Gendered Labor, Food Security, and Technology in 20th-Century Mali


Laura Ann Twagira, an associate professor of history, head of African Studies, and an affiliate with science in society program and feminist gender sexuality studies program at Wesleyan University, talks about her book, Embodied Engineering: Gendered Labor, Food Security, and Taste in Twentieth-Century Mali with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. Embodied Engineering examines how women in rural Mali have used technology to ensure food security through the colonial period, environmental crises, and postcolonial rule. Twagira charts how women in Mali resisted some technological changes in agriculture and kitchens while embracing others, often in the name of pursuing their own notions of how food should taste. Twagira and Vinsel also talk about the need to redefine concepts, such as engineering and technology, in different contexts, and how doing so challenges reigning paradigms, such as that the goal of technology adoption should be increasing productivity and replacing labor - two values that women in Mali rejected.

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Lee Vinsel

Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.

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