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Maasai Migrants and Applied Visual Anthropology

In an ongoing project in applied visual anthropology project with the Maasai Migrants Tanzania Field School, San Francisco State University faculty and students collaborated with Maasai-led non-governmental organizations, independent Maasai scholars, and traditional pastoralists.

The partnership has produced short documentary films for screening in Maasai homesteads and city enclaves. The films document the new Maasai poverty, their out-migration, and the influx of HIV. After screening the video vignettes, a facilitator guides audience discussions of great value to the Maasai dealing with these changes, since their culture’s long enjoyment of wealth and isolation shielded them from city dangers and the global epidemic.

In addition to creating a long-term relationship between professional Maasai educators, pastoralists and SFSU, the project demonstrates how anthropology graduate students can provide substantial benefits across the globe while gaining valuable independent field experience.

The project’s key contribution lies in its use of video vignettes in both successful and unsuccessful post-screening facilitated discussions, and in the practical and ethical complexities of recording on-camera collaborators’ private stories for public benefit.

Contact:
Peter Biella, Anthropology
San Francisco State University
peterbiella@gmail.com

Co-Researchers:
Michael Crammond, Kellen Prandini, & Shamia Sandles, San Francisco State University

Key words: international, cultural preservation, Africa, San Francisco
Content Contact:
Judy Botelho
(562) 951-4749
Technical Contact:
webmaster@calstate.edu

Last Updated: May 06, 2016