Monday, November 24, 2014

Far Billows: Haiku

Not all that's fair's fa(i)r.
Poetry b the soul's math.
Wet road fox at 2.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

CSO 501: Contemporary Sociological Theory, Course Outline for May-August 2014 Semester


This course is designed to deepen graduate (M.A.) students' understanding of basic sociological theories, and of new undercurrents. The course also seeks to increase their awareness of the relevance of theory to their specific fields of interest.  It emphasizes contemporary themes and macro-level dimensions of social reality. Given that students will have been exposed to a greater or lesser degree to the major sociological theories during their undergraduate years, the lecture-seminar format adopted for the course stresses close familiarity with a set of readings around carefully selected topics and themes. Experience suggests that undergraduate courses with a theory content have tended to dwell on the broad outlines of particular theories. In general, students have not been required to demonstrate detailed knowledge of specific texts, or the writings of particular authors. This is a shortcoming which this course will help to overcome.

Click here for: CSO 501 Contemporary Sociological Theory Course Outline

Fear & Courage

Be. Be not among the fearful.
Fear not anyone,
And not anything.
Be not the one always in retreat.

Think as you will many wild thoughts.

Query, all the intentions.
Arm yourself with Reason.
Do, then, what you must.
Be among the courageous.

And never, ever, be afraid. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

CSO 405: Sociology of Work and Industry, Course Outline for May-August 2014 Semester (Module II)


This course covers: concepts, definitions and categories related to the 'anchor' notions of work and industry; the industrialization process; a selection of pertinent theories and models of work and industrialization; industrial policy in the 21st century; labour market segmentation; selected themes in industrial psychology; and aspects of Kenya's labour law.

An extensive reading list and links to useful online resources are integral to the course outline.

Now go to The Course Outline  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

CSO 302: Qualitative Research Methods ~ Course Outline for May-August 2014 Semester (Regular and Module II Day & Evening Programmes)

To highlight the value-adding proposition of qualitative methods of social science research.
The subject-matter and historical context of qualitative research methods (QRM). The importance of qualitative methods to knowledge-generation, and understanding of the workings of diverse social forces operating in 21st century society. A selection of theoretical/methodological perspectives and debates integral to doing qualitative research, such as: ‘big data’ analytics, chronology v. dialectics, deductive-inductive-abductive reasoning, ethnomethodology, grounded theory, naturalistic observation v. participant observation, phenomenology, ontology, “rules of sociological method” and symbolic interactionism. Design, classification, and implementation of selected methods of data collection, which include: case study, comparative method, ethnography, predictive deduction, and triangulation. Qualitative data analysis methods or techniques – including comparative analysis, content analysis, hermeneutics, SWOT analysis, systematic review, and thick description – and criteria for matching them with the stated research needs and goals. Elements of proposal writing. All of these should yield insights into the systematic analysis, synthesis and reporting of actual research data. 1 Unit.

Course Outline: Click Here

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Othello & Wambui

The mind is in all that
We say and do,
And see.

But is what Wambui
Says, and does,
All in Othello's mind? 

A suggested read: The Merchant of Venice   

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bote, in Horizon's Haze Fades: Haiku

Côte, littler. And lilt(s). 
Tail winds in 'er iv'ry sails.
To Zanj. Inde. Mars, p'raps.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

CSO 302 Qualitative Research Methods, Final Examination Papers, 21 December 2004 to 11 January 2014

To skip the text below and go straight to the examination papers, click here 

As is to be expected, the past papers included in the set I am providing in this blog post reflect the subject-matter of qualitative research methods taught under course code CSO 302 -- a third-year course at the University of Nairobi. The course underscores the contribution of qualitative methods to knowledge-generation, and to the deeper understanding of the social forces operating in 21st century society. 

We can trace the origins of qualitative methods back to the deep, millennia-long, past of human existence -- the ontological/ existential/proto-naturalistic past -- which preceded even the first stage in Auguste Comte's Law of Three Stages; that is, the "theological stage." Similarly, of course, we can trace the very roots of the natural (and social) sciences as we have come to know them back to that same past.

