Tag: tanzania

Crackles of Science and other Signs of the Unseen in East Africa

After hearing that several villagers stored bags full of radioactive sand inside their family houses, the nuclear scientist explained that he went into a man’s home with a Geiger Counter. Moving through the house, closer to the bag of sand, he recounted how changes in the quality of the sound corresponded to an increasing presence of radiation. He knew that the people in this village, which is located close to Tanzania’s first uranium mine, kept the bags in their homes because they did not want to give away something that they knew was valuable, like gold or the gemstones mined in the area. He explained they didn’t realize keeping the bags in their homes was not a good idea, though he never said why. The sound emitted by the radiation detector voiced a difference that couldn’t be seen by the human eye: it was a moment when the normally unseen, unheard, odorless, and tasteless forces of ionizing radiation were made apparent. (read more...)

Roundtable: “COVID-19: Views from the Field”

We’re wrapping up our five-part series, “COVID-19: Views from the Field,” with a pre-recorded roundtable. This roundtable brought our authors into conversation with each other, across continents and timezones, to discuss conducting—or not conducting—fieldwork in places not understood as COVID-19 “hotspots.” Check out the video here, and follow the links below to read the whole series, also available in the language of each field site. (read more...)

The Temporal Politics of Ethnography, Heritability, and Contagion in Tanzania During Covid-19

Editor’s note: This post is the fourth in our five-part series “COVID-19: Views from the Field.” Click here to read an introduction written by series organizer Rebekah Ciribassi. I have been living in Tanzania since March of 2018, conducting ethnographic fieldwork with Tanzanian families that have a genetically-inherited blood disorder called sickle cell disease. My interest in studying the socio-political life of this particular diagnosis in this particular place started in 2012, when I learned of a Pan-African bioscience movement, sited partly in Tanzania, to prioritize sickle cell disease research and care across the continent. I became curious about what it might mean anthropologically to shift the timescales of global health intervention from the immediacy of more traditionally-prioritized communicable diseases like HIV and malaria, toward the intergenerational transmission of a genetic condition. Almost two years of interviews and observation with families, activists, and healthcare providers had me thinking about the (read more...)