Music and HIV/AIDS : the performance of gender, identity, and power in Tanzania
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This dissertation investigates the intersection between music, gender, religion, and state agencies in the war against HIV /AIDS in Tanzania. The dissertation explores how music, gender and sexuality, religion, and state agencies impact one another in the creative process of musical and dramatic performances that address the education and prevention of HIV/AIDS. The ethnographic data, which focuses on musical and dramatic performance groups in Bukoba Urban and Rural Districts in Kagera Region, and Dar es Salaam Region, was collected from September 2008–May 2009. The dissertation views performance from multiple perspectives: as an avenue for the production of diverse types of knowledge such as musical, biomedical, religious, and localized or indigenous knowledge about healing in the context of HIV/AIDS; as a space in which gender and religious ideologies and identities are displayed and contested; and finally, as the space in which the manifestations of negotiations of power relations take place. The dissertation shows that health is at the center of music and dramatic performances as they are concerned with the maintenance of individual and community health. By doing so, performances serve as the hub of the social agency in preventing ill health and in restoring the well-being of the individual and communities at large. With regard to music, gender, and sexuality, the dissertation demonstrates that music performance is not only considered an avenue that provides one of the best contexts for observing and understanding the gender structure of any society. Performance is also a space for public discourse on sexuality in the context of HIV/AIDS. The state and religious ideology affect the creative process by either attempting to control meanings or by preventing certain performance. However, such attempts are not always successful. Finally, the dissertation demonstrates that performance is more than space for message-oriented or crowd-attracting activity but serves as a site upon which readings of the social transformation of gender roles through performance can take place.