Participants and Abstracts of the Second International Conference
of the Trans-Atlantic Research Group

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Douglas B. Chambers
History Department
University of Southern Mississippi

Igbo Women in the Early Modern Atlantic World: The Burden of Beauty.

Throughout the Atlantic world Igbo Africans had a reputation as ‘bad’ slaves. Stereotyped as lazy and despondent, ornery and obstreperous, tending to bolt (and even commit suicide) rather than to revolt outright, Igbo resisted slavery in ways that confounded their masters. As a German traveler to Bonny on the Calabar coast in 1840 learned, even after generations of slaving the Ibani still spoke of Igbo “as they would speak of sharks, ‘Iboman wawa too much’, ‘Ibo people are very wicked’.” In other parts of the Atlantic littoral, like the Carolina lowcountry in the 1770s, other Africans berated Igbo as rogues, perhaps in an early form of verbal jousting not unlike ‘the dozens’. As a visitor to a late-colonial South Carolina rice plantation in the 1770s noted, slaves there would lambaste each others’ African nationalities, especially ‘Gulli’ (Gullah, i.e., Ngola) and ‘Iba’ (Igbo) slaves. Barclay wrote that, “The one will say to the other, ‘You be Gulli Niga, what be the use of you, you be good for nothing’. The other will reply, ‘You be Iba Niga; Iba Niga great ‘askal [rascal]’.” Ironically, however, Igbo women had a surprisingly ‘good’ reputation. They were generally thought to be hard workers, industrious and diligent. And most significantly, Igbo women were the only Atlantic Africans whom white men generally saw as beautiful. In 1788 a major Bristol merchant trading to the West Indies wrote that, unlike females from the Gold Coast, “Eboe Women (from Bonny & New Calabar) are very fine and may be had.” As Captain Hugh Crow, who traded extensively at Bonny from 1791 to 1808 wrote of enslaved Igbo at the coast, “many of their women are of remarkably symmetrical shape, and if white, would in Europe be deemed beautiful.” A generation later (ca.1830), the Lander brothers, having come down the Niger from the north via Nupe, noted (and presumably in contrast to other Africans) that in riverain Igboland “the women are generally pretty.” A late-antebellum American (USA) evocation of this trope of the ‘very fine’ Igbo woman, a fictional “beautiful Eboe mulattress,” exists even in the novels of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Within this white male gaze, this burden of beauty, enslaved Igbo women and their immediate descendants resisted slavery in distinctive ways. As with Igbo in general one could enslave the bodies of Biafran women, but not their minds. And in the Black Atlantic, it seems that enslaved Igbo women used their own bodies at times as sites of resistance. This paper will explore a central ‘burden’ of Igbo female beauty; strategic reproduction.

G. Ugo Nwokeji,
Department of African American Studies, University of California at Berkley

"Slaving and Overlapping Transitions in the Bight of Biafra during the Nineteenth Century."

Michael Ralph,
Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago,

“Slavery’s “Return” The Political Economy of Senegalese Soccer”

As part of security measures taken for George W. Bush’s 2003 visit to Gorée Island residents were, according to those interviewed, taken to a soccer stadium and locked inside. In their words, “Da fa mélni Diaam mo gna watt”: “It was like slavery had returned.” How is one to understand this discourse of slavery emerging more than 150 years since it was outlawed in French territories? And why is this narrative aimed at the United States, when President Abdoulaye Wade has done so much to cultivate amiable relations with this superpower nation? In the aftermath of 9/11, George W. Bush praised Senegal for being among the most democratic of the world’s Islamic nations. Why, then, this coercive treatment—or at least the impression of it—from the standpoint of Goréeans? And why was a soccer field chosen to be the stage for this political spectacle? As this article reveals, in fact, Senegal’s effort to promote itself as an anti-terrorist Islamic nation while aggressively pursuing privatization is linked to the way soccer is promoted internally, for the purposes of national cohesion, and externally, as evidence of Senegalese potential. Both developments spring from the most dominant feature of the nation’s post-Independence “crise economique”: a labor shortage that has encouraged the state to pursue foreign direct investment as the most feasible way to bolster revenue while youth engage sport as the best way to escape career unemployment. By drawing from discourses surrounding Senegal’s participation in the 2002 World Cup, I show how that attitude guiding that endeavor parallels the political strategies developed by a government concerned with maintaining a particular public image of itself as “democratic” in order to guarantee investments from more powerful nations interested in the country’s cultural resources.

Dr. Mikhail Vishnevskiy