School(ing) Girls: Localizing Transnational Gender Identities in Kenya's Maasailand

Seed Grant Semester Awarded
Spring
Seed Grant Award Year
2011

This collaborative, transdisciplinary project joins the expertise of faculty from the fields of Women and Gender studies and Education Policy and Sociolinguistics to advance research on gender and education in rural East Africa. Specifically, this project explores the impact of the development driven education imperative in the form of formal schooling on identity construction and notions of girlhood in Maasai communities in Kenya. Our study takes as primary the relationships between discourse, language use, and lived experience. The purpose of the research is to capture the complex interrelations between formal schooling, multi-scalar development imperatives, and individual everyday life worlds within the changing economic and social context of postcolonial Kenya in the age of globalization. By considering the lived experience of development in the form of formal schooling form the subjective point of view of Maasai schoolgirls, we hope to use an innovative humanistic/interpretivist social science approach to shine new theoretical light on what it is like to live as a target of the policy interventions enabled by hegemonic development discourses.

Seed Grant Project Director(s)
Heather Switzer, Assistant Professor, Women and Gender Studies, School of Social Transformation
Larisa Warhol, Associate Research Professor, Center for Indian Education, School of Social Transformation