There is clearly a determination in the course to distinguish between methods of data collection and methods of data analysis, and to go for detail. And even though (a) similar methods often appear under a variety names; and, (b) similar names are or seem to be used, on occasion, interchangeably for both data collection and data analysis, you are challenged to spot the random disguises (under a), and to both extricate 'analysis' from 'collection' and articulate the paired differences (under b). 

All this puts a high premium on conceptual clarity and empirical example. Designing an efficient taxonomy of methods, which should proceed from such clarity and example(s), remains an ever-present challenge, which you are challenged to overcome any imaginative way you can, without 'brutally' violating Bateson's (1987: 284-287) classification principles embodied in his theory of logical types. 

Read More >>> Past Papers

Reminder: To access the CSO 302 examination papers, click here 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

CSO 589 Advanced Training Techniques, Past Examination Papers, 17 Aug 2000 to 28 Aug 2013

I have put together, via the link given below, a set of past papers in Advanced Training Techniques which covers the period August 17, 2000 to August 28, 2013. That's 13 years of teaching the course. Another examination is due next Wednesday, April 17th. Shall I say: "Ha! Ha! Ha!"?  No. Let me just wish you all the best, this examination season at the UoN.

To access the past papers, click here 

You may also wish to read this piece of mine on >> past papers

Past Papers

Past Papers is a powerful meme in student circles. The drive to lay one's hands on past examination papers has been around for decades, as I remember. Having them was, so it was presumed, a legitimate way to reduce the vagaries of chance in the examination room; a way to read the examiner's mind ahead of time and to 'prosper'. That is, a way to level the playing field, and thus to optimize the probable score. Did it ever work? It did, I think, for many, over the years. But it required a certain capacity for predictive deduction, a method of dealing with fuzzy or 'big' data and seeing the future that we used without knowing the term that stood for it. Let me restate that, just to stay on the point a moment longer: we practised predictive deduction long, long before we were to know that we had been engaged in it. I suppose that there are many such moments, such abductions, in all our pasts. The room for error and anxiety was always considerable, for just as many -- despite the method.

You will find more discussion of predictive deduction applications in this text. 

Lecturers at the UoN make available to their students past papers and/or other material related to their courses via one or more of the following ways: (1) selectively giving out excess originals, (2) making photocopies at their own expense for use by class (usually small classes), (3) temporarily placing scarce 'originals' in on-campus photocopy kiosks, (4) lending copies directly to class reps to enable class members to make and pay for their own copies at places of their choice, (5) distributing copies as email attachments.

The university library system is supposed to be depository of past papers from all faculties, but the service is far from satisfactory because the system simply isn't working. It won't until all the material is properly gathered at the end of each examination period, meticulously collated and classified, serialized and -- above all -- posted online. Until then, I am happy to make my past papers available on my blog, having installed my own scanning equipment at home. There is none at the office.

Still, the pressure to update sets of papers in a timely manner remains a 'clerical' challenge, what with all the other stuff that one must simultaneously do. I still send by email a good number of sets, more particularly the most recent papers.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

CSO 595 ~ Natural and Technological Hazards, Past Exam Papers, 10 September 1999 to 21 December 2012

I have taught this course since 1999 to MA students (Disaster Management cluster) in the Department of Sociology, University of Nairobi. Here below is a link to past (final) examination papers for the period up to December 2012. Click here to see the questions. I invite critical comments.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

CSO 302: Qualitative Research Methods. CAT Assignment for the January-April Semester 2014

It's that time again for a CAT. Remember that, besides having attended class regularly, you will have to do some serious reading at the JKML or other library, and/or online, to answer any of the set CAT questions satisfactorily. You will know so much more after this assignment. To access the questions,  follow this link >>> CAT Questions

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Dice, the Drone and Chance: Regarding Mallarmé's CinéPoem 'Un Coup De Dés...'

Here's Mallarmé's great poem Un Coup De Dés... (A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance), which I will say something about in a moment. Enjoy its sweeping aestheticism. Jienjoy!
I thought about that poem by Stephane Mallarmé, which I hadn't read for decades, as I tinkered with titles for my haiku, titled Une Friendly F-Fire. Don't worry about that e. You see, I was driven by the Muse to re-read Mallarmé after I was done, and the haiku published. And I was worried whether the French title of his poem had started with 'Un' or 'Une'. The answer is the former. Perhaps 'Une', used as I have, can never be right, but I will stick with it.

