Siria's Reviews > Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: Restoring Women to History

Women in Sub-Saharan Africa by Iris Berger
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Aug 16, 11

bookshelves: african-history, history, nonfiction, womens-history, by-poc
Read from August 14 to 16, 2011

As a brief, introductory overview of the history of African women over a vast period of time—from dynastic Egypt (not really sub-Saharan?) through to the present day—Berger and White do convey a lot of information in a mere 130 pages. This is probably a decent book to give to an undergraduate, to give them a synthesised overview of scholarship about women from Senegal to Tanzania. Yet I found myself disliking their underlying thesis—Berger and White take as a given that the subjugation of women has been almost entirely universal. The authors do acknowledge that location, class and age are influences on the lives of African women as powerful—if not more so, in certain circumstances—than gender, yet still seem to set out to find systems of women's oppression in the African past rather than evaluate the evidence on its own terms. More recent scholarship (this was first written in the late 80s) has done much to complicate this position.
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