Notes Toward a #kenyasyllabus

A syllabus is generative. The framework of readings and activities creates a shared space for thinking and creating. Objects of study produce shared frames of reference—those assembled by those objects may disagree over how those objects mean and work, but the objects create a ground from which to begin and a space to which to... Continue Reading →

A Clarification

Kenya's solicitor general lied. Here's what the constitution says about rights and freedoms: 19. (1) The Bill of Rights is an integral part of Kenya’s democratic state and is the framework for social, economic and cultural policies. (2) The purpose of recognising and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is to preserve the dignity of... Continue Reading →

security & development

President Uhuru Kenyatta has outlined a “10-point security plan for Kenya.” As reported by Capital FM, the 10 points are: Legitimate monopoly on the means of violence Effective administrative control Management of public finances Investment in human capital Delineation of citizenship rights and duties Provision of infrastructure services Formation of the market Management of the... Continue Reading →

unhoming kenyan women

At the heart of Grace Ogot’s short story “The White Veil” is a simple sentence: “She felt helpless.” Taking different forms, this sentence runs through a wide body of writing by Kenyan women. Rebeka Njau’s The Sacred Seed features a female teacher who is forcibly abducted and raped by the male head of state. Ngwatilo... Continue Reading →

Whither Justice?

On Saturday, September 20, Mr. Tony Mochama, a columnist with Kenya’s Standard Group, Secretary of PEN Kenya, and holder of a Morland Writing Scholarship, sexually assaulted a woman during a gathering of Kenyan and international poets. Mr. Mochama is a well-known figure in Kenya’s literary circles: he has hosted open mics, promotes literary culture in... Continue Reading →

two places

Kangemi and Westgate are roughly equidistant from my house, though Kangemi is a shade closer. A few weeks ago, as the school term was starting, the Nairobi government arrived in Kangemi at 3 a.m., destroyed the local market, and, in the process, a bulldozer crushed a man to death. I do not know this man’s... Continue Reading →


Become smaller. And smaller More. * Fear works to contain bodies within social space through the way it shrinks the body. – Sara Ahmed Fear works to expand the mobility of some bodies and contain others. -Sara Ahmed * I have been afraid to use “ICC indictees.” * Pay attention to fear. Pay attention to... Continue Reading →

Peace and Justice for PEV Victims

Who are the victims of Kenya’s Post-election violence (PEV)? And what would it mean to secure “justice” for them? What would “justice” look like, feel like, taste like, sound like? The farther away we’ve moved from the PEV, the more distant these questions have become. Justice, we have learned, has something to do with the... Continue Reading →

kenya’s memory work

What do we want from each other after we have told our stories - Audre Lorde, “There are No Honest Poems about Dead Women” Memory, that vast orchard of myriad, variegated moments, appears to undergo an endless replanting. —John Keene, Annotations Memory work is myth-building and myth-busting, story-making and story-unmaking, a stitching and patching, cutting... Continue Reading →

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