Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gender, Diversity and Legality in African Extractivisms: Fish

Critiques of dominant sustainability discourses don't get much more gun-slinging than this TEDx talk by the dulcet, dimpled Jennifer Johnson (she even wore the cowboy boots):

Watching her TEDx talk reminded me anew of why I have been so lucky to teach and learn with Jennifer. When she was a Masters Student it thrilled me to see a sharp girl who spent summers in holiday cottages on our own Great Lakes come of intellectual age navigating the blighted cities and development dead ends of the rust belt where once Rosie the Riveter reigned. Now she is wading for real into the fray about African fisheries, offering a most unusual mix of outrage and optimism.

Watching her also reminded me why the TED form is so useful, as it interacts with the much more elaborate narratives many of us produce. It distills things down to a powerful story, but one that is enriched by much more complex thought and work. It is vernacular, and intricate, and compelling. For an audience, it brings things to life. For a scholar, it reminds us why we do the work.

I would be remiss not to also mention so many of the undergrad students from my "Culture, Adaptation and Environment" class, past and present. Great to see them captured on camera sitting in that audience for Jennifer's talk (shout out Max, training your own guns on timber certification's imperfections when it comes to the gleam in your guitars!)

Thanks TEDx team, i know how many long hours go into this work (to hear some of the minds behind it talk about putting that event together, tune to their show for It's Hot in Here).

And may I also commend this campus for fostering such vibrant out-of-the-classroom interfaces for grad and undergrad minds to connect and create? That, too, is the Michigan difference.