Beyond the headlines, the noise and clamor that we hear about immigration is a rather simple question: How will we welcome the stranger? The one who is unknown, perhaps vulnerable? The question of refugees is also ultimately about us, especially those living in countries where refugees come to. The U.S, Europe and the Gulf nations… Continue reading Can Philanthropy help fix the refugee crisis?
In the U.S., ‘Where are you from’ can be a loaded question. It took me a while to realize this. It could range from : a) genuine curiosity about your origins b) ignorance about who you are OR c) An arrogant assumption that you are an ‘outsider,’ even if you are more ‘native’ than the person… Continue reading “Where are you from” and other questions
Pride is one of the cardinal sins, but in today’s America it seems to have become a virtue. If Donald Trump’s rhetoric is anything to go by, and the reaction he is getting from his ‘fans,’ then this ‘sin,’ seems to be the way to win elections. In the language of culture studies, this absolute… Continue reading The Anatomy of Arrogance: How to understand the Donald Trump phenomenon
What is the best way to help people? Is it to let the market forces determine who should survive and who should sink, or should there be intervention from the state or other players? How should philanthropy be directed towards individuals and communities? These questions have neither clear-cut answers, nor a good way of being… Continue reading Should you give ‘Directly,’ for impact? Lessons from my mom’s charitable experiments
I got into an argument with a friend just yesterday. The topic was U.S. Foreign policy in the Middle East. While I do have strong ideas about this issue, so did my friend – who is a Veteran. We had a few strong exchanges and clarified our positions, in no uncertain terms. But after my… Continue reading How to tell someone they are wrong
I received an email from a relative in India, requesting me to speak with his niece, who is considering grad school in the U.S. She wants to specialize in International Relations. This is perhaps the fifth or so request I have received in the last year. So, I thought of writing a blog post for… Continue reading Ten Commandments for an International Relations Professional
Over the last two weeks, I have had a few interesting discussions on ‘development,’ both in the context of local community development and international development. One can see conflation of security discourses, humanitarian and related concerns in each of these debates. The dominant narrative about ‘development,’ in the context of Asia and Africa seems to… Continue reading Development: For whom and why?
I taught my students about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law that is being used to pass similar laws in various states in the U.S. The most controversial case involves a similar law in Indiana. The contours of the case point to the idea that private businesses can discriminate against LGBT couples. But… Continue reading Religious Freedom laws in the U.S. : Freedoms used to justify discrimination?
About half a dozen friends have reached out to me, over the last two and half years since I have been in a Ph.D program (in the U.S.) to ask me what it is like. While it is impossible to fully describe what it is to be a full-time student, and the joys of going… Continue reading So, you want to get a Ph.D ?
The amount of b&%* shit that I see in the ‘public domain’ on a regular basis makes me want to cry. Really.I am researching Islam in the U.S. and one can only imagine the amount of non-sense that there is, out there, along with genuine, credible scholarship. I would hazard a guess that at least… Continue reading Do Scholars have a social responsibility?