Reading Recommendations: November

Each month we bring you a selection of reading material recommendations from our staff. Here are the selected readings for November. 

The epistemological violence of liberal Ethiopian feminism: A response to Sehin Teferra by Mistir Sew

A series of articles shared with me from late 2020, which explore debates around feminism in Ethiopia, including how feminism relates to (or not) broader dynamics related to the country’s political trajectory.

Recommended by Alex Shoebridge

1946: The making of the modern world by Victor Sebestyen

Wars didn’t end in 1945. After Nazi Germany collapsed, it took time for refugees, prisoners of war, soldiers and politicians to return to their homes and rebuild a life. 1946 is a story about the beginning of the new world, with an international system that is till familiar today as it shapes how political actors approach decisions such as war and peace in the 21st century. As we rethink existing models in a post-Covid world, returning to 1946 is a helpful guide that explains the opportunities, shortcomings and challenges that led to the absence of another world war for nearly 100 years.

Recommended by Caroline Varin

Tamakon by Kaitlyn Hashem

A framing blog for a new Arabic-language podcast series called Tamakon, co-curated by Kaitlyn Hashem, a hugely talented young researcher. The podcast series aims to provide an analytical space for women from the Arab world to present their analyses and insights on critical social, political, economic, and cultural issues impacting the Middle East and North Africa. In doing so it tries to address the barriers to women’s exclusion from socio-political spaces, and confront often elite and tokenistic endeavours to advance women’s inclusion. The blog and the series also constructively problematise the (horrible) term “women’s issues”, interestingly concluding that despite their well-meaning efforts to get beyond the term, the first season of the podcast demonstrated that “for as long as systematic gender inequality persists, there will be no abandoning “women’s issues”. Instead it aims to provide a platform for women to define “women’s issues” and also to define what terms like “empowerment” and “liberation” mean.

Recommended by Alex Bramble

Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle

The founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest Gang reinsertion program in the world, Father Greg Boyle tells stories that will make you laugh and cry about the power of compassion and how to stand with those on the margins. A great and powerful model for inclusion.

A grain of Wheat / Ngugi wa Thiong’o

One of Kenya’s greatest writers with a historical novel about Kenya’s path to independence. In A Grain of Wheat , Ngugi Wa Thiong’o writes about the lives of villagers whose lives have been transformed by the 1952–1960 Emergency.

Recommended by Rainer Gude

Against White Feminism by Rafia Zakaria

Important voice to fill gaps in feminist mainstream literature and also to better reflect current development of a feminist movement/foreign policy

Recommended by Pamela Skowron-Mrowka

Peace between Peace(s)? Urban Peace and the Coexistence of Antagonists in City Spaces by Ivan Gusic

Peace is many things to many people, but one thing it isn’t is singular. Transitions from war are contested because there are always competing visions of what a postwar society should look like. But while there may be outliers that deviate from the norm, they do not foreclose the possibility of coexistence between multiple versions of peace. This article suggests that cities can generate spaces where multiple forms of peace can coexist by being creative, accommodating, and fragmenting urban space through their design. The example used is Belfast, Mitrovica, and Mostar. The author calls this conceptualisation urban peace.

Recommended by Wairimu Wanjau



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