[More about Haiku]

Mallarmé's poem's silky -- is there room to add, 'and simultaneously chaotic and, perhaps, byzantine'? -- texture, its charming effect on the receptive and, I think, skeptical mind alike, is as fresh and refreshing to me today as it ever was those many years ago already. And yet, what I remembered before now was the musicality. Not the centrality of the concepts dice and chance in the whole composition. I had been a (sur)face reader, then, and was still learning the ways of deep text-reading. Chance I knew, but wasn't much interested in. Civilization -- the art of war, more specifically -- had not yet compelled science to invent drones, noisy helicopters and those B52s being the closest 'cousins'. Re-reading Mallarmé precipitated a veritable conceptual clash between Dice and Drone.

But there are dark clouds ahead, so to speak. What I want to say just now -- I am very clear about this (the hint is there in the haiku) -- is that the drone, as we in the early days of the 21st century are coming to know it already, long after Mallarmé's time for sure, is not any thrower's dice. Nor is the throw of the dice -- consequential as it may often be in a 'casino' or some other betting den (smoke-filled and intense and 'levitating;) -- in the same frame of thought as the drone's. Nor are the coming generations of drones to be awaited and anticipated with the equanimity that Ebay's naivety recently inspired in media narrations of the internet of things.

I suspect that, as we inch toward and past 2050, a throw of the drone -- or of swarms of drones with the tropical bee's charged, deadly, pinpoint intensity -- from unknown or impromptu or rogue places beyond the hazy horizon, will increasingly and perhaps ceaselessly occupy and terrorize the collective mind. Why? Because of the cargo or parcels we will fear it carries and is intended to deliver, remorselessly and at no moment's notice at all -- and with no qualms. Intended, indeed, to defeat real or imagined enemies, or wreak what will turn out to be unprecedented havoc on global social order and humanity's broad sense of ontological security in deep neighborhoods, in what we have hitherto been able to know as peacetime. How long it will take humanity to return to that old, historical sense of normalcy may be the arithmetical-moral equivalent of a Hundred Years War (here's a fistful of images).

 [Read Maurice Keene (2011) "The Hundred Years War"]

The point, finally, is this: "A throw of the dice will never abolish chance", yes. But the drone, weaponized, is another kind of thing altogether. Its stealthy, unrestrained throw threatens in a fundamental way the chance to live in privacy and safety and splendid isolation [here is another conception of 'splendid isolation'] in unreachable places. Unreachable because one has quietly inherited or found or devised buffers (of Time, Space and Number) and other sorts of rings and layers and moats of protection against unexpected or unwanted intrusion. A reign of armed drones would 'abolish' any sense of national security, as average citizens have come to understand it, and would threaten to render extinct the idea that people may have of organized society free of warlords and marauders, and intruders who are too stealthy and too swift and too targeting to keep at bay. 

The drone threatens to abolish the chance of not being reached; of not being found by those whom one does not care to be found by, and cannot hide from.

Updated: March 1, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

MATATU TOUT: A Public Bathing

'E stinx 2 'igh 'eav'n!
'Uyu mutu ni mbogus!
'As no rainshow'r ev'n!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Une Friendly F-Fire

Stealth hawkeman cometh!
As drone. Deadly ka-cargo.
Pok'th the north, wind. Boom!

Making Nairobi City the Greatest

About a week ago, as my wife and I shopped at The Junction, I heard a radio deejay quite unequivocally call Nairobi the greatest city in Africa. I was somewhat surprised by that unconditional claim. But it forced me to clarify my own thoughts.

Sure, few African cities have Nairobi's charm and laid-back energy -- and none, clearly, has its history and character, such as we have lived that history and shaped that character. However, being occasionally SWOT-oriented, I am only too aware of its Ws and Ts to be lulled by its Ss and Os into so categorical a stance.

Note: This is an old, incomplete draft, just now published as is

Salim Lone and the Last Days of December 2007

Salim Lone's account of the events surrounding Kenya's general elections of December 2007 appeared in the Sunday Standard of September 14th.

Note: This is an old, incomplete draft on my blog, just now revisited, and published as is.

