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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Gendered Spaces of Historical Knowledge: Women's Knowledge and Extraordinary Women in the Serengeti District, Tanzania
Author:Shetler, Jan B.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:gender relations
oral traditions
oral history
Women's Issues
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Education and Oral Traditions
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Abstract:In the Serengeti District, Mara Region, Tanzania, people learn about the past in particular gendered spaces. Men tell stories of ethnic origin, clan interactions, and migration with other men in the courtyard around pots of beer or on hunting trips. Women talk about the past as a discussion while they work together in the fields or in their homes. They are interested in the relationships between people. Men and women do not seem to share the same types of knowledge about the past and they have differing styles of narration. Yet there are also important structured ways, though informal and offstage, in which women have influenced men's narratives of the past. In addition, because of the situational and contextual nature of gender identity, exceptional women sometimes gain access to men's knowledge of the past and use their female knowledge to affect those narratives. Among the peoples of the small ethnic groups of Serengeti District, women seem to have had a significant effect on the separate and 'exterior' accounts of men's ethnic histories through their 'interior' community knowledge. What emerges is the contested nature of gender identity embedded in the historical narratives themselves, never fully controlled by either gender. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]