Monday, 23 July 2018

Link Pack #10: A desi dinosaur and a paper on development pedagogy

In a bid to blog more regularly, I am reinstating my 'link packs' series where I discuss interesting things I've read/heard/seen in the week. Hope you enjoy them and as much as I did!

Book: I have finally got around to reading Pranay Lal's impressive book Indica: A deep natural history of the Indian subcontinent. Just halfway through the book but it is already something I wished I had to read in school - would've made my geology, geography, biology classes so much more interesting. In case you aren't convinced, he introduced me to India's very own dinosaur the Kashmirosaurus! Now why weren't we taught that growing up? [PS: Here's a great review of the book by Valmik Thapar.]

Paper: Prof Petra Tschakert's new paper "Affective dimensions of teaching and doing development" is a treat for anyone doing/teaching development. Drawing on reflections from two masters courses at the University of Western Australia, the authors (a professor, a teaching assistant, and the students themselves) reflect on how emotional engagements with development theory, and practice are critical to make sense of the dilemmas most (if not all) those involved in the development sector face. They enter this messy and often very uncomfortable space through four lenses: "false binaries (male/female, rational/emotional; north/south, rich/poor, developed/developing and modern/traditional); engagement with the ‘Other’ (the quintessential development ‘subject’) and positionality (our own positionality as development scholars and future practitioners); embodied learning (creating spaces for bodily experiences) and postdevelopment (engaging all our senses)" (p.2). As a relatively privileged person doing research in often very vulnerable communities, the tussles the students recount were very familiar to me. In capturing and making sense of some of these tussles, I think this is an important paper for all of us who try to 'do' and teach development.

Podcast: Finally got to Caliphate, a 10-episode podcast by Rukmini Callimachi, who takes the listeners on her quest to understand the ISIS, its compulsions and outcomes. I heard savoured it over ten days and I can't recommend it enough. Please listen to it now!

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