Abstract: Women’s Experiences of Urban Food Insecurity

In keeping with my earlier commitment to maintain this space better, I wanted to share an abstract from a paper I wrote in 2011. It was my first time approaching a topic using gender analysis and was the first time I realized how different the ways  we approach development could be as a result.

Abstract:

 ‘Women are both vulnerable and powerful – victimized and empowered – through food.’ –Van Esterik

Globally, urban regions are experiencing unprecedented levels of growth, which has caused urban food security to move to the forefront of international agendas, however a gendered analysis is often lacking. This paper will examine the ways in which women are affected by urban food insecurity and the ways in which they respond to the crisis. Through analysis of secondary sources and of the unique experiences of women in a community in Harare, Zimbabwe, this paper will demonstrate that women are affected by urban food insecurity much more severely than men. However, women are also in a better position to change their situation and the situation of their community into one that is more food secure.

Sharing some old stuff I wrote

Hey guys,

It’s been a while since I posted anything on here, however I intend to get back into the trend of using this space to explore some more academic pursuits and using it as a space to ‘free write’ when ideas come to me – to remain in the practice of writing academically.

However, until that happens, I thought I would share part of a paper I wrote a while ago. So read on if you’re interested, I’d love to hear your thoughts and if this is a topic you are interested in, I would be happy to share the full document.

Creating the Body: Social Media and Sexual Violence

This paper will explore the intersections of the body as a sexed and gendered space through the lens of social and cultural construction and will view the concepts of sex and gender as inherently performative. Using the context of sexual violence and narratives surrounding sexual violence within North America this paper will explore if and how sexual violence (re)produces understandings of the body or (re)constitutes the body. Through this process, the paper hopes to explore whether narratives of sexual violence and victimhood can be understood through discourses of performativity and the body. Simone de Beauvoir’s statement that ’one is not born, but rather, becomes a woman’ is incredibly salient for the purposes of this paper as it is through performativity that one embodies the sexed or gendered body (De Beauvoir, 2011 [1949]). Through the process of ’becoming‘ woman, the body is marked as deviant from the male body and within the process of ‘becoming’ it is important to question the role of social media in producing normative bodies and of sexual violence in marking some bodies (Butler, 1990; De Beauvoir, 2011 [1949]).

In a sense, this paper operates on the assumption that the body does exist as a social space through which individuals can embody sex and gender, but also as a space through which performativity is read by an external audience through the lens of culture and society (Butler, 1990; De Beauvoir, 2011 [1949]). By examining the body through these processes, I hope to understand the impacts that sexual violence has both as creating an imprint on the body but also in how performativity is read (Foucault, 1977 [1975]; Foucault, 1978 [1976]). Within recent media attention and within sexual violence research, we have seen a trend away from (re)victimizing those who have experienced sexual violence; this, alongside the extremely low instances of reposing sexual violence demonstrates there is something salient about how people are perceived if they are open about experiences of sexual violence (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2008). I argue that the importance of these perceptions can be understood through an analysis of the body and of performativity in the context of sexual violence and social media.

To do so, this paper will follow some common experiences that occur prior to, during, and following  instances of sexual violence — particularly as represented through social media — using three  recent cases from North America;  herein referred to as the Ohio case, the Missouri case, and the Nova Scotia case — these cases will also be referred to collectively where inferences can be made. . .

American or British?

The English language has far too many differences in each region. If you utilize American English then your organization or center works extremely hard and put in lots of labor to run programs. But if you utilise British English then your organisation or centre works extremely hard and puts in lots of labour to run programmes. What does that mean for a development organization?

If you live and work in a country where English is not the first language then you don’t have an official national English dictionary, and therefore either of those options could be correct. But what would be incorrect would be to mix American and non-American English in the same document or sentence. This may seem boring but to an NGO working with partners and donors around the world it is remarkably important.

Development organizations are constantly stuck in this middle-ground, with no ‘official’ English in the country of operation they must constantly switch between different regional versions of English and this means tailoring each document to the donor or audience. This is hard enough to do if English is your first language, but even harder if its your second or third.

As much of my job involves editing and reviewing documents I get to spend a lot of time up close and personal with the oddities of the English language and this has made me more aware of how to properly tailor your writing to your audience. If your donor is British do not write a document full of the letter z or words ending in or. If your donor is American use the letter z all you want, don’t end words in our. This stuff matters a lot. Using the wrong language or the wrong grammar will make sentences and documents look ‘wrong’ to a reader and can very well be the different between FUNDED or BROKE.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Grad School

I have finally submitted (and paid for) my graduate school applications after spending weeks reviewing and re-reading my applications. I came close to submitting them several times before but kept getting intense feelings of nervousness before I could hit ‘send’.

I believe that I am making the right decisions, that I will enjoy my Masters experience, and that I will contribute something new to my field with my thesis. But now it means I have to wait months until I hear back to determine if I will be one of the select few allowed in.

Now, I have to finalize my thesis proposal, proving that my research will be something new; this also pretty much determines what kind of work I will be doing for the remainder of my academic career and what I will be an ‘expert’ in.

Any words of wisdom from the wordpress world?

Sincere apologies

A small update for everyone!

I’m currently writing the last academic papers of my undergraduate degree titled “Genocide: Perpetrated through Sexual Violence” and “Gender Mainstreaming in Structural Adjustment: The Forgotten Element”. I’ll share more on these later.

Once those are submitted I’ll be back in full force and excited to share some of what I learnt while writing them (particularly the one about genocide).

What’s interesting about my degree is that while this is my last academic term (which will officially end tonight at midnight), I still have eight months left of my degree. However those eight months will be spent in Vietnam working for the Center for Sustainable Rural Development.

I will be leaving Canada September 9th around noon, but I will be leaving home (aka Northern Ontario) near the end of August, so in the mean time if there is anything you’re interested in regarding gender issues, my placement, or anything that you think I’d find interesting, please share it with me and I’d be happy to read/write about it.

Disclaimer

I feel as thought I should begin this with a disclaimer.. I’ve always been hesitant about having a blog-why would anything I say be important or relevant to the lives of others? And each post begins with that moment of stalling, trying to find a way to word thoughts and parts of your life in a way that others would find interesting or at least understand.

While reading, please keep in mind that this blog contains my ideas, my viewpoints, and my thoughts. It is not intended to represent the views of the University of Waterloo, International Development program, Faculty of Environment, St. Paul’s University College, World University Service Canada, and/or anyone/anything else I could potentially be linked to.

So with that said, I intend to simply write/post whatever I happen to find interesting or worthwhile at that particular moment. Feel free to give me direction, ideas, question my ideas, and so on.