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When the Light Is FireMaasai Schoolgirls in Contemporary Kenya$
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Heather D Switzer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042034

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042034.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 24 June 2021

“Girls are the most powerful force of change on the planet.”

“Girls are the most powerful force of change on the planet.”

Situating Schoolgirlhood

(p.1) Introduction “Girls are the most powerful force of change on the planet.”
When the Light Is Fire

Heather D. Switzer

University of Illinois Press

The Introduction, “Situating Schoolgirlhood,” introduces readers to the local context of the case-study communities in Kajiado County, Kenya, and elaborates key concepts, including inhabited agency, girl-effects logic, and gendered responsibility and obligation. The chapter argues for the relevance of “postfeminism” and “girlpower”—concepts derived through analysis of girls’ lives in the Global North— for understanding Kenyan Maasai schoolgirls’ compelling insights that trouble the reductive demographic notion of “a girl enrolled in school” that animates development discourse targeting girls’ lives for intervention and investment. By tracing the outlines of “schoolgirlhood” as a specific kind of gendered and generational cultural space for girls who go to school, the introduction foreshadows subsequent chapters that each elaborate aspects of schoolgirlhood as narrated by schoolgirls, mothers, and teachers.

Keywords:   Kenya, inhabited agency, girl-effects logic, gendered responsibility, postfeminism, girlpower, gender and generation, Global South

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