Killing Your Neighbors: Friendship, Violence, and Identity in Northern Kenya


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


The project examines oscillations between peaceful cooperation and lethal violence between Samburu herders and neighboring ethnic groups, in order to understand how the killings of intimates (e.g., friends, neighbors) is constructed as a single pole in a multifaceted and shifting interaction. Suggesting that memories of violence significantly shape interethnic understandings during both war and peace, parallel accounts will be collected of several violent encounters that form key points in collective memory, seen from the view of Samburu and five neighboring groups counterposed in these events. Through these accounts, this project explores how partially sublimated violent encounters both structure interethnic understandings in times of peace and foment unexpected outbreaks of violence.