Emerging Perspectives on Reconfiguring 'Maasainess'


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




The proposed study is set to offer new insights into the ways in which ‘Maasainess’ as a cultural signifier has been embodied, configured, and circulated in various cultural productions. The study aims at exploring the various cultural embodiments of 'Maasainess' that have enhanced the circulation of ‘Maasainess’ in local and global imaginaries, in which the image of the Maasai and their culture remains largely stereotyped. My argument is that ‘Maasainess’ is a fluid signifier that constantly defies fixity and calls for a multidimensional engagement. I am therefore interested in looking at the ways that the various embodiments of 'Maasainess' endorse or repudiate the stereotypes that the circulation of this cultural signifier embodies. Using Rosi Braidotti’s concept of the nomadic and Mary Louise Pratt’s idea of the contact zones, with a multi genre approach where I read novels, autobiographies, and music videos to engage with the various configurations of ‘Maasainess.’