Research, blogging, achievements, and failures in 2018 -and looking at 2019

I know my last post was in September (gasp!)… I’m not going to say what I ‘should’ have done to keep this blog up-to-date. What I have learned is that I need to schedule my blog entries now that I have less time as head of the department. I will summarize what I have done since that last post:

Gender and City Research in Medellin

I have continued to do my research on Gender and the City in Medellin. Right now I’m focusing on analyzing the data I’ve collected. I’m doing slowly…yes. My funding stopped in October and so now I’m on my own (that is, no student assistant). It’s ok but it’s going slow because I’ve had to do other activities as department head. I’ll continue this analysis and have a rough draft of a manuscript, which I presented at APSA at Boston and that I want to revise. That manuscript is about preliminary findings from the first set of analysis of interviews to activists of women’s grassroots organizations in Medellin. My research shows that women are also urban planners in this city. This seems obvious yet it isn’t in the literature. Most of the studies on Medellin focus on crime, violence, Social Urbanism, participatory planning; women, however, are either absent or invisible. What I bring to the table is their visibility as urban planners in a city with a history of violence, crime, and armed actors.

I want to continue this research yet comparing it with another city in Central America. Why? Because Central American cities, especially in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, have similarities with Medellin -such as, the presence of armed actors, different forms of violence (gangs, criminal groups); despite these similarities, there are of course differences not only in the armed actors, but also state institutions on the sub-national level. So, I hope to write a research project in 2019 involving Colombian and Central American cities.

I’m starting to write manuscripts based on this study. I just mentioned that I want to revise a draft manuscript. And right now, there’s a manuscript about gender and housing under review. I’ll keep you updated.

Gender and City Research in Central America

I started a new research on Central American migration and I obtained funding to carry out library research at Tulane University in New Orleans. The research aims to understand how the global agenda of crime and migration control produces gendered forms of violence in the Central American region; specifically, I look at the case of Honduran asylum seekers.

This research stems from my work as an expert witness for Honduran asylum seekers in the U.S. and I plan to work on this research for around 18 months.

Other work

Aside from these two researches, I have been working on other manuscripts. One got published: “Transnational and local entanglements in the ‘cycle of violence’ of Central American migration” in Global Crime. But two manuscripts were rejected. Rejection is normal, yet it is not easy. We have all had a manuscript rejected and we will continue have this experience. It doesn’t happen once. It’s part of the job. Still, it’s not easy. But I’ve learned to deal with it. The reviewers gave me great comments to improve the paper and will certainly use them to revise my manuscript and submit to another journal. I still believe I have something to say and well the paper needs a bit more work. I’m almost there… I know.

And so, I write this last blog of the year describing my achievements and also failures. In 2019, I want to write regular blogs entries and continue my research in Colombia and Central America.

I wish my readers happy holidays and the best in the New Year!

ICA Conference and some unexpected news…

In my last post I said I was heading to ICA and that I would post about the ICA conference in Salamanca, Spain. The conference ended a month ago today. I wanted to write post right after the conference, yet I got unexpected news…

ICA went really well. I presented on the two topics I’m researching in two different panels: one on Central American migration and the other on Gender and Urban Planning in Medellin, Colombia in a panel I co-organized.

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(University of Salamanca, Photo: Lirio Gutiérrez Rivera)

While I was in Salamanca, I received news that the dean had been appointed me head of the department where I work (Political Science). Everyone at the department is head at one point. I started on July 23, 2018, ever since I have had meetings (two to three) almost everyday.

One of the struggles is scheduling my writing. It’s tough when you have so many meetings a day. Some days I’m able to squeeze in 15 minute writing sessions. But there are days where it hasn’t been possible to write. I’m still figuring out how to schedule writing (and have the concentration to do that) when I have so many meetings a day.

I will keep doing my research on gender and urban planning in Medellin. I have another conference coming up -APSA (American Political Science Association) next week. Also, I’ll be heading a project on women’s empowerment in a municipality near Medellin. I’ll be posting about that project once it has started.

My “summer” plans

It’s been a while since my last post in May. In Colombia, there is no “summer” as in the U.S or in Europe -in Germany where I used to work, the semester or term stopped in mid-July and then Semesterferien until October. In many Colombian universities, professors work straight through these ‘summer’ months and, depending on the university, get some days off. We get fifteen days, but many universities do not give any days.

So what have I been doing? I wrapped up teaching in late May and have been catching up on my research on gender and the city in Medellin. I finished doing some interviews and analyzed the data I have been collecting since late 2016. I have also been busy writing conference papers. I have two conferences these coming months: next week’s ICA (International Conference of Americanists) in Salamanca, Spain, and the APSA conference (American Political Science Conference) in Boston in early September. In both of these conferences, I’ll be presenting results of research on gender and urban planning in Medellín.

In April and May, I worked on a grant proposal for a research fellowship in the U.S. In June, I got a phone call that my research proposal had been selected (Yay!!). The research is about the Central American migration crisis and it will focus on Honduran migration. My grant covers library research. Really, really happy! 🙂

In these busy months, I took some days prior to the conference to sightsee Madrid.

Madrid

Street, Madrid. (Photo: Lirio Gutiérrez Rivera)

I’ll be posting about the ICA conference next week. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.