Associate professor, Social Anthropology
Paula specializes in digital anthropology and anthropology of art, visual culture, media and globalization. Her recent publications focus on mobile photography in Tanzania (2016), mobile infrastructure in Africa (2015), and mourning rituals for Mandela in Cape Town (2015).
Her research on digital media and intercultural interaction at a national art institute in Tanzania was published in the monograph Digital Drama. Teaching and Learning Art and Media in Tanzania (Uimonen 2012), with a website at http://innovativeethnographies.net/digitaldrama. In another project, an anti-corruption campaign by Tanzanian musicians was presented in an ethnographic road movie Chanjo ya Rushwa (2013), available online at https://vimeo.com/paulauimonen.
African Women Writers
This project explores transnational dynamics in the literary production of African women writers in Ghana and Tanzania, with an emphasis on African feminism and Pan-Africanism. Drawing on anthropological theory and method, it is an ethnographic study centered on a select number of contemporary women writers in different genres (novels, short stories, poetry, plays and children books) and the cultural circumstances of their literary production. Theoretically, the project centres on transnational interactions and tensions in literary production in and of Africa. As a literary and social category, African women writers bring attention to two interrelated aspects of the cosmopolitan/vernacular dynamic in world literature. As women writers, their work highlights the transnational tensions of feminism, thus demanding a more pluralistic approach to issues relating to women and gender, as explored in African feminism. As African writers, their works exemplify the cultural construction of Africanness in a globalized world, thus bringing forth more critical forms of cosmopolitanism, not least Pan-Africanism. Rather than privileging Western circuits of African literature, this project takes an ethnographic approach, focusing on literary production from within, thus building on recent scholarship that accentuates the African context of literary production. In addition to examining local literary worlds, this project investigates digital mediations in literary production and transnational exchange, including social and visual media. Fieldwork in Ghana and Tanzania will start in 2016. More information about the project can be found on the website womenwriters.one .