Women In African Colonial Histories

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Overview

How did African women negotiate the complex political, economic, and social forces of colonialism in their daily lives? How did they make meaningful lives for themselves in a world that challenged fundamental notions of work, sexuality, marriage, motherhood, and family? By considering the lives of ordinary African women—farmers, queen mothers, midwives, urban dwellers,
migrants, and political leaders—in the context of particular colonial conditions at specific places and times, Women in African Colonial Histories challenges the notion of a homogeneous
"African women’s experience." While recognizing the inherent violence and brutality of the colonial encounter, the essays in this lively volume show that African women were not simply the hapless victims of European political rule. Innovative use of primary sources, including life histories, oral narratives, court cases, newspapers, colonial archives, and physical evidence,
attests that African women’s experiences defy static representation. Readers at all levels will find this an important contribution to ongoing debates in African women’s history and
African colonial history.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"This is an interesting and revealing exploration of an important population that has long been neglected. All levels and collections." —Choice, December 2002

Journal of African History

"Readers of this volume will find a number of real gemes in each section.... Instructors can not only expose their students to the latest researchbut also provide a primary source that the students can use to hone their own reading and analytical skills." —Journal of African History

Choice - D. B. Heath

This volume is a good example of what can be learned from and about a previously mute and oppressed constituency: native women in colonized sub—Saharan Africa. As is common in anthologies, the quality of the essays is uneven, although (or because?) the editors conscientiously strove for breadth in terms of topics, regions, and nationality of the colonial powers. The introduction neatly summarizes the theme and something of the evolution of the volume. The authors set their chapters in temporal and cultural context, and ample endnotes are helpful but do not interfere with the generally clear and well—organized exposition. Specific topics range from women's roles in a grass—roots army of national liberation, loss of queen—mothers as checks on tribal regents, linguistic play as part of a local rebellion against political corruption, midwifery as a new and culturally conflicted role, and compulsory examination of travelers for sexually transmitted diseases, among others. Recurrent is the pattern that traditionally dominant local males acceded to (or encouraged?) economic and other domination of women on the part of European colonizers. This is an interesting and revealing exploration of an important population that has long been neglected. All levels and collections.D. B. Heath, Brown University, Choice, December 2002

From the Publisher

"Readers of this volume will find a number of real gemes in each section....
Instructors can not only expose their students to the latest researchbut also provide a primary source that the students can use to hone their own reading and analytical skills." —Journal of
African History

This volume is a good example of what can be learned from and about a previously mute and oppressed constituency: native women in colonized sub—Saharan Africa. As is common in anthologies, the quality of the essays is uneven, although (or because?) the editors conscientiously strove for breadth in terms of topics, regions, and nationality of the colonial powers. The introduction neatly summarizes the theme and something of the evolution of the volume. The authors set their chapters in temporal and cultural context, and ample endnotes are helpful but do not interfere with the generally clear and well—organized exposition. Specific topics range from women's roles in a grass—roots army of national liberation, loss of queen—mothers as checks on tribal regents, linguistic play as part of a local rebellion against political corruption,
midwifery as a new and culturally conflicted role, and compulsory examination of travelers for sexually transmitted diseases, among others. Recurrent is the pattern that traditionally dominant local males acceded to (or encouraged?) economic and other domination of women on the part of
European colonizers. This is an interesting and revealing exploration of an important population that has long been neglected. All levels and collections.D. B. Heath, Brown University, Choice,
December 2002

"This is an interesting and revealing exploration of an important population that has long been neglected. All levels and collections." —Choice, December 2002

Choice

"This is an interesting and revealing exploration of an important population that has long been neglected. All levels and collections." —Choice, December 2002

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253215079
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2002
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Allman teaches African History at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign. She is author of The Quills of the Porcupine: Asante Nationalism in an
Emergent Ghana and co-author (with Victoria Tashjian) of "I Will Not Eat Stone": A Women's
History of Colonial Asante. Her research on gender, colonialism, and social change has appeared in numerous journals.

Susan Geiger is Professor Emeritus of Women's Studies at the
University of Minnesota. She is author of TANU Women: Gender and Culture Change in the Making of
Tanganyikan Nationalism, 1955-65. She has published over a dozen articles on African women's history and the uses of life history in historical research. She serves on the editorial board of
SIGNS.

Nakanyike Musisi is Director of Makerere Institute of Social Research at
Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. She has authored many chapters and articles on Baganda women. Her research interests include state formation, customary law, education, and environmental issues.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of
Contents:

Acknowledgments
Introduction Jean Allman, Susan Geiger, and
Nakanyike Musisi

Part 1. Encounters and Engagements
1. "What My Heart
Wanted": Gendered Stories of Early Colonial Encounters in Southern Mozambique Heidi
Gengenbach
2. Dynastic Daughters: Three Royal Kwena Women and E. L. Price of the London
Missionary Society, 1853-1881 Wendy Urban-Mead
3. Colonial Midwives and Modernizing
Childbirth in French West Africa Jane Turrittin

Part 2. Perceptions and
Representations
4. The Politics of Perception of Perception as Politics?: Colonial and
Missionary Representations of Baganda Women, 1900-1945 Nakanyike Musisi
5. "The Woman in Question": Marriage and Identity in the Colonial Courts of Northern Ghana, 1907-1954 Sean
Hawkins
6. Colonialism, Education, and Gender Relations in the Belgian Congo: The
Évolué Case Gertrude Mianda
7. Virgin Territory?: Travel and Migration by African
Women in Twentieth Century Southern Africa Teresa Barnes
8. "When in the White Man's Town":
Zimbabwean Women Remember Chibeura Lynette Jackson

Part 3. Power
Reconfigured/Power Contested
9. Queen Mothers and Good Government in Buganda: The Loss of
Women's Political Power in Nineteenth Century East Africa Holly Hanson
10. Marrying and
Marriage on a Shifting Terrain: Reconfigurations of Power and Authority in Early Colonial Asante
Victoria Tashjian and Jean Allman
11. "Vultures of the Marketplace": Southeastern Nigerian
Women and Discourses of the Ogu Umunwaayi (Women's War) of 1929 Misty Bastian
12.
"Emancipate Your Husbands!": Women and Nationalism in Guinea, 1953-1958 Elizabeth
Schmidt
13. Guerrilla Girls and Women in the Zimbabwean National Liberation Struggle Tanya
Lyons

Afterword Susan Geiger
Contributors
Index

Indiana University Press

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