Last summer I taught at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey and this summer I’ll be headed to the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. As I get ready for departure, I want to do a blog post on teaching overseas.
Although, I cringe when people call me a “teacher” (since I’m a researcher as well), teaching is very important to me. I enjoy being at a teaching oriented institution. However, I’m often jealous of friends and colleagues at research institutions who have resources and schedules that make going abroad easier. In the absence of those resources, teaching overseas during the summer is a great opportunity to both develop myself as a teacher and conduct research. Importantly, working with students overseas makes me something other than a tourist. While, I don’t horribly mind being a tourist (sometimes), being one certainly limits you. As a social scientist, it’s important to have first hand knowledge that isn’t filtered through pre-packaged vacations. I don’t want to just visit places, I want to get to know as much about a society as possible.
I teach and write on globalization and cities, as such, being able to live and work in other parts of the world (even if briefly) is vital to my intellectual and professional growth. As Donald Hall writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the benefits of teaching abroad include “important pedagogical, research-related, and life lessons.” It allows me to bring experiences back into the classroom and it informs my research writing. Overseas teaching not only gives me intimate knowledge of places and people, but forces me to critically think about the material I teach or write about.
From the standpoint of research, I was able to meet with colleagues (old and new) to share ideas last summer in Istanbul. I also learned a great deal from my students. My time there led to two article manuscripts and a new perspective on the city’s dramatic growth since my first visit in 2006 (and subsequent visits in 2008 and 2011). Perhaps most interesting was being able to teach an environmental sociology course amidst the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul.
This summer, I’ll be visiting Ethiopia for the first time. This trip will greatly support my ongoing work on global urban development issues. While most of my time will be in Gondar, I’m looking forward to seeing Addis Ababa. As an urbanist, it’s always interesting to see different types of cities. I’m hoping to learn about the city and the country, as well as examine the connections that shape different types of urbanism around the world.
Follow my trip via this blog and my twitter account.
This paper examines the growth of Logistics Service Providers (LSP) managing metropolitan solid waste (MSW), as well as, neoliberalism’s effect on the processes that allow for urban growth. The combination of global urban growth, the expansion of monopoly capitalism and domination of neoliberal policies throughout the world has resulted in MSW management to be increasingly outsourced to third party providers. However, these providers do not merely handle MSW. Rather, these private firms treat MSW as part of an integrated supply chain in which “waste” is a commodity handled by one of its many sectorial divisions. As such, MSW is not just a component of urban growth machines, but is part of an ever accelerating treadmill of production (Schnaiberg, 1980). The concept of the ‘treadmill of production,’ is a valuable tool for understanding the growing importance of logistics in this political and economic context. While, this paper will look at this process globally, I will pay special attention to the growth of LSPs in Turkey and their expansion into Pakistan. First, I will discuss the development of MSW in Turkey since the 1990s and its relationship to LSPs, and then I will discuss the role of Turkish firms in Pakistan.
Presented on March 21, 2014 at the Urban Affairs Association Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX
While Turkey and California suffer from similar wildfire risk, they have developed diametrically opposed fire suppression strategies: the former adopted an increasingly centralized strategy, while the latter dwells upon a highly decentralized system. This paper is a comparative analysis that relates the politics of land use in wild-urban interfaces (WUIs) to this divergence in firefighting strategies. Our argument is that evolution of the divergent fire suppression strategies in California and Turkey are linked to two different types of rent-seeking behavior. Developers and landed interest seek for absolute rent in Turkey and differential rent in California.
The decentralized strategy in California allows for distinguishing the property prices between areas of low and high protection and commodifies safety as a form of investment regulating the market prices of land. In Turkey, the tendency toward centralization of firefighting is a part of the composite political strategy to open new land for development by completing the hitherto unfinished cadastral records of the WUIs. Thus, the centralized firefighting strategy indirectly leads to extensive commodification of the WUIs in Turkey and expands the national land market.
(2014) w/ Utku Balaban. “Politics of Urban Development and Wildfires in California and Turkey.” Environment & Planning A. Vol. 46. No 4. pp. 820-836 DOI: 10.1068/a46163