Jennifer Lee Johnson

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Richard and Lillian Ives Graduate Student Fellow

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    “Abavubi: The Gendered Practices and Politics of Working with Fish in Uganda”

    Traversing national boundaries and international networks of commerce, control, and expertise, Nyanja (Lake Victoria) has long been a crucible for transformative social dynamics characterized by “the littoral” – literally, the shoreline. It is a place of heightened prospects for actual and economic mobility, alternative moralities of sexual and economic exchange, and competing valuation of space and resources for leisure, protein, and politically strategic purposes. As this dissertation will show, Nyanja’s littoral comprises a liminal frontier of possibility, but also constraint, where a uniquely littoral cosmopolitanism continues to emerge around the gendered vernacular practices of fishing. In a region where domestic politics and practices are so often assumed to be aligned along immutable tribal or ethnic lines, at the littoral, identity, belonging and acceptable conduct are actively negotiated, and further, closely linked to the vernacular practices and politics of working with fish and managing fisheries.