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The Weatherman

The Making of Prepared Farmers and the Postcolonial Predictive State in Kenya

Martin Skrydstrup

This article explores weather forecasting as an emergent technology of governmentality through a detailed ethnography of the ways in which the relationships between weather and crops are rendered knowable in a two-day “participatory scenario planning” (PSP) workshop in Naromoru in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Farmers were “made into meteorologists” and developed their preparedness for hazards, impacts, opportunities, strategies, and responsibilities within the context of facing El Niño. The ethnography targets seemingly novel ways of preparing farmers for El Niño. I argue that the PSP served two principal functions: (1) to redistribute responsibilities of the farmers themselves by making them into “meteorologists”; and (2) to integrate “scientific expertise” with “local knowledge” to generate public trust in the metrological institutions of the postcolonial predictive state.

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Disruptive Discourses

Kenyan Maasai Schoolgirls Make Themselves

Heather Switzer

This article examines the practical construction and effects of the schoolgirl as an emergent social category in contemporary Kenyan Maasai society against mainstream development's figuring of the girl-child. The paper relies upon ninety-eight interviews with schoolgirls between the ages of ten and seventeen in nine primary schools in Kajiado District, Kenya. A contradictory resistance to traditional gender norms and social forms characterizes the schoolgirls' narratives of education and development in their daily lives. These narratives are embedded in larger questions regarding the transnational intersections of ethnicity and gender in the formation of local identities in marginalized indigenous communities in postcolonial Kenya. Without disputing the practical necessities of educating girls, I problematize the seamless rhetoric concerning formal schooling as a neutral public good in order to open up the complex conversation about educational access and attainment in the global south today.

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Andrew Barnfield and et al.

Being Lighter Than Air Derek P. McCormack, Atmospheric Things: On the Allure of Elemental Envelopment (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018), 304 pp., 34 illustrations, $27.95 (paperback)

Challenging Landscapes of Confinement Michael J. Flynn and Matthew B. Flynn, Challenging Immigration Detention: Academics, Activists and Policy-makers (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2017), 352 pp. £81 (hardback).

“Bottleneck” in Dakar: From Metaphor to Anthropological Analytical Tool Caroline Melly, Bottleneck: Moving, Building, and Belonging in An African City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 224 pp., 11 halftones, $30 (paperback).

Migratory Trajectories, Affective Attachments, and Sexual-Economic Exchanges Christian Groes and Nadine T. Fernandez, eds., Intimate Mobilities: Sexual Economies, Marriage and Migration in a Disparate World (New York: Berghahn Books, 2018), 248 pp., $120 (hardback).

Engineering Nineteenth-Century Transport Innovations Maxwell Lay, The Harnessing of Power: How 19th Century Transport Innovators Transformed the Way the World Operates (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2018), 374 pp., £64.99 (hardback).

The Politics of Mobility in Postcolonial Kenya Kenda Mutongi, Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 352 pp., 31 halftones, $30 (paperback).

A Sense of What Commuting Takes David Bissell, Transit Life: How Commuting is Transforming Our Cities (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018), 272 pp., 6 illustrations, $32 (paperback).

Vanishing Point? The City after the Car Venkat Sumantran, Charles Fine and David Gonsalvez, Faster, Smarter, Greener: The Future of the Car and Urban Mobility (Massachusetts: The MIT Press), 326 pp, $29.95

Troubling the “View from Above” Caren Kaplan, Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018), 298pp., 24 color plates. Hardcover: $77, Paper $25.

Mobility, Mobilization, and Cooptation Claudio Sopranzetti, Owners of the Map: Motorcycle Taxi Drivers, Mobility and Politics in Bangkok (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017), xiv +328 pp., $85.00 (hardback), $29.95 (paperback).

No Exit: The Persistent Legacies of Mobility Choices in Houston Kyle Shelton, Power Moves: Transportation, Politics, and Development in Houston (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017), 302 pp., 24 black-and-white illustrations, $29.95 (paperback)