Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Readings in Gender in Africa

Academic journal article The International Journal of African Historical Studies

Readings in Gender in Africa

Article excerpt

Readings in Gender in Africa. Edited by Andrea Cornwall. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, and Oxford, U.K.: International African Institute, in association with James Currey, 2005. Pp. viii, 247. $60.00 cloth, $24.95 paper.

The latest in a series of readers designed for classroom use, this volume brings together twenty-eight articles addressing a range of issues related to gender in sub-Saharan Africa.1 Andrea Cornwall begins with a useful historiographical overview, after which the articles are organized into broad themes of representation, identities (including most of the entries on masculinity), livelihoods, religion, and governance. While it is not possible to discuss each contribution, they range from somewhat older classics such as Bolanle Awe's 1977 article on the Iyalode in Yoruba political culture and Janet Bujra on women entrepreneurs in early Nairobi (first published in 1975) to more recent important articles including Kenda Mutongi's "Worries of the Heart: Widowed Mothers, Daughters and Masculinities" in Kenya (1999) and Anne Marie Goetz's 2002 discussion on women and politics in Uganda, "No Shortcuts to Power." Though not clearly indicated, three apparently are published for the first time in this collection: David Mills and Richard Ssewarkiryanga on relations among students in Kampala, Lisa Lindsay on Nigerian railwaymen, and Stephen Miescher on Presbyterian masculinities in colonial Ghana.

The selection includes all regions of the continent, but is most heavily illustrative of English-speaking Africa, with multiple articles on Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. There are only two whole contributions on French-speaking areas (Nancy Rose Hunt on Belgian Africa and Barbara Cooper on Niger) and none on the Lusophone countries (a gap acknowledged by Cornwall in her introduction). …

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