podcast

Research and parenting in Haiti: a podcast interview

I recently interviewed Prof. Marylynn Steckley about her experience researching food in Haiti for my podcast Dispatch 7. One experience that she talked about was being a mother in the field, and what it was like to give birth, to deal with inequality, and to address race while raising children. She also discussed how she had to deal emotionally with the fact that not only was she getting sick, but also her family was. I’ve long thought that one of the topics that we often avoid in International and Global Studies is personal health. If you go into the field in a relatively poor country for an extended period you are going to get sick. But graduate students are seldom warned of this, much less prepared for it, either practically or emotionally. Personally, I think that every graduate student leaving for a developing country should listen to the stories of someone like Dr. Steckley.

Marylynn’s son Jwasiys in Haiti

Although Marylynn works at Carleton University in Canada now, she was also my colleague for a year at Portland State University in the United States. During that year students flocked to her classes, in part because she had the ability to discuss complex and difficult issues with honesty and passion. In the interview she talked about her experience teaching a class on “Global Craft,” as an online course in experiential learning. In the course she brought together crafts people from around the world to talk about their expertise. Of course, most students at a public institution cannot pay many thousands of dollars for a carefully curated program abroad. As we also discuss in the podcast, some students have children, or disabilities, that limit their ability to travel abroad. But students can have an international experience that is still meaningful by learning from people in other countries. By the end of the interview I was envious that I hadn’t been able to take part in the class. Except for the Finnish showers. Hard no.

Marlynn’s daughter, Solette, with her friends Sarina and Fredjina

Want to hear more episodes from my podcast? You can find it here. The most popular episodes are Rosa David’s thoughts on how to apply to graduate school, Kim Brown’s discussion of tea, and Grace Dillon’s discussion of Indigenous Futurism. If you are interested in international careers, you might want to listen to this episode. Finally, for my Lusophone friends, you might like this Portuguese language episode.

Shawn Smallman

Dispatch 7 podcast: a new episode on Post-revolutionary Iran

Robert Asaadi is my colleague at Portland State University, and an amazing teacher, who has won teaching awards in both the Political Science and International and Global Studies department. He recently talked with me about Post-revolutionary Iran, and the future of US-Iranian relations. He also touched on many other topics, including the key question: what are some key Iranian dishes that we should try? You can listen to the episode here. I am trying to move to a more consistent episode schedule, in which I post episodes every second Friday. In upcoming episodes I’ll be talking with doctors. One doctor will discuss COVID-19 in Bhutan (it’s nice to hear good news), while a Brazilian doctor will discuss COVID-19 in their country, including Amazonia. Many thanks to my producer, Paige, not only for all the sound-editing, but also for helping me to get on a schedule.

Shawn Smallman, 2021

Photo by Omid Armin on Unsplash

What you didn’t know about finding an international career

Over the last year I’ve been enjoying a series of podcast interviews on global topics. One aspect my podcast that makes it more fun for me is that many episodes focus on topics of interest to students and people in their twenties. For this reason, I’ve recorded a number of episodes on careers. If you are curious as to what you might do after you graduate, or want to explore a career shift, here are some episodes that might help you.

What you didn’t know about federal jobs. Joyce Hamilla is the executive director at the Oregon Federal Executive Board. She’s also had a fascinating career in multiple intelligence and security agencies, as well as academia. Many students don’t think that they would have any interest in federal jobs. Many students also know next to nothing about federal jobs, apart from what they have seen on television series like Homecoming and movies. Joyce spoke with such enthusiasm and conviction that by the time I was done listening to this episode, I was ready to apply for federal jobs.

Internships. Regina Navarro Gomez was an energetic speaker, who had done multiple internships as an undergraduate student. She talked about the pros and cons of internships, and why they matter. If you are an undergraduate student who hasn’t yet done an internship, you might find that you have a new perspective after listening to Regina’s interview.

Career Opportunities in Global Studies. In this talk I discuss the four main tracks that most people will follow if they graduate with a degree in International and Global Studies. I also talk about the choices that you should make during your studies in order to prepare yourself for success. The talk was designed to be a practical guide to think about career choices.

Useful Career Websites:

idealist.org This website allows you to search for non-profit job openings based on your location. It’s very popular with my students.

https://www.usajobs.gov/Search/Results? This is the federal government’s jobs website. You should be sure to filter by potential jobs and location or you’ll be overwhelmed

https://careers.state.gov/work/available-jobs/ This website lists available jobs in the foreign service

https://www.macslist.org/ If you are in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Macs list is a great resource to look for jobs.

Indeed.com This job site does not show jobs specifically for international careers or non-profits, but is popular with students.

Pickering Fellowship: “The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program is a program funded by the U.S. Department of State, administered by Howard University, that attracts and prepares outstanding young people for Foreign Service careers in the U.S. Department of State.” To be clear, I have no ties whatsoever to either the Pickering Fellowship or Howard University.

Shawn Smallman

What you didn’t know about federal jobs

I recently interviewed Joyce Hamilla, the Executive Director at the Oregon Federal Executive Board, about federal jobs. In the podcast, she talked about the many reasons why people should consider applying for federal positions I’ve noticed a clear trend over the last decade in which my students have become increasingly uninterested in working for the federal government. Of course, I think part of that is led to the ugliness of political discourse in the United States. But I also think that students and many other people are poorly informed about the wealth of jobs in federal service, and the opportunities to do work that is truly meaningful.

