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This Land Is Our Land: Mobile Media, Protest, and Debate in Maasai and Mongolian Land Disputes
Thursday, October 6, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
How has mobile media changed the ways that nomadic communities receive and send information, engage state actors, and participate in international deliberations? Allison Hahn examines the ways that two pastoral-nomadic communities, Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania and Mongolians of Mongolia and China, are utilizing new media and social media platforms to challenge power hierarchies and deliberative norms. Many governmental policy makers presume that this technological adaptation indicates a determination amongst nomadic communities to integrate and settle. This presentation asks if nomadic communities might instead be incorporating new media technologies as a method to preserve their traditional lifestyles while engaging in national and international deliberations about land policy. Hahn draws from evidence of this engagement found in Maasai and Mongolian use of YouTube, RenRen, Twitter and Facebook as well as in-person protests and her decade of fieldwork amongst pastoral-nomadic communities. In this talk, Hahn focuses on specific examples from Maasai and Mongolian communities, as well as addresses the broader questions of how academics might engage once-distant communities and better understand the complexity of mobile media and nomadic deliberation.
Allison Hahn (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the City University of New York – Baruch College. Her current book project, Nomads, New Media, and the State (in progress) explores the ways pastoral-nomadic communities in Central Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East are utilizing new and mobile technologies to participate in conservation policy and negotiate land rights.