African Encounters with Domesticity

By Karen Tranberg Hansen | Go to book overview

2 Harem Domesticity in Kano, Nigeria

Beverly B. Mack

It may seem redundant to speak of "harem domesticity." Since the fourteenth century the term "domestic" has referred to the household ( Oxford English Dictionary 1971, 594), while the term "harem" itself (Arabic, harim) describes a part of the household that is both a sanctuary for women and an area that is forbidden to men outside the family. The harem is the heart of the household, its domestic seat and most private area, where the family's women preside. Women generally are restricted to this part of the household, leaving it only on special occasions, and with the consent of their husbands. 1 Thus the domesticity of the harem may be distinguished both from that of the rest of the household and from that of households without harems.

In Muslim northern Nigeria the Hausa tradition of restricting women to the home is known as wife seclusion (H. kulle). Originally a local custom, it is logically connected to Islamic philosophy by virtue of the Muslim woman's religious obligation to act as guardian of the domestic sphere. As a secluded wife she is restricted to the physical space in which activities relevant to her role are carried out. Furthermore, Islam--which is commonly understood to pervade every aspect of a Muslim's daily life--has as a main focus the unity of the family, in which both men and women hold religiously mandated social roles. Thus the importance of the domestic realm is magnified in Muslim households by the family-oriented nature of Islam, and a woman's domestic role is an integral part of the religious philosophy that directs Muslims' lives. This ideological framework is the central influence on the form domesticity takes among the urban Hausa, and must thus be a central consideration in the study of harem domesticity in Kano.

Among the Hausa of Kano, Nigeria, the Emir is the traditional political and religious leader whose behavior is said to exemplify Hausa Muslim ideals; by extension, his wives and concubines are also expected to uphold traditional and religious ideals. This study explains why the royal harem community in Kano may be

-75-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
African Encounters with Domesticity
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 320

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.