In 1981 Filomina Chioma Steady boldly proclaimed that black women, particularly those from the African continent, were the original feminists. In her now classic anthology, The Black Woman Cross-Culturally, Steady argued that “true feminism” stemmed from “an actual experience of oppression, a lack of the socially prescribed means of ensuring one’s wellbeing, and a true lack of access to resources for survival” (36). In her mind, feminism was simply a reaction to oppression, one that resulted in “the development of greater resourcefulness for survival and greater self-reliance.” Two years later the budding Sierra Leonean anthropologist delivered a powerful keynote address on African feminism at a research conference at Howard University organized by the Association of Black Women Historians (Terborg-Penn 1996, xix). This lecture...
African Feminisms: Cartographies for the Twenty-First Century
Alicia C. Decker is an associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and African studies at the Pennsylvania State University and codirector of the African Feminist Initiative. She is the author of In Idi Amin’s Shadow: Women, Gender, and Militarism in Uganda (Ohio University Press, 2014) and coauthor with Andrea Arrington of Africanizing Democracies: 1980 to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Gabeba Baderoon is the author of Regarding Muslims: From Slavery to Post-Apartheid and the poetry collections The Dream in the Next Body, A hundred silences, and The History of Intimacy. With Alicia Decker, Baderoon codirects the African Feminist Initiative at the Pennsylvania State University, where she teaches women’s, gender and sexuality studies and African studies.
Alicia C. Decker, Gabeba Baderoon; African Feminisms: Cartographies for the Twenty-First Century. Meridians 1 November 2018; 17 (2): 219–231. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15366936-7176384
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