What Makes a “Tradition?”

Let me begin this by telling you a story. A story that will bring some of African's and my own frustrations around this issue to light. I sat excited for the new semester in the incredibly cold and overconditioned classroom. The people around me were chattering incessantly but I was tuning them out. I was … Continue reading What Makes a “Tradition?”

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People are Problematic: The Truth about Resistance

The exaltation of resistance leaders, around the globe, upon glossy white pedestals has fed into three problems with far reaching consequences that are relevant to how we judge resistance now. These issues shut down opportunities by shutting out the realities, the truth about resistance. This is not only problematic for those involved, but also for our society. If people are shut down and unrecognized it only continues to silence marginalized groups. It needs to stop.

Is Oral Important? The Struggle of Working in Precolonial Studies

Oral history straddles a line that all history does: the modern interpretation of the past and the bias and inaccuracies this conflict can produce. Even written history's interpretations and conclusions are effected by the period it was written. This is why primary sources are coveted. You can never get closer to understanding what people were … Continue reading Is Oral Important? The Struggle of Working in Precolonial Studies

Listen, Always Listen: Female Circumcision

Many people do not understand the difference between listening to someone's perspective and obeying.  When people cease to feel remotely heard they usually cry out "listen" and those who are already ignoring them think it means "obey me, submit, everything I say is right." That is not what listen means. In fact, I just looked it up to … Continue reading Listen, Always Listen: Female Circumcision

The Creation of the African Boogeyman

The setting of this story is in the beautiful Kenyan highlands of the 1950s, where British colonists had fallen in love with a beating sun, fertile earth, and the majestic Mount Kenya at the heart of it all in the 1920s. The highlands were not just beautiful they also lacked a plethora of obstacles to European settlement … Continue reading The Creation of the African Boogeyman

We Would Not Be Capable

When atrocities occur our gut reaction is to wonder why and how. I have broadly answered the why of the Rwandan genocide. On the International Day of Reflection for the Rwandan genocide I want to go deeper. How can average people commit violence on such a large scale? How could the Hutu Power movement kill, … Continue reading We Would Not Be Capable

Accepted “Fact” versus Real Heroes

I fell for it. I will be the first to admit I fell for Hotel Rwanda hook line and sinker. I watched it in high school and ate it up. I was right there with the rest of the world in my respect and reverence for the bravery portrayed particularly by "Rwanda's Schindler," Paul Rusesabagina. … Continue reading Accepted “Fact” versus Real Heroes