Association for Africanist Anthropology
Group Flash Presentation Session
This paper examines the frictions that result when international development narratives of care and masculinity and the need to end gender based violence meet with local care and kinship knowledges and practices in post-conflict Arua, West-Nile Province, Uganda. The development programme in question, funded by the Dutch state, aligns with the state’s nationalist agenda to promote Dutch norms of human rights and sexual tolerance abroad. Informed by multi-sited ethnography in The Netherlands and Uganda, this paper explores some of the difficulties encountered by the Dutch author, who is also a development worker at said NGO, to complicate and historicize the predominantly unspoken Dutch gender norms inherent to attempts to engage men in sexual and reproductive health and rights interventions. Though a focus on epistemic justice and attention to the precarity and the ambiguities inherent to everyday practices of masculinity and kinship in Arua, the paper aims to highlight possible lines of flight and disruptions of dominant narratives to ‘fix’ men in Africa. It asks what forms of collaboration and co-construction for epistemic justice are possible within established globally distributed knowledge and development networks given that involved actors are largely unaware of each other’s and even their own (unspoken) gender and sexual norms.