The Kenya We Don't Want

The first "The Kenya We Want" conference was held in 1962, the year before independence. The second one was held in 1980, about two years after President Daniel Arap Moi became Kenya's second President. For reasons we can guess at, his Sudanese hosts were used to calling him Arab Moi. The third "Kenya We Want Conference", convened by the Grand Coalition Government of President Mwai Kibaki an Prime Minister Raila Odinga, started yesterday and is to end tomorrow.

The Kenya ordinary Kenyans want has been known, and has not really changed, since 1962 or thereabouts. The problem is with the leaders: they say they want one thing, exactly what the "average citizen" wants, but their body languange betrays a more sinister self-centredness. They say one thing, and do and explain away another -- when the contradictions are elephant and boil over. The disconnect between word and deed leaves many citizens at once puzzled and cynical. It is not what ordinary Kenyans want that's at issue; it is what the leaders really want -- and mean by their deeds. So much so that the slogan "The Kenya We Want" has met its match in a very public refrain -- "The Kenya We Don't Want!"

Where was the idea of this obviously unnecessary and ill-timed gathering broached? Who came up with this bad and practically obscene idea? Why would anyone imagine that this was "the time"? It was obscene in that it suggested that the very same leaders the public blames for moulding a Kenya we don't want thought, even for a minute, that Kenyans are too dulled by poverty, too blinded ethnic loyalty and and too mesmerized by their self-possessed leaders to know, or to be exercised by the knowledge, that they have been betrayed by these erstwhile champions.

It's amazing how things can change in less than a year. The Grand Coalition government has not even celebrated its first anniversary, but what the public has been treated to is the moral equivalent of five to ten years of Moi-era rapacity and greed. That may sound unfair, but the bar was raised in the hey day of "Yote Yawezekana" -- by the very same leaders whom the public now roundly condemns, one month after another, for grand corruption scandals that seem to have no end.

The greed in high places is palpable. The apparent absence of conscience is troubling. The unbridled nepotism and parochialism that register on our political "Richter Scale" with nearly every major appointment to public office (by both PNU and ODM) smack of delusions of dynasty which, in the broad daylight in which we witness them (though the leaders continue as though they imagine that they operate out of sight and that there's nobody there to unravel the extreme subtlety of their moves, when in fact these moves are puerile and appear uneducated), erode irreversibly the enormous political capital that they had built and that has placed them exactly where they find themselves. But the leaders continue as though they imagine that they operate out of sights of everyone that may have something to say (an objection), and that, moreover, there's nobody there, really, to unravel the presumed subtlety of their moves -- a subtlety that increasingly impresses only them and their diehard gofers, for in fact these moves appear, to more and more observers (even in Kibera), at once clumsy and uneducated.

There are no times more ominous of changes to come -- the change that must come -- than when average citizen discover that they cleverer than the leaders who stand before them!.

Note: This is an old, incomplete draft on my blog, just now revisited, and published as is.

Kenyan Olympians in Beijing

It has been ten centuries since Kenyans -- that is, since people from what is now Kenya -- caused as much stir and buzz in Beijing as they did this August. Eleven centuries, that is, if we forget for a moment the emotionally charged visit to Beijing by that Kenyan girl from the coast a few years ago.

As Philip Ochieng tells us, Kenyans have a long-standing connections with the Olympics. This connection...

Note: This is an old, incomplete draft on my blog, just now revisited, and published as is.

A Foul Governmentality

It was supposed to be a somber prayer and fund-raising occasion at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre yesterday, in memory of the victims of the recent Nakumatt Downtown and Sachang'wan fire disasters; and indeed there were prayers, and some Kshs. 80,000,000 (or just over $1 millions

Note: This is an old, incomplete draft on my blog, just now revisited, and published as is.

The 140 Characters: Steve Gillmor's Peroration

Gillmor defends Twitters 140 character limit against the attacks of Dave Winer and suchlike, but seems, at the start, to be spoiling for his own turn to attack Twitter. He expresses dismay at Twitter's, so to speak, ... himself

Read More: Gillmor's Peroration

Note: This is an old, incomplete draft on my blog, just now revisited, and published as is.

Yambo Places

There are a number of Yambo place-names that interest and intrigue me; places that make one rethink distinctions and specificities.

