Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

ACS Works-in-Progress: “A Trilogy of Masculinities: Boyhood, Initiates, and Adulthood Masculinities” ⎻ Jacob Muniko Mwita

March 2 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

SAVE THE DATE for a presentation part of the newly created “ACS Works-in-Progress” ongoing series!

“Works-in-Progress” gatherings are monthly symposiums that will give ACS grad students and faculty the opportunity to share their work with listeners and receive feedback. These meetings are open to all students interested in learning about diverse topics and perspectives within the field of African Cultural Studies. Any student or faculty of any major or background can feel free to come by and listen.

In this presentation, Jacob Muniko Mwita will share his work-in-progress titled “A Trilogy of Masculinities: Boyhood, Initiates, and Adulthood Masculinities.” See the abstract below:

Among the Kuria people, a Bantu speaking community in western Kenya and northern Tanzania, puberty male circumcision is regarded as the singular rite of passage which transitions boys to masculinity. One is not considered a man (or masculine) unless he is circumcised. In this chapter, I discuss how masculinity is constructed, understood, and interpreted among the Kuria people. Drawing on ethnographic interviews I conducted with my father and uncle, and informal conversation with my mother, I argue that in contrast to the widely held belief which links masculinity to puberty circumcisions, the performance of masculinity starts at boyhood, gets reinforced during puberty initiation rituals, and continues to be monitored and policed throughout an individual’s adult life. I demonstrate that there is no specific period in which someone’s masculinity can be said to have “started.” Rather, it is an identity that individuals take on and perform in various ways across contexts. I therefore illustrate a trilogy, showing the performance of masculinity at boyhood, during puberty initiation, and beyond. My work challenges the idealized adolescent circumcision as the primary determinant of masculinity, enabling us to read this identity as an ongoing negotiation of power in which initiation into adulthood is just part.

Keywords: Masculinity, Performance, Puberty initiation, Kuria, Power


March 2
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category: