Accepted paper:

A gendered post-screening discussion of Maasai migrants


Peter Biella (San Francisco State University)

Paper short abstract:

Films produced through a collaboration with Maasai-led and other NGOs are screened in Maasai regions throughout Tanzania. The purpose is to prompt viewers to engage in important - though otherwise rare and uncomfortable - conversations about poverty, migration, and sexual practices

Paper long abstract:

I begin the session with short excerpts from Maasai Migrants, a film produced to 'trigger,' in rural audiences, dialog about HIV and the dangers of city life. I will then show Longido Homestead which depicts rural viewers responding to a screening. At first, only male elders speak, restricting the discussion to a minor theme, the pessimism of returning migrants. Also, at first, only one old woman speaks, and she echoes the men's words. Traditional Maasai culture is highly segregated by gender, and so we ask the men to leave. Immediately, young women take up the film's primary theme, the spread of HIV transmission in rural areas by returning migrants. The young women not only dissect the film's key issue - HIV ­ - that their husbands were unwilling to consider, but also correct misconceptions that older women hold about the disease. Maasai Migrants is most successful as a trigger for beneficial conversation when the traditional gender hierarchy is avoided by separating female viewers from their husbands.

panel P25
Can anthropology work for migrants? Anthropology (-ists) at work in charities and NGOs