: you can listen to us talk about the program, and me tell stories about my research trip to Lebanon, here. I'm also planning on making a post of my photos soon, so you can get a sense of the place and what I learned, in preparation for the next trip I'm planning to make in March. And we'll be launching our social media presence in the next week or so; I'll tell you when we do!

Oh, and if you've got a couple bucks lying around you'd like to kick towards us? You can go here and support any of uOttawa's four different streams of support for refugees, including us. Bonus? If you're American, your dollar is so damn strong against ours that your donation gets matched by the exchange rate (US$1=C$1.45, excuse me while I weep about my student loans).

And THAT'S why I've been too busy to blog. :)
ajnabieh: Happy woman with broom: FIGHT ALL THE OPPRESSIONS; same woman, dejected, "Fight ALL the oppresssions?" (ALL the oppressions?)
Oof, it's been a hard semester so far. Chalk it up to a six-week-long illness (which I'm almost recovered from), accompanied by the momentous task of finishing the first draft of my dissertation. I feel a bit better now, I have to admit.

So I'm going to be posting more now! I hope! I plan!

In any case, I wanted to put this out there. On March 1, I participated in an amazing panel organized by Global Studies at the New School, entitled Coming Out in the Developing World: Insurgent Queer Identities in the Middle East. I'll fully admit, I was a last-minute pinch hitter; queer issues in the Middle East are less of a serious research interest for me, and more like a hobby-slash-political-interest. However, it was a tremendous pleasure to be on the panel.

I know that a recording of the event was made, but I can't seem to find it publicly available. However, I wrote up my talk beforehand, rather than improvising as is my wont, so I do have my text. I don't think I gave it exactly as written (who does?), but the main points are all there. I've tried to link to all of the websites that I used images from for my PowerPoint, but it's possible I missed something, or did it awkwardly; please comment if there's anything that doesn't make sense!

Progressive LGBT Activism in Lebanon: Meem, Helem, and Transnational Queer Politics )
ajnabieh: Sign for a store reading "Hot Chick." (hot chick)
I think I've had these links gestating on my hard drive long enough...time to get them out there before they rust.

Pretty & Yummy Things )
Politics Things: Iran, Yemen, Lebanon, Youth Identity )

Academia stuff; okay, only one link here )


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

March 2016

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