Digging Droughts: Maasai and Palaeoanthropological Knowledge, Subsistence, and Collaboration in Oldupai Gorge, Tanzania
Committee MemberHayashi, Naotaka
Oetelaar, Gerald A.
Thomas, Melanee Lynn
History of Science
Science and technology studies
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AbstractTanzania’s Oldupai Gorge is a flagship human origins research destination, yet less recognised is that the Maasai inhabit the region. This thesis uses actor-network-theory to ethnographically compare palaeoanthropological and Maasai epistemology and ontology in Oldupai, and to understand why collaboration between the groups has been sporadic. Researchers and locals constructed knowledge in equally logical forms, combining established facts and artefacts with novel data to produce new facts and artefacts. Instead of fundamental epistemic disparities, the content of each group’s knowledge differed, and this content was tied to subsistence strategies and culture. Scientists and the Maasai acquired resources in non-scientific and non-pastoral worlds to support their respective livelihoods, and multiplied ontologies by enacting composite – yet conflicting – versions of hybrid drought. Even though both groups dug in Oldupai, palaeoanthropological and Maasai subsistence exigencies have precluded meaningful collaboration. However, mutually beneficial partnerships are emerging in the birthplace of humanity.
CitationLee, P. (2018). Digging Droughts: Maasai and Palaeoanthropological Knowledge, Subsistence, and Collaboration in Oldupai Gorge, Tanzania (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/31800
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