Ms Mamasa Camara (2018)
As the trilingual daughter of a traditional West African healer, my identity embodies the complexity of diaspora, migration, and collective memory. My research interests are in African identity formation, the social, political, and historical processes which inform various African experiences across and through diaspora. Through a historical lens, I have investigated the practice of female circumcision and how to apply this analysis to aid contemporary efforts to address the practice. My past research explored British colonial narratives on female circumcision in Kenya and received the highest honour thesis award in the History Department at Spelman College. In 2012, I collaborated with the Vice President of the Gambia to organize the first national conference on women’s health to mutually create strategies to address women’s health disparities. I am committed to contributing to knowledge production that engages with communities and their material realities. At Cambridge I will continue to excavate how historical forces inform contemporary moments in African Studies, by examining how colonial legacies of women’s advocacy around female circumcision endure in the present. My research interrogates how global governance and women’s human rights discourses travel and translate across different systems of meaning and signification and the risks that are posed when international organizations designed to modify local practices fail to understand the complex worlds in which these practices are embedded. These questions inform a PhD in Politics and International Studies as well as an analysis of the global governance of women’s human rights discourses and interventionist practices in the Gambia.