The past few months I've been reading a lot to do with "whiteness studies," and, at first, I was somewhat excited about the possibilities I saw in this line of inquiry - at least, I found the intersection of whiteness and blackness in terms of consumerism really interesting - and it seemed a refreshing take on things. In particular, I came across a quote that struck me: "making whiteness visible works 'to dislodge them/us from the position of power'" - which would seem to be a valuable, provocative, and productive interrogation of white identity. And another question I came across - "what makes you think I'm white?" as a challenge to the universality of whiteness - brings into question the whole social constructedness of race.
Apparently, "whiteness studies" is a field that used to be subsumed under "ethnic studies," but over the past decade or so has now claimed its own separate identity. So does anyone else see this shift in status as somewhat contradictory and disturbing - an expression of its popularity with uncomfortable implications?
Saturday 19th August Quito
The volcano, Tungurahua, erupted violently this week with devastating pyroclastic flows, lava flows, and emissions of various size tephra that included volcanic bombs, pumice pellets, and huge quantities of ash that covered an extensive area of the country. A state of emergency was called.
We went into the field on Monday and worked around the volcano all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning to see the effects of the July 14th eruption. That earlier event had created all sorts of problems for many small communities - however less than twenty fours hours after our visit they were all gone. We had planned doing interviews in Banos on Wednesday (Banos sits at the base of the volcano) but were called by the vulcanologists at the volcano observatory and told to leave immediately. The volcano had been rumbling all morning (and continued for the next 16 hours or so) and the explosions rattled windows as far as 20 kilometers away. We took their advice and evacuated to the observatory where we watched some more very violent eruptions. Probably the most frightening was seeing the pyroclastic flows cascade down the mountain destroying the villages we had been in the day before, and all the time hoping that the residents had heeded the warning to get out. All of that, of course, is the subject of further research.
The eruptions continued all that afternoon and evening, and into the next day destroying the lives of many. The impacts can be seen everywhere; agriculture throughout a wide area has been damaged extensively, roads are gone, a river blocked by pyroclastic flows, electricity is out in some areas and we know that four villages no longer exist. Thousands have been evacuated and several people are dead with many others missing.
On Thursday, we found everything covered in ash and had serious problems getting around. Anyway, we managed to conduct interviews with some evacuees in the shelters and heard some terrifying stories. We eventually got out of the area riding in trucks, farm vehicles and walking; we were covered in ash. Yesterday we arrived back in
, safe and sound, where we were debriefed by the National Civil Defense. We should be home tomorrow... Quito
and i am sitting here
watching the sun shine through the rain drops.
trying to get some work done.
but not really interested.
and lacking motivation.
my mind is elsewhere.
with a girl.
of course it is.
that is my life.
also thoughts of the other night.
when i can't remember anything after my second drink.
with colleagues too.
and what am i really here for?
questions like this continue to swirl about
in my mind.
where is that pull? that special thing?
why do i feel so empty here?
like nothing really is for me.
like i am here only to wander.
only to do random stuff.
how long has it been this way?
Reuters - Mon Aug 14, 3:23 PM ET
TORONTO - Researchers, activists and major funders have agreed to a shift in the fight against AIDS to focus on prevention and especially helping women protect themselves. With big pharmaceutical companies making their HIV drugs available cheaply to developing nations and with generic drugs available, speakers at the 16th International Conference on AIDS agreed the focus needs to move to preventing new infections.
- Suffer, little children: AIDS forum spotlights smallest victims AFP - 30 minutes ago
- Black leaders urge fight against AIDS AP - 50 minutes ago
- Cannabis pitched as pain killer at AIDS conference Reuters - 2 hours, 1 minute ago
- AIDS focus shifts from treatment to prevention Reuters - 2 hours, 7 minutes ago
- WHO calls for massive increase in global AIDS tests AFP - Mon Aug 14, 4:38 PM ET
- Anti-HIV tactics for women urged at Boston Globe - Mon, Aug 14, 2006
- Gates calls for emphasis on HIV prevention at San Francisco Chronicle - Mon, Aug 14, 2006
- Gateses Urge Speed on HIV-Preventive Drugs at The Washington Post (reg. req'd) - Mon, Aug 14, 2006
- AIDS Effort in Zambia Hailed as a Success at The New York Times (reg. req'd) - Mon, Aug 14, 2006
- Equip women in fight, Gates urges at Toronto Star (reg req'd) - Mon, Aug 14, 2006