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Slum tourism, empathy, and study abroad

At Emoya Estate in Bloemfontein, South Africa, visitors can experience what it is to live in a local village — heating your own water over a fire and using “a long drop effect” outside toilet. The corrugated iron chalets may look like poor people live in them, but they are carefully […]

Fear of Flying

I am currently on a long-haul flight ON business. But not IN business. (I work at a public university, after all.) Accordingly, my 20 hour trip was spent mostly in a 16.5 inch wide seat. But I am NOT complaining. It gives me a physical way to reflect on some […]

Breast Cancer, He-roes, and the Downsides of Pink Culture

My grandmother Venecie May died of breast cancer in 1945 at the age 41, leaving behind 5 very sad and confused children. The details of her illness were only whispered around them — a dreadful, embarrassing thing. So vague were those conversations that I didn’t learn what had killed her until […]

Fat Stigma: The View from my Office Window

My office windows look out across the two main campus pedestrian malls of the largest and most diverse research university in the US. Every day, thousands upon thousands of people of all shapes and sizes stroll past. With more than 85,000 immersion students, the university population exceeds that of some small countries (including […]

Big Change Starts Wrong: New Zealand Tackles Childhood Obesity

As an expatriate Kiwi, I keep up to speed on happenings down-under by reading the New Zealand Herald. As articles like this one show, obesity has shot up the list of national health priorities, and has become an increasingly panicked topic. With the third highest rates of childhood obesity in the […]

Lessons from a Visit to the World’s Prettiest Prison

Within a decade or so, the last remaining patient-residents of the Hawai`ian leprosy colony of Kalaupapa will die. The highest sea cliffs in the world separate the peninsula on the northwest coast of the tiny island of Molokai from the wider world. A physical quarantine, you can get to Kalaupapa from […]