Winslow Robinson, a self-described “groupie” of research on Sino-African relations, runs a great podcast with the political scientist, Dr. Nkemjika Kalu. They have invited a wide range of people to appear on their podcast, ranging from journalist and Columbia University Professor Howard French to up and coming scholars still in graduate school. If you study (or do any work) related to African-Chinese relationships, and you meet Winslow, “watch out!”, he will want you to podcast.
He caught me at the African Studies Association meeting last November and I served as a guest in February. I haven’t listened to it, however. It’s very hard at this early stage pre-field to speak with any confidence about one’s research, and whatever I said should come with a disclaimer called “pending fieldwork…” Judging from the title he and Prof. Kalu gave my appearance, “Deep Thoughts by Derek Sheridan,” I’m afraid I might have come across as too scholastic. Considering my immediate environment at the time (in an Anthropology development finishing grant applications and doing reading for prelim examinations), I was staying true to my milieu.
But as the famous scholar of African politics, Robert Bates, once said, “fieldwork is the cure for bullshit,” or at least, more charitably, theory. I’ll be taking that medicine consistently for the next year or more.
In the meantime, what I was thinking about in February.
And the Bates quote, for reference, is found in:
Munck, Gerardo L., and Richard Snyder. Passion, craft, and method in comparative politics. JHU Press, 2008.