Giddens says that Place and Locale, once one, have come apart, in modernity. They are remixing in various ways, though; above all in our minds, of all places, and, more and more (more or less), always.

Here's a map of a place called Yambo, Yembu, Yembo, on another continent altogether. What you do with it is a choice you have to make: Click. What I make of it is, in turn, my own choice.


The name Yambo intrigues me -- I, who bears it. It was my father's name: Yambo son of Onyalo; or, as became the habit among men of his age, Yambo sio Onyalo. In Kiswahili, that could be construed to mean: Yambo's not Onyalo, one inference being that Yambo was precisely Yambo, and not his father. Fair enough. My father named me after his own father, Onyalo, as was typically the case. The son, then, is father to the man.

But then colonialism anglicized certain namings, and, no longer grandfather, son became his own father. I acquired my father's first name as my own surname and was thus Yambo. Which is how I am known in the places, the little patches of planet, that I am mostly known today -- and as I, myself, primarily know and label myself. Yet there are still people I meet, out of the blue, from high school days who will on seeing me "instinctively" call out, just as dramatically out of the blue: "Onyalo." Onyalo is, of course, always happy to see them and to ask how they have been, knowing that many we remember have died over the years. My more numerous acquaintances of more recent decades will, however, experience both a puzzlement and a bemusement -- seeing, all of a sudden, that the brand they had all figured out kumbe has another label. It's like discovering that Coke goes by another, unexpected, call-to-order, smell-just-as-sweet name elsewhere.

What does that name, Yambo, mean? I have always wondered about its origins. When we were growing up, there was no other Yambo that we knew of. Later, the first surprise was to read about Yambo Ouologuem. Then I think I heard, perhaps via the TV, of a Yambo somewhere in Namibia. For a long time, the port of Yenbo in Saudi Arabia was simply Yenbo, nobody made the Yambo variation in its spelling, such as we see nowadays. And all of this was in the age before the Internet and search engines, and, in particular, before the Wide World Web and Google. In 1992, when a group of us visited Denmark, I saw a shop with the name Yambo Coffee one evening as we drove by. By then, I was of course already aware that there was a place at the south-western tip of the Sudan called Yambo, at the border with Cameroun and DRC.

A few years ago, I came across a question on the Internet asking someone, anyone, to please explain what the name Yambo meant. I couldn't help, but I was among the puzzled.

Here's one plausible explanation by Leoma Gilley: click here. He record that Yambo is one of several alternative names for a language spoken in both the Sudanese and the riverain Gambela Region of southwestern Ethiopia, and better known (as I have myself always "abstractly" known it) as Anuak, the language of Anuak people. As of 1998, as Gilley reports, it was spoken by a total of only 97,646 people on this planet, only slightly more (some 52,000 people) of whom were to be found in the Sudan. The other names by which Anuak is known in the Sudan are: Anyuak, Anywa, Anywak, Dho Anywaa, Jambo and Nuro. Its alternative names in Ethiopia are, besides Yambo: Anyuak, Anywa, Anywak, Bar, Burjin, Jambo, Miroy, Moojanga, Nuro and Yembo. Ethiopian dialects associated with Anuak are Adoyo, Coro, Lul and Opëno.

The Anuak people are cascadingly classified as Nilo-Saharan, Eastern, Sudanic, Nilotic, Western, Luo, Northern, Anuak. They are said to be closer to the Acholi and Luo (to the south) than the Shilluk (to the north). For a further sketch of the taxonomy of the Luo cluster of languages, click here.

Note: This is an old, incomplete draft on my blog, just now revisited, and published as is. A more refined version was published way back.

Beyond Measure

Here's what matters:

Knowing nothing does, but that

Which will keep us wise.


Farewell to Michael Jackson

The world bade farewell to Michael Jackson on July 7th, 2009. He had died on Thursday, June 25th.

1. Click here for some memorable moments from yesterday's memorial service

Note: This is an old, incomplete draft on my blog, just now revisited, and published as is.

Bodiseye: Haiku

Eye. Very same storm.
Sea! How I enter myself.
How -- I undo tins.

