I've recently learned that I have been awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation. What this means is that I get to do more fieldwork!
I'm headed to Conakry, Guinea, in about two weeks until mid-June and then Bamako, Mali, from September sometime to December sometime. This research will be focused on the same international agenda that I researched in Cote d'Ivoire, but I won't be doing strictly comparative research.
What I'm really excited about (in the research sense, not in the human citizen sense) is learning the differences in context with these three countries. Guinea has reported a number of new Ebola cases in the past week, and the security situation in Mali is somewhat unstable at the moment. My project is not explicitly focused on either of these threats/events, but they of course inform the context that my research partners operate in and impact the response of the international community (and lots of others), which in turn changes women's strategies and the attention given to women's issues in these countries.
I'm not certain I'm able to express how much I'm beginning to love West Africa as a sometime-resident and as a politics-art-society–watcher. But I'm so thrilled to be heading back.
This past Sunday, 18 people were killed in the French colonial capital–turned beach resort of Grand-Bassam, about 25 miles outside Abidjan. Here's a reconstruction of the events by my friend Robbie Corey-Boulet, along with Carley Petesch.
Fellow Fulbrighter and UC political science grad student Justine Davis and I wrote an article for The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog, "6 things you need to know about Côte d'Ivoire in the wake of Sunday's attack." It's almost a primer on current events there and integrates our preliminary research. You should read it.
Travel and research notes
Fieldwork and travel in Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Mali, as well as Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tanzania, South Africa, and wherever else I end up. Plus occasional research-related thoughts.