University of Iowa

African Studies Program to discuss commercial nationalism in Kenya, Feb. 26

February 22nd, 2016
African Studies Program event

View event poster here.

The African Studies Program (ASP) and UI International Programs invite you to attend an upcoming baraza titled, "Producing Communities and Commodities:Safaricom and Commercial Nationalism in Kenya." Featuring guest speakers Melissa Tully and David Tuwei, the event will take place on February 26, 2016, from 2:30-4:00 p.m. in the UCC 2390 Executive Boardroom.

This discussion analyzes Safaricom, one of the most established mobile operators in Kenya. Alongside the provision of mobile services, Safaricom has closely engaged with the government of Kenya, even getting involved in the nation’s politics. This study examines Safaricom’s advertisements from the past five years to examine its use of national sentiment in its marketing. We argue that the ads reflect a commitment to promoting the country and its products through discourses of ‘commercial nationalism’, which present Safaricom as a driver of economic growth and development in Kenya. These discourses link Kenyan identity and distinctiveness to consumerism, commercial and economic success, profit, and upward mobility.

Melissa Tully studies digital media technologies, international communication with a focus on media in developing countries, and philanthropy and nonprofit communication. Tully has conducted research in Kenya, Ghana, and Burundi. Generally, her research focuses on the use of digital media by a variety of actors in civil society. Additionally, Tully teaches courses that focus on digital and multimedia, including Introduction to Multimedia Storytelling, Social Media Today, and Philanthropy Communication in a Digital World, and Global Digital Media. She is actively involved with the Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication certificate program in SJMC.

David Tuwei studies Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and international communication. Within this area, he is particularly interested in how communication technologies are used in the process of social and economic development in the developing world context. Lately, he has been researching on mobile telephony and its use in social and economic development in Africa. He is also interested in the issues of globalization and African media, communication policy, digital inclusion and exclusion and has previously conducted research on the use of ICTs in education in Kenya.

This event is free and open to the public - bring a friend and join us for chai and samosas and some compelling discussion!

To learn more about upcoming African Studies Program events, visit the ASP events page.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact James Giblin in advance at james-giblin@uiowa.edu or 319-335-2288.

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