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Grant number like: FB-52985-07

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Lidwien Elisabeth Kapteijns
Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA 02481-8203)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2008 – 12/31/2008

Somali Popular Culture and the Changing National Imaginary, 1960-2006

This history of Somali popular cultural production will analyze the changing Somali self-understandings, self-expressions, and cultural norms at three moments of history: the nationalist moment during which a national culture was actively fashioned (1960-1991); the sectarian moment of civil strife and clan violence (1991-present), and the moment of diasporic reconstruction, in which Islam and Islamism have gained prominence (1991-present). The source base for this research is extraordinarily rich and consists of the most prolific genres of popular cultural production: Somali popular songs, plays, poetry, novels, short stories, radio programs (especially the BBC Somali Service), sitcoms, and submissions to the flourishing Somali websites.