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African feminisms

Dosekun, Simidele (2019) African feminisms. In: Yacob-Haliso, Olajumoke and Falola, Toyin, (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of African Women's Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, CH. ISBN 9783319770307

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Identification Number: 10.1007/978-3-319-77030-7_58-1


What does feminism mean and comprise in Africa? Is there a distinctly African variant, and if yes, what makes it so? These questions have been debated vigorously in the last 40 years by African women scholars who variously seek to defend and advance the broad project of feminism in Africa, if not always by this name. The chapter offers a critical review of the different theories and models of “African feminisms” that have been put forward. While there is a consensus that African feminisms must be attuned and responsive to the conditions of African women’s lives, a central point of contention concerns the nature and status therein of “culture” and “tradition” and what some deem essential and irreducible African difference. The chapter argues against even weakly essentialist theoretical accounts of African feminisms, above all because these presume an authentic African female subject of concern and thus exclude others who do not fit the mold. A view of Africa as the contextual rather than essential ground of African feminisms allows instead for the emergence of a feminist politics for all African women in their immense diversity.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author, under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2020 07:21
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 10:14

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