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Morality at the Margins. Youth, language, and Islam in Coastal Kenya

Morality at the Margins. Youth, language, and Islam in Coastal Kenya
19 Russell Street, Room AP367
Time: Oct 28th, 10:00 am End: Oct 28th, 12:00 pm
Interest Categories: Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), African, 2000-
Talk by Sarah Hillewaert

The Department of Anthropology presents

SCL Discussion Series

Morality at the Margins. Youth, language, and Islam in Coastal Kenya

Prof. Sarah Hillewaert (UTM). My research focuses on the range of ways in which young people negotiate social relations and positions in contexts of social change and globalization. More specifically, it investigates the linguistic and semiotic strategies youth deploy to express their orientations to development, modernity, religion, heritage, and tradition. My work on Lamu (Kenya) discusses how young people use accents and language mixing as well as bodily comportment and greeting styles to negotiate new sets of social and economic relationships and altering understandings of moral personhood. Through an analysis of their daily practices, I demonstrate that young people do not leave norms of propriety behind, but are in fact concerned with what it means to be a virtuous person in a rapidly changing society. My newer research looks at how young people's notions of religious identity and historical conceptions of global interconnectivity along the Swahili coast shift in tandem with emerging geopolitical positions and technological innovations. I am particularly interested in how an altered access to translocal discourses changes notions of moral communities and conceptions of belonging.

The event is free and open to all. Registration is not required. For further information, please contact the Department of Anthropology at (416) 978-4805.

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