Once Intrepid Warriors: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Cultural Politics of Maasai Development

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Overview

Once Intrepid Warriors
Gender, Ethnicity, and the Cultural Politics of Maasai Development

Dorothy L. Hodgson

How the experience and legacy of development have shaped Maasai identities today.

"Hodgson presents us with a complex, interactive picture of change over time, one dominated neither by the Maasai nor the state and development apparatus.... The Maasai emerge not simply as the ‘intrepid warriors’ envisioned by government and development officials, or even sometimes by themselves, but as active agents in the construction of their own history. This history, however, is often contradictory, contested, and varied."
—Jane Parpart

"... the first and only book that systematically addresses Maasai culture and development from multiple perspectives of cultural identity and ethnicity, issues of land, labor, education, and, not least, changing perspectives and understanding of gender and gender relations in the society... rich both in historical detail and ethnographic substance."
—Elliot M. Fratkin

Drawing on archival sources as well as her extensive fieldwork in Tanzania, Dorothy L. Hodgson explores the ways identity, development, and gender have interacted to shape the Maasai into who and what they are today. By situating the Maasai in the political, economic, and social context of Tanzania and of world events, Hodgson shows how outside forces, and views of development in particular, have influenced Maasai lifeways, especially gender relations. Attitudes and assumptions of government and development officials who believed that the Maasai must maintain their pastoralist tradition determined the types of development schemes imposed. But rather than reinforce visions of the Maasai as intrepid warriors, development created new gender hierarchies, new responses to the pressures of modernity, and ambivalent attitudes toward education and local, national, and international politics. Five profiles of Maasai men and women interspersed within the text bring Maasai voices to life and show that they were never passive participants in their own history. Once Intrepid Warriors reflects the complexity and variability of Maasai society as it has responded to outside interventions and internal struggles over how to protect Maasai interests in a changing world.

Dorothy L. Hodgson teaches anthropology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and is affiliated with the Center for African Studies and the Women’s Studies Program. She is editor of Rethinking Pastoralism in Africa: Gender, Culture and the Myth of the Patriarchal Pastoralist and co-editor of "Wicked" Women and the Reconfiguration of Gender in Africa.

July 2001
320 pages, 16 b&w photos, 4 figs., 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, index, append.
cloth 0-253-33909-X $39.95 s / £30.50

Indiana University Press

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What People Are Saying

Elliot M. Fratkin
. . . the first and only book that systematically addresses Maasai culture and development from multiple perspectives of cultural identity and ethnicity, issues of land, labor, education, and, not least, changing perspectives and understanding of gender and gender relations in the society . . . rich both in historical detail and ethnographic substance.
Jane Parpart
Hodgson presents us with a complex, interactive picture of change over time, one dominated neither by the Maasai nor the state and development apparatus. . . . The Maasai emerge not simply as the 'intrepid warriors' envisioned by government and development officials, or even sometimes by themselves, but as active agents in the construction of their own history. This history, however, is often contradictory, contested, and varied.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253339096
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorothy L. Hodgson teaches anthropology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, where she is affiliated with the Center for African Studies and the Women’s Studies Department.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: Seeing Maasai
1. Gender, Generation and Ethnicity: Being Maasai Men and Women
Maasai Portrait 1. Koko
2. Modernist Orders: Colonialism and the Production of Marginality
Maasai Portrait 2. Wanga
3. Why Are You in Such a Hurry?: Development and Decolonization
Maasai Portrait 3. Thomas
4. Politics of the Postcolonial Periphery: Gender, Ethnicity and Citizenship
Maasai Portrait 4. Edward Moringe Sokoine
5. Poverty and Progress: Gender, Ethnicity and Pastoralist Development
Maasai Portrait 5. Mary
6. The Gendered Contradictions of Modernity and Marginality
Conclusion: Maasai Pasts, Maasai Futures
Glossary
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Indiana University Press

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