African Encounters with Domesticity

By Karen Tranberg Hansen | Go to book overview
with a higher socioeconomic status is respected and gratefully accepted, this is true, because it is assumed to be the responsibility of the more affluent to provide for the less well-off in Hausa society. Ultimately, however, a mother is responsible for the behavior of her own children.
15.
In an interview with one of the Emir's wives ( 2 May 1983), she explained that somewhat less is spent to provide the dowry for foster daughters than for Emir's daughters; it is still, however, a significant amount of money, as is made clear in her itemization of costs in the text here.
16.
Such mutual assistance schemes are common among women and are mentioned in work by Saunders ( 1979) and Simmons ( 1975, 1976).
17.
A case also can be made for the power wielded by royal wives as they influenced the decisions of emirs and other powerful men throughout recent history. For a discussion of this, see Mack 1988, particularly 65-66.
18.
"Female agency . . . [is] not the recounting of great deeds performed by women, but the exposure of the often silent and hidden operations of gender, which are nonetheless present and defining forces of politics and political life" ( Joan Wallach Scott, "Women's History and the Rewriting of History," in The Impact of Feminist Research in the Academy, ed. Christie Farnham , 44-45. [ Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 19871).
19.
Occasionally the royal guards will stroll through the open courtyard area of the harem, chatting with the women there.
20.
"[In male-centered structures of hierarchy and segregation] there is a need to view women (and other subdominant segments) not merely as passive participants, but as vital protagonists interacting with the structures of their domination, necessarily exercising some degree of autonomy, not only in defining and interpreting but in redefining and reinterpreting how the dominant structures define and interpret them" ( Kaveh Safa- Isfahani , "Female Centered World Views in Iranian Culture: Symbolic Representations of Sexuality in Dramatic Games," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, [ 1980] vol. 6, 1: 34).

Bibliography

Abraham, R. C. 1962. A Dictionary of the Hausa Language. London: University of London Press.

Abu-Lughod, Lila. 1985. "A Community of Secrets: The Separate World of Bedouin Women". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 10 (4): 637-657.

Boyd, Jean. 1989. The Caliph's Sister. London: Frank Cass Press.

Coles, Catherine M., and Beverly B. Mack. 1991. Women in Twentieth Century Hausa Society. In Hausa Women in the Twentieth Century, ed. Cather ine M. Coles and Beverly B. Mack, 3-26. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

The Concise Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. 1971. London: Oxford University Press.

-95-

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