Metje Postma’s is lecturer at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University. She is involved in the Institute's Visual Ethnography programme.
Her current research examines how a group of refugees from the Arab Rashaayda Bedouin community of Sudan, staying in Eritrea, is represented to and by aid organizations and how it presents itself in different ways, arenas and for different audiences.
Her theoretical interest is in how forms and modes of communication engage an audience differently. For their Arab brothers the Rashaayda emphasize their courage and their high descent through lengthy poems and songs and rhetorical speech, mobilizing their cultural heritage and history; to Western aid organizations they stress their neediness and their victimization by the Sudanese government and how they suffered from human rights abuses. Metje Postma explores how the discourse on representational processes in ethnography can be applied in the field of development. She is also interested in how people embody knowledge and skills, and how body-techniques are traditionally used to reach certain states of consciousness.
The documentary: Aida; Weaving a Way, will be part of her thesis: Rashaayda Representations: forms modes and ways of represention in a crisis situation. It shows a speech by Mabruk Mubarak, leader of the Rashaayda rebel group: Al Usud Al Hurra ( The Free Lions) on the occasion of the peace negotiations with the Sudanese government in July 2006. It was filmed in a military camp on the Eritrea/Sudan border .
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