Publications

Forthcoming
Meiu, George Paul. Forthcoming. “Who Are the New Natives? Ethnicity and Emerging Idioms of Belonging in Africa.” Companion to the Anthropology of Africa, edited by R. Grinker, E. F. Gonçalves, C. B. Steiner, and S. Lubkemann. Oxford: Wiley.
2017
Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya
Meiu, George Paul. 2017. Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Abstract
Ethno-erotic Economies explores a fascinating case of tourism focused on sex and culture in coastal Kenya, where young men deploy stereotypes of African warriors to help them establish transactional sexual relationships with European women. In bars and on beaches, young men deliberately cultivate their images as sexually potent African men to attract women, sometimes for a night, in other cases for long-term relationships.
 
George Paul Meiu uses his deep familiarity with the communities these men come from to explore the long-term effects of markets of ethnic culture and sexuality on a wide range of aspects of life in rural Kenya, including kinship, ritual, gender, intimate affection, and conceptions of aging. What happens to these communities when young men return with such surprising wealth? And how do they use it to improve their social standing locally? By answering these questions, Ethno-erotic Economies offers a complex look at how intimacy and ethnicity come together to shape the pathways of global and local trade in the postcolonial world.

 

“Forms of sex that were unheard of, unorthodox circuits of money, and new ways of asserting one’s belonging: Meiu has a true talent for bringing out the unexpected articulations that make present-day developments in Africa so challenging. New opportunities teach Samburu morans to use their ostentatious masculinity for making money on the Kenyan beaches with dramatic consequences back home. Ethno-erotic Economies is a fascinating study not only because of its theme but also due to the eloquent interaction between vivid ethnography and seminal interpretations.” Peter Geschiere, author of The Perils of Belonging: Autochthony, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Africa

Ethno-erotic Economies is a brilliant book—beautifully written, ethnographically rich, and theoretically provocative. Meiu explores the radical and rapid changes in Samburu economies, sexualities, and gender and generational relations with sensitivity, empathy, and an astute analytical sensibility. This is a must-read for scholars and students alike in African studies, sexuality studies, and anthropology.” Dorothy Hodgson, author of Gender, Justice, and the Problem of Culture

Ethno-erotic Economies is a stunning ethnographic achievement. Meiu’s exploration of how ethnicity, gender, money, and intimacy shape dynamics of belonging and value in contemporary Kenya speaks to important debates in African Studies, queer studies, and anthropological inquiry in the broadest sense.” Tom Boellstorff, author of A Coincidence of Desires

2016
Meiu, George Paul. 2016. “Belonging in Ethno-erotic Economies: Adultery, Alterity, and Ritual in Postcolonial Kenya.” American Ethnologist 43 (2): 215-229. [PDF]
2015
Meiu, George Paul. 2015. “Colonialism and Sexuality.” The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality (Volume 1), edited by Patricia Whelehan and Anne Bolin, 239-242. Malden, Oxford: Wiley, 239-242. [PDF]
Meiu, George Paul. 2015. “Beach-Boy Elders and Young Big-Men: Subverting the Temporalities of Ageing in Kenya's Ethno-Erotic Economies.” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 80 (4): 472-496. [PDF]
2011
Meiu, George Paul. 2011. “On Difference, Desire, and the Aesthetics of the Unexpected: 'The White Masai' in Kenyan Tourism.” Great Expectations: Imagination and Anticipation in Tourism, edited by Jonathan Skinner and Dimitrios Theodossopoulos, 96-115. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 96-115. [PDF]
2009
Meiu, George Paul. 2009. “Mombasa Morans: Embodiment, Sexual Morality, and Samburu Men in Kenya.” Canadian Journal of African Studies 43 (1): 105-128. [PDF]
2008
Meiu, George Paul. 2008. “Riefenstahl on Safari: Embodied Contemplation in East Africa.” Anthropology Today 24 (2): 18-22. [PDF]