Category Archives: Blog

I am now a member of Editors Canada!

Excited to announce that I’m now a member of Editors Canada (check out my awesome member badge at the About me page)! I have my own listing in the directory and have explored the many benefits that membership brings, including a long list of resources, training documents, and guidebooks; courses for continuous professional development; discounts on style guides, courses, and events; and of course networking opportunities such as conferences and local meet-ups. Eventually, experienced editors can qualify for certification through an exam. I’m not there yet, but as I’ve mentioned earlier, I have registered for a copyediting course at Queens University, Toronto, that begins in thirteen days!

A busy, interesting summer and some editing training up ahead!

It’s been a busy summer! I have worked on a number of large projects, including the brochure of the Lebanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale and some developmental edits of PhD-theses, and I’ve also learned some skills involved in digital ethnography by working for MotivIndex, a consumer research company based in Toronto. That was fun and a nice change from the editing work, which I have drowned in this summer (not that that’s a bad thing, but I must say I am glad that I’m finally able to breathe again, even though it’s just a little bit).

After (almost) completing two large developmental editing jobs recently, I have learned that this type of editing is very draining but also very rewarding. It takes so much effort and concentration to put myself in the author’s shoes, understand what story they are trying to tell, and suggest how that message, story, or argument can be conveyed in the clearest, most engaging, and best-structured way. While the effort is considerable, once I see how I can help improve the structure, flow, or argument of the text, I love sharing my insights with the author to see if they agree with me, and making a plan to move forward. There’s nothing better than a happy, satisfied client. Every writer benefits from  a fresh pair of eyes for their text, myself included. While it is definitely not the only type of editing that I want to do, I definitely want to keep offering this service.

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The contradictions of capital investment in the built environment.

While not everyone might associate the work of David Harvey or Neil Smith, two Marxist geographers, with poetry, I must say that while reading their work, I was very often struck by its poetic quality. Consider this quote:

“Capital represents itself in the form of a physical landscape created in its own image” (Harvey, 1978, p. 124)

How did these geographers end up with sentences that carried such literary quality?

Both Harvey and Smith, Harvey’s PhD-student, tried to understand the relationship between capital and space from a Marxist perspective, and focused especially on the built environment. As it turns out, the built environment presents capitalists with an inherent contradiction: they need it, but once it has been created, it presents barriers to further accumulation. Continue reading

I got interviewed by Peerwith!

The academic services portal Peerwith has interviewed me about what it is like working for them. You can find the interview here. Some quotes:

“My work for Peerwith, which consists mostly of language editing, is now part of my business as a self-employed researcher, writer and editor, based in The Netherlands. I love my work and have not regretted my decision to leave academia, not even for one second! And in a sense, I have not left academia, because I am working with academic texts on a daily basis and I still write and publish my own journal articles.”

“Is there anything you want to say to people who are hesitant about getting support, or advice to people who are considering using the Peerwith Platform?

I would of course say go for it! A second pair of eyes makes everyone’s work better, my own included. There is no such thing as an embarrassing paper; almost everyone’s first draft looks bad. Editors want to help you, and I really enjoy improving others’ work. So go ahead and post your request; I’m sure someone will be able to help you!”

The contestations of Beirut’s Sunday market

A few years ago, I co-authored an article about one of the few markets in Beirut: the Souk al Ahad weekend market. This is a lively and busy outdoors market located on the eastern edge of Beirut, near its heavily polluted river. As it turned out, the land that the market is sitting on is heavily contested between different two different public actors, and the very existence of the market itself is threatened by this conflict. Continue reading

Turning money into stone

In my professional life, I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to research and engage with a number of fascinating topics related to how humans build cities. Coming to Beirut as a graduate student in 2007, the rapid transformation of the urban environment captured my attention and resulted in a master’s thesis that tried to understand how the Lebanese state facilitated real estate developers through changes in the legal and institutional framework. The results of the thesis were published in a journal article written with my fantastic supervisor Prof. Mona Fawaz. Continue reading