Synopses & Reviews
Readings in Gender in Africa collects the most important critical and theoretical writings on how gender issues have transformed contemporary views of Africa. Scholarship from North America, Europe, and Africa is represented in this comprehensive volume. A synthetic introduction by Andrea Cornwall discusses efforts to include women in research about Africa. The volume not only shows how gender relations have been constructed on the African continent but reflects the changes in approach and inquiry that have been brought about as scholars consider gender identities and difference in their work. Specific themes covered here include the contestation and representation of gender, femininity and masculinity, livelihoods and lifeways, gender and religion, gender and culture, and gender and governance. Readers from across the landscape of African studies will find this an essential sourcebook.
Published in association with the International African Institute, London
"The audience for this kind of insight is much broader than the gender studies students. For a start, many world leaders would benefit from hearing that last sentence. Could someone whisper it into their collective ears as they sleep, please? Something like this has the ability to present a world picture that is multi--faceted, politicised, and useful in de--stabilising conceptions of how culture is created and how it is used. And importantly today, why it is created, why it is used. (It could give gender theory a good name too, as its broader applicability is finally understood.) The thing is, the title Readings in Gender in Africa is misleading to anyone who hasn't had it ingrained during undergraduate that gender is everything, and Africa is a construct, and that both words signify the opposite to what the 'non--specialist' (and completely alienated) would imagine them to mean. The very selective sounding phrase really stands for the most general cultur" --based analysis of society possible, covering multiple eras, languages, contexts and time zones. Indiana University Press
"[Victoria Bernal's essay] claims that for Sudanese and for many other third--world Muslims, Saudi Arabia (and to a lesser extent the other wealthy Gulf states) are sources of ideological and cultural influence as well as centres of economic and political power.. since the oil--boom of the 1970s, many Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf for other than religious reasons--they go as migrant workers. In some ways the incorporation of poorer Muslim populations into the Wester" --dominated capitalist world system is mediated through this regional power centre. In this context, the Islamic revival is not a return to tradition nor simply a rejection of the West. For many Muslims like those I knew in Wad al Abbas, it is a vision of prosperity and civilization more compatible with their own... culture than anything the West can offer. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism is not a reaction against change, but change itself."
"... much appreciated by those who are teaching on gender in Africa as well as by anyone who wants a thorough introduction into the field of African gender studies." --Net Indiana University Press
About the Author
Andrea Cornwall is a Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK.
Table of Contents
Part 1. Contested Representations: "Gender" in Africa
Part 2. Reconfiguring Identities: Femininities and Masculinities in Africa
Part 3. Livelihoods and Lifeways
Part 4. Transforming Traditions: Gender, Religion, and "Culture"
Part 5. Gender and Governance