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Within the Tent and at the Crossroads: Travel and Gender Identity among the Tuareg of Niger

Susan J. Rasmussen
Ethos
Vol. 26, No. 2, Communicating Multiple Identities in Muslim Communities (Jun., 1998), pp. 153-182
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/640675
Page Count: 30
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Within the Tent and at the Crossroads: Travel and Gender Identity among the Tuareg of Niger
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Abstract

This essay examines the shaping of gender relations in travel among the seminomadic Tuareg in the Niger Republic. Expressive forms including narrative, conversation, poetry, and song articulate ambivalence toward changing travel practices in a society based on movement, and a fundamental preoccupation with inside, outside, and the borders that separate them. Men's and women's travel experiences undermine existing institutions, consequently enmeshing gender identity in new power relations in other domains. These Tuareg data challenge some tendencies of transnational theory to elevate the transcultural to the universal, and offer a perspective on the interaction between gender and forms of hegemony.

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