Gender and Politics
Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration
Qualitative Research Design
Critical IR Theory
Critical Race Theory
Youth Civic Education
Congo, Democratic Republic of the (Zaire)
Central African Republic
I am currently engaged in several areas of research. As an educator in the US, my work is centered broadly the liberal arts, particularly history, philosophy, and literature. Preparation for the courses I teach has required research in disparate fields such as gender and sexuality studies, critical race theory, and philosophy of science. This carries over to my work as an educator in Burundi, where I teach a liberal arts seminar along with English composition and a course on peacebuilding. My dissertation, which I am in the process of writing up, is on the World Bank's Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and uses ethnographic methods to explore what this process meant to local peacbuilders who implemented the program. In it, I ask how the MDRP (which involved 7 countries in all) was constituted: according to what logic, and on the basis of whose assumptions? I argue that the World Bank-funded program was the product of a broader system of knowledge about post-conflict peacebuilding and development; and that deep-seated assumptions about knowledge itself within that universe resulted in the marginalization of Congolese local knowledge and context-specific expertise in both the design and implementation of the program.
The International Financial Institutions didn't just play politics with resources in Africa during the Cold War, they continued a tradition of Western intervention based on the idea of bringing civilization or development to countries seen as inferior in some way. President Mobutu of Congo (Zaire) deftly manipulated Cold War animosities to his own benefit, in part through the IFIs. This chapter explores how classical IR's critiques of the IFIs in Congo are limited to the use of funds as a Cold War political tool - both for Western interests in fighting communism and Mobutu's interests in maintaining a neopatrimonial system. Underlying all of this, however, is a development discourse that is taken for granted in classical IR. That same discourse justifies Western intervention in the first place, and determines who has a claim to legitimate knowledge and who does not. In order to get at a real critique, IR should shed its colonial past and embrace its more critical strands.
"Is the Media Ignoring Sudan's Uprising?"