I thought had published this haiku already, but I've just found it on my blog as an unpublished draft. Let's do it 'again' for whatever reason, then! Likes it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

CSO 302: Qualitative Research Methods. Course Outline. January-April 2014 Semester

To highlight the value-adding proposition of qualitative methods of social science research.
The subject-matter and historical context of qualitative research methods (QRM). The importance of qualitative methods to knowledge-generation, and understanding of the workings of diverse social forces operating in 21st century society. A selection of theoretical/methodological perspectives and debates integral to doing qualitative research, such as: ‘big data’ analytics, chronology v. dialectics, deductive-inductive-abductive reasoning, ethnomethodology, grounded theory, naturalistic observation v. participant observation, phenomenology, ontology, “rules of sociological method” and symbolic interactionism. Design, classification, and implementation of selected methods of data collection, which include: case study, comparative method, ethnography, predictive deduction, and triangulation. Qualitative data analysis methods or techniques – including comparative analysis, content analysis, hermeneutics, SWOT analysis, systematic review, and thick description – and criteria for matching them with the stated research needs and goals. Elements of proposal writing. All of these should yield insights into the systematic analysis, synthesis and reporting of actual research data. 1 Unit.

Course Outline: Click Here

Friday, January 24, 2014

CSO 595: Natural and Technological Hazards. Course Outline: January-April 2014

Course Description:
Detailed taxonomy and study of major natural and technological (human-caused) hazards; that is, potential and actual occurrences, as well as actions and substances capable of causing harm to humans, property and the environment. Matrix of disaster phases and range of stakeholders, specifying their roles and responsibilities during each phase. The human hand in major 'natural' disasters and environmental stress. Analysis of the annual global production and distribution, as well as use, of the most hazardous substances: by quantity; monetary value; companies involved; modes of transporting and storing the ingredients, intermediates and finished substances; and type of risk at every stage. Specification of high-risk technologies, toxic chemical substances (such as pesticides) and their intermediates, as well as processes, systems and modalities that pose potential or actual danger to identified African countries or regions. A discussion of the citizens' need and right to know of the danger posed to their lives, lifestyles, and property by routine activities of manufacturers, distributors, transporters, and retailers; and by the acts of omission or commission by government regulatory authorities. Inquiry into how the need and right have been articulated in different countries. A chronology of major natural and technological disasters and emergencies, and the lessons to be drawn from them in terms of prevention, prediction (early warning), response/relief, and medium- to long-term recovery and reconstruction.      1 unit.

Course Outline: Click Here

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Behold, the Child is Father to the Man"

An earlier version the comments I make below appeared only moments ago as Comment Number 7 at this link, which you are invited to visit: 

My own father used to call me, endearingly, daddy (= "Wuora") -- as though I was the very one I was named after. I never flinched at that, I don't think. It's the custom. Many fathers did, but they're a dying breed. I didn't see any paradox there. I don't do that myself, tho. For years I have thought that it was Jesus who (or some 'hid' part of the bible which) famously said something like: "Behold, the Child is Father to the Man." But it seems that Wordsworth, whom I read for the first time decades ago but have come upon too infrequently as Time has flown, was a true original with that enduring line - inspired by a rainbow.

"So that the father is also, in his own right, the child."

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Even when, even if, you're not there, 
then, you can still have a voice. 
You can still hold sway. 
Even 4 a moment -- that endures.

No one there was looking --
When I found mine.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Droppin' Jazz: Haiku

All I want's to sing.

O hazy, rash'd, dune. Dropped jaw!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Qunu, Kono: Haiku

Rolls, in a still frame. 
Alto, it's a place of grass.
Winds! What trees comb them?

[PS: For images of Qunu, click here, or here]

Friday, December 06, 2013

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013): Truest Friend of the People

In an era when national leaders, elected or armed, were preoccupied, slyly or crudely, with antics which certified them as sworn Enemies of the People, Nelson R. Mandela showed over and over again in word and deed and demeanor that he was the people's truest friend -- South African people, African people, all of the world's peoples.

His simple greatness touched four generations and spanned, uniquely, two centuries; and it moved two millennia. He was father-figure to millions -- who were fatherless. He was partial to an electrifying kind of dance. And only Madiba could dance that Mandela Dance, In the only way it could possibly be danced.

