Category Archives: Presentation

The Hustle and the Hassle of Nairobi’s infamous traffic: Masculinity and the metaphors driving development

SIDGS Brown Bag Series – Tuesday, 14 November 2017 – 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
FSS 4006 – University of Ottawa, Social Sciences Bldg (120 Univ. Priv.)

Blame for Nairobi’s infamous traffic jams and Kenya’s high rates of vehicle-related injury and death is regularly cast upon the “matatu culture” of aggressively-run collective transport, the massive growth in private car ownership, and the proliferation of boda boda motorcycle taxis. This talk explores how each of these factors – and the pride, frustration, and stigma associated with each – can be considered an expression of different, contesting forms of masculinity in contemporary Kenya. It is part of a larger project using ethnographies of drivers, driving practices, and a review of the “anti-politics” driving road building and transport policy in Kenya.

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(Mis-)communicating climate information in Kenya

“Is this a bad time to call?” Mobile phones, migrants (mis-)communication of climate information in Kenya

NEW!  Click here to download the full presentation from Wed. 5 April, 2017 – American Association of Geographers (AAG), Boston, MA

Huge thanks to all who joined me and my fellow panelists (Peter Dannenberg; Sheila Huggins Rao; Dorothea Kleine) at the American Association for Geographers (AAG) meeting in Boston, MA.  Feedback, questions and comments continue to be welcome. Please keep in touch!

Abstract: . Ethnographic fieldwork conducted with farmer groups in contrasting high and low market-access sites over the period 2012-2016 explores how household members shared (or withheld) information about climate and agricultural performance using phones or physical visits.

Phone calls were the dominant medium for information sharing, which for agricultural issues prioritised discussion of crop problems, dry spells, lack of inputs, and extreme weather events.  Mobile money transfers were the most common response to reported problems with many migrants concerned and frustrated by the poor agricultural performance in the rural areas. Reliance on mobile communication and a decreasing frequency of migrants’ physical involvement in the rural home leads to migrants’ perceptions that climate-related changes are extreme and potentially costly.

Narratives of climate change and its impacts in rural Kenya must therefore be interpreted with care, since many are embedded in household narratives constituted to maintain the economic and emotional involvement of migrants in their rural homes.

FOLLOW THE PROJECT ON ITS WEBSITE multilocationality.wordpress.com

Where’s the Gap? The social construction of “yield gaps”

Wed. 24 Feb., 2016 – IDS Sussex, Brighton, UK

NEW!  Click here to download my presentation at the 2016 Contested Agronomy conference (“Where’s the Gap? The social construction of yield gaps between researchers’ and farmers’ practice”).  This is the draft version of the 15 minute script to the forthcoming paper… and even includes a special celebrity in an unexpected, starring role!

More information on the conference itself can be found here.

Equitable Alternatives and Local Solutions to Land Grabs in Africa

Tuesday 24 March 2015 (10 am to 12 noon)

U. Ottawa, Social Science Bldg (120 University Priv), Room 4007

Panel Discussion moderated by Adrian Harewood (@CBCAdrianH)

  • Faris Ahmed (Director of Policy, USC Canada)
  • Samuel Bonti-Ankomah (Carleton Univ.)
  • Annie Brunton (MA Student, SIDGS, uOttawa)
  • Roy Culpeper (Chair, CELADA)
  • Joshua Ramisch (uOttawa)
  • Blair Rutherford (Carleton Univ.)

Organized by :

  • CELADA (Coalition for Equitable Land Acquisitions in Africa ) – celada.ca
  • SIDGS (School of International Development & Global Studies, uOttawa) – website here.

Joshua speaks during the panel
Speaking during the panel on “Alternatives to Landgrabs” (24 Mar. 2015) [Photo credit: Eshete]
I will post links to the panel materials after the event.  In the meantime, if you are concerned with the rise of inequitable acquisitions of land in Africa and how they are displacing farmers and pastoralists, visit the CELADA resource page for possible actions.

One strategy is by emailing your MP. Persuade them to support CELADA’s aims by explaining why you believe Canada should take a leading role in challenging inequitable land acquisitions in Africa.

How to (mis)understand youth, migration & agrarian change

Much of the literature on a “cellphone revolution” in Africa frames the technology as the driver of change, for such things as financial inclusion for the poor, better agricultural or climate information to farmers, the power for social movements to hold governments accountable.  In this brown bag talk I am interested in exploring how cellphones are part of a broader set of social changes – responding to and helping to shape those changes – but not necessarily driving them.

Click here to download the slides (“This cellphone is my lifeline”: How to (mis)understand youth, migration, and agrarian change in Kenya).

This talk draws on ongoing research as well as material previously published and presented, e.g.:

Kenya’s Telephone farmers (6 May, 2014) uOttawa Alumni Week

My presentation: Kenya’s “Telephone farmers”: Cellphones, migration, and ecological knowledge (pdf version available here).

The Faculty of Social Sciences organized this panel to highlight the role of social sciences in understanding food (in)security and food issues more generally.  (Thanks to the Vice-dean of Research and Alumni Affairs for making this part of the 2014 Alumni Week!)

CO-PANELISTS: Marie-Josee Massicotte (Political Studies), Jose Lopez (Sociology), and Elizabeth (Betsy) Kristjansson (Psychology).

Photos from the event available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/uottawaalumni/sets/72157644621289493/.

2014-05 Sl Sci of Fd - send pesa
Sending money might be easy by phone in Kenya, but it complicates social and economic relationships.

Envisioning Just and Sustainable Agro-Food Systems: Actors, Principles and Approaches

The first colloquium of the Laboratory for the Interdisciplinary Study of Food (LISF) was held on 4 April 2014 (full programme here).  Local activists and researchers presented cutting edge work (in English and French) on:

  • Global and local food issues
  • How make universities’ food systems more just
  • Land grabbing and food security in Africa
  • Book launch of “Globalization and Food Sovereignty”