Siria's Reviews > Women in African Colonial Histories

Women in African Colonial Histories by Jean Allman
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Jul 09, 11

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bookshelves: african-history, history, essays, nonfiction, womens-history
Read from July 07 to 09, 2011

This collection of thirteen articles discusses some of the experiences of women in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa in colonial contexts. The editors state that the intention of the book is to refute both a simple resistance-collaboration dichotomy and colonial stereotypes of African women, while recognising that there were historical developments in pre- and colonial Africa which occurred independently of European actions—that African were themselves historical actors. Gender dynamics, particularly those relating to marriage, are very prominent throughout the volume—though it would have been nice to see some treatment of single or widowed women in the essays also; not all women were wives, after all, or at least not continuously—and the authors are often at pains to explain how gender categories in the various African societies discussed do not align neatly with Western norms. It would have been nice to see that taken further in the book with perhaps more of a focus on the nature of women's work, to join the focus on marriage and politics.
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