Joyce spoke to these questions. One of the points that she made is that if you are looking for a work environment that is apolitical, federal service may be the right place for you. She also pointed out that the federal government is hiring accountants, engineers, and people from every other possible background that you can imagine, even a cowboy. She also talked about applying for one of the eighteen different intelligence services in the U.S. government, and why -despite what you’ve seen in the movies- might want to broaden your horizon beyond the CIA. She also spoke about why -contrary to expectations- people often move jobs in federal service, so that’s a great workspace for people who want to explore different jobs. If you’re thinking at all about what do to after graduating, or if you might be interested in a new career, this might be the podcast episode for you.

Shawn Smallman

The five most popular podcast episodes

I started a new podcast last spring, in part because I viewed it as a way to stay in touch with people during the pandemic. If I couldn’t meet people face to face, at least I could talk with them in the podcast. One of my early difficulties was to find a title, as at first it seemed that every possible choice was already taken. In the end, it was one of my students (Kristen Fox) who came up with the title, and it was my students last spring quarter who voted to choose it via Google Form. This was how “Dispatch 7: global trends on all seven continents” was born.

I wanted to share what have been the five most popular episodes:

Applying for graduate schools, Ep. 1. This was a fun episode for me, because I interviewed my former student, past graduate assistant, and now friend, Rosa “Rosie” David. Rosie is now in a doctoral program in Canada. In her interview she spoke about how to apply to a doctoral program. This episode was not only the first, but also has been listened to far more than any other.

The Joy of Tea with Kim Brown, Ep. 2. Kim Brown is not only my friend and colleague, and the co-author of our textbook, but also a ceaseless font of information about tea. I have had many conversations with her over the last fifteen years, in which I’ve tried to persuade her to write a book about tea. That’s failed, but at least she agreed to talk with me about tea in our second episode, which has been the second most listened to on the podcast. It will probably leave you wanting to make a trip to a tea store, as soon as this miserable pandemic is ended.

Career Opportunities in Global Studies, Ep. 9. I created this episode based on a talk that I frequently give to prospective students. I had no intention of creating my own episodes at the time; this was supposed to be a podcast based on interviews. But when the wildfires swept Oregon and California last summer, some of my scheduled interviewees faced major issues and had to delay their interviewees. So I created this episode, which I hoped would speak to International and Global Studies majors.

Indigenous Futurism with Grace Dillon, Ep. 8. This is one of my favorite episodes because of Grace’s warmth. I love to hear her laugh throughout the conversation. When I originally conceived of this podcast, I wanted it to have short episodes. But with Grace the two of us just dove into a longer conversation. I think that everyone who listens to the episode has the same reaction that I did, which was that I wanted to go to the library and pick up several of the novels that she suggested. I am grateful to Grace, who also wrote the preface to a book that I wrote about an Indigenous spirit. Of course, that preface had the same humor and brilliance as Grace had in this conversation.

¡Bienvenidxs a España- A Fulbright Story! | Ep. 4 In this episode I interviewed one of our alums, Chiara Nicastro, about her experience with the Fulbright program. Chiara is an exceptional public speaker, and her energy and humor came through. My hope is that it will inspire other graduates to apply for a Fulbright in the future. I especially appreciated that Chiara also agreed to come and join me again in my careers episode, to talk about why an MA really is required now for many jobs in the field.

I’m hard at work on the podcast still. The next episode will be an interview with Joyce Hamilla about why students should apply for government jobs, and the following one will be about Syrian refugees. I’ve loved talking with all of my guests, and want to thank all of my interviewees.

Shawn Smallman, 2020

Indigenous Futurism with Grace Dillon: A Dispatch 7 podcast

I’ve just published my latest podcast episode of Dispatch 7, which is an interview with Dr. Grace Dillon about Indigenous Futurism. I’ve known Grace for a long time. She kindly wrote the preface to my own book -Dangerous Spirits- on the windigo, an evil spirit in Algonquian narratives and history. I like to think that this preface captured the enthusiasm, breadth of knowledge and humor that Grace shows in this podcast episode.

It’s ironic that in this podcast I briefly brought up the Indigenous knowledge of how to manage a landscape with fire, in order to avoid mega-fires. About a week after our interview much of the West Coast of the United States went up in flames. I am deeply worried for many old friends and former students. I’ve left that short comment in, because the point is still valid. But I would have spoken differently if I had known what was about to happen.

One of the great things about talking with Grace is that she always leaves me with a long list of novels that I want to read. This conversation was no different. Please see the show notes for a long list of novels, graphic novels and programs that Grace recommended. If you are looking for some reading suggestions, this is the right podcast episode for you.

Shawn Smallman

The Joy of Tea with Kim Brown: a podcast

This is the only tea plantation in Europe, on São Miguel Island in the Azores. Photo by Shawn Smallman, 2019.

This week I’ve posted a new episode of my podcast, Dispatch 7, global trends on all seven continents, in which I interviewed Kim Brown about tea. You can hear the episode here. I hope to have Kim back at some point to do an encore episode on chocolate (perhaps this fall) so stay tuned. Upcoming episodes will look at anemia in Peru, labor migrants in India, and the murder of musicians in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Shawn Smallman

ISIS and encryption

One of my favorite podcasts is Reply All, which covers cyber issues in a creative and clever manner. The hosts recently had an interview (“Decoders,” episode #62) with New York Times’ journalist Rukmini Callimachi, as well as Runa Sandvik, the director of bureau security at this newspaper. In essence, Callimachi discovered a new means that ISIS had adopted to communicate, called Truecrypt. Messages are written in this code, then uploaded to files on a website. For all their sophistication and technical knowledge, however, ISIS also proved to be vulnerable to basic errors, such as failing to check the location of the server by examining its web address. …

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