"Air travel is the activity that most clearly embodies the links between inequality, racism and ecological breakdown."
Read my short provocation on the uneven opportunities and impacts of air travel for academic purposes in the Journal of African Cultural Studies "Ethical? Collaboration?" collection. The collection includes stimulating pieces on the tensions and dilemmas of South-North collaboration from some amazing African scholars like Duncan Omanage and Pamela C. Mainye, Chisomo Kalinga and Grace A. Musila.
Warning: the piece contains some spicy language...
All politics involves distribution. Indeed, many would claim that politics is at its heart about controlling distribution: who gets what, when and how. Political debate over ‘empowerment schemes’ in Nigeria however shows how our ideas of what counts as legitimate forms of distribution are overly simplistic.
Read more on the Democracy in Africa blog where I summarise my upcoming article in Journal of Modern African Studies.
Prof W.S. Richards, a mentor and friend, died in 2016 aged 96. Known affectionately by many as just 'Prof', he was a remarkable man who spent the last 30 years of his life in Maiduguri, North East Nigeria. His obituary appears in an edited form in The Queen's College Record, December 2017, and is reproduced in full below.
William Styan Richards 1920-2016
The doctors told William Richards’ mother that he wouldn’t live to adulthood: but, as he liked to recall, “She was a very obstinate Yorkshire woman”. Indeed, he made it to 96. Most of his life was spent researching pest-control measures that directly improved the livelihoods of North and West African farmers. Bugs that earnt his attention included: trombicular mites; the sesame seed bug; the Sudan plague grasshopper in the great plains between the Valley of the White Nile and the Ethiopian Massif; the shoot fly; and the defoliating coccid of neem. I know nothing about such beasties beyond the sometimes improbably and always hilarious stories that ‘Prof’ told about his life spent pursuing them. ...
A blog post I wrote in September 2017 with Max Gallien:
Last week, development studies journal Third World Quarterly (TWQ) published an article that, by many common metrics used in academia today, will be the most successful in its 38-year history. The paper has, in a few days, already achieved a higher Altmetric Attention Score than any other TWQ paper. By the rules of modern academia, this is a triumph. The problem is, the paper is not.
Read more on the LSE Impact Blog
Nigeria has more phones than people. They both connect and signify difference. Recently, politicians have posted their phone numbers online in populist demonstrations of 24-hour easy-access accountability. But in the context of social inequality and government secrecy, such moves also arouse suspicion: who has access to the Governor’s ‘real’ number?
This photograph is of a mobile phone repair shop in the old centre of Ibadan, taken in 2015.
The photo was part of the LSE Research Festival 2016.
My photo essay for the Africa@LSE Blog looks at how the Governor of Oyo State's agenda for modernising Ibadan, the state capital, impacted on street traders. The photos show the tools and materials used by traders and artisans. Displays, studios and workshops are put up and taken down every day, making up hundreds of micro-workspaces along the roadside. However, aspirations to transform the city, whether held by elites or ordinary voters, leave little room for this practice. Read in full on Africa@LSE.
Debates over the meaning of development dominate politics in Nigeria's Southwestern states. For LSE's 2015 Research Festival I entered a photograph from Abeokuta, Ogun State, where a new highway cuts through the town, at times cutting houses in two. This demonstrates both the vigour and violence of certain developmental efforts, as well as the ambivalence with which such efforts are regarded by local residents, who continue to trade by the roadside. The photo won the DTC Prize. Read more on the LSE International Development Blog.