News

A new project on borders

I'm planning a new multi-chapter project on international borders. One of the chapters will explore borders drawn by colonial powers—specifically, German colonialism in Südwestafrika (the region comprising today's Namibia). The so-called Caprivi strip, in particular, is a perfect illustration of how colonial powers divided the global South into spheres of influence, leaving behind borders that are completely at odds with any social or cultural realities "on the ground."

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New work: Paraíso

My latest project, Paraíso, challenges the binary stereotype of the "corrupt" South and the "clean" North. The global anti-corruption industry, dominated by governments and organisations from industrialised countries, wants to make us believe that corruption is mainly a problem in the developing world - as illustrated, for example, by one of the most widely used measures of corruption, Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, which paints the developing world in a dark red.

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However, this picture hides the fact that corruption also happens in industrialised counties. Specifically, Paraíso shifts the focus onto London, which has been described as "the heart of global financial corruption" [link].

$tow High in Transit ($HIT)

I've added new work to the website. The $tow High in Transit ($HIT) project explores the tensions of globalisation through the Peruvian guano boom of the 19th century. More info here.

The title comes from the fact that - when transported by ship - guano, like other natural fertilisers, had to be stowed high enough off the lower decks so that it wouldn't be wetted by seawater. Not only would this have increased the weight of the guano, but contamination by seawater could have led to a build-up of methane, which, in turn, could have triggered an explosion.

Volume VI of The Chemist journal (1845) includes an account of this happening to a vessel off the east coast of England. (Click on the image for a larger view.)

By the way, the word "shit" does not come from the acronym for "stow high in transit" - this is a common false etymology. It still makes a fitting acronym for my project, though.

Loupe Magazine