Mandela is dead but the legend lives. His legacy stays in our hearts and in our minds.

We wanted him to live forever. And so will he.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Savannah Rising: The Vid

Here's the Video: Nairobi, Nov 7, 2013: That's my granddaughter, Savannah-Joan, one month + a day before her very first birthday

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

CSO 302: Qualitative Research Methods, CAT Questions for the September-December 2013 Semester

Four CAT questions have been set. Answer two questions, one from each of two sections. The deadline is 11.00 a.m., November 30, 2013.

To access the CAT questions, go to the class email address, or click here: Click Here

Sunday, November 10, 2013

CSO 405: Sociology of Work and Industry, CAT Questions, September-December 2013

INSTRUCTION: Answer any TWO of the following questions:

1. Discuss the importance of the following terms to the contemporary workplace in Kenya:
a) Workforce diversity
b) The contingent workforce
c) Skills-in-use versus certified skills
d) Work-Life Balance.

2. "Work and industry represent a continuum in terms of conception, organization and classification." Critically discuss this statement, supporting your answer with relevant examples and reference to specific texts (or authorities).

3.  a) What do you consider to be the main sources or explanations of unemployment in Kenya today?
     b) Suggest the main ways in which Kenya's policy-makers can significantly increase youth employment in                the next five years.

1. Released on November 10, 2013
2. Deadline for submissions: 5.30 pm on Wednesday, November 27, 2013. Submit at GW 407E
3. CAT paper length: 6 to 8 pages (size A4). These must be: word-processed, double-spaced, font 12
4. Answers should be well-researched, with clear reference to relevant authorities (check course outline)
5. Both Regular and Module II (Evening and Day) students to do this CAT.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

On the Freedom to Teach

The Association of American University Professors (AAUP) recently restated the components of the individual don's freedom to teach -- whether an entire course or only a section. This freedom, which is a good thing, is taken as a given by all self-respecting academics and their peers who, 'for a time', may happen to hold administrative positions at the departmental or higher levels. It spans the five core functions: design of the course outline (guided by a coherent, properly sequenced and formally approved curriculum), choice of learning materials, lecturing, setting of assignments and 'final' examinations, and grading.

And yet professionalism, peer review (or critical questioning) and mentoring -- untainted by administrative high-handedness or political 'policing' -- must be, and indeed are, at the core of all hopeful striving toward true, comparative excellence by individuals and their institutions.

Like all freedoms, however, the freedom to teach cannot be absolute. Why? For one, there's often mischief where and when academia is 'infiltrated' by individuals, often protected and even fast-tracked, who have no clearly discernible respect or time for high standards. Peers are supposed to raise the red flag when enough becomes enough -- and yet many are a timid and compromising lot in the fight for principles. The freedom to teach can engender only so much mediocrity before the world gives up on an institution so buried in its own sand/brand of 'sovereignty'.

Here are some details of the conversation so far:
1. The AAUP statement
2. Colleen Flaherty's account.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


IMPUNITY has a schizophrenic persona: 

1. Shy, subterranean, deep-pocketed, deadly. 

2. Boisterous, sanctimonious, doubly-obnoxious, childlike.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wild Winds: Haiku

Let de wild winds blow.
De sun shines upon de Trut.
O let de moon co!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

CSO 103 ~ Introduction to Comparative Sociology, Partial Course Outline and Reading List

[To go directly to the (updated) Reading List, click here ]

 I co-teach this course, and cover two broad topics, namely:

Topic 3: Social Control, Socialization and Deviance:
Here, we interrogate the need for social control and, additionally, cover the following subtopics:
-        Definition and Context of ‘Control’ in Society
-        Levels of control: Self and Social Control
o   Aspects of Self Control
o   Aspects of Social Control
o   Interfaces between Self Control and Social Control
-        Explaining Deviance: Sources, Patterns and Consequences
-        Social Engineering.

Topic 4: Social Differentiation, Social Stratification and Social Class:
The subtopics covered here are:
-        Conceptualizing Social Differentiation
-        Changing Social Differentiation Patterns in Africa
-        Social Stratification and Structuration
-        Social Class and the Rise of the African Middle Class.

Access the (updated Reading List by clicking here

Prof. Mauri Yambo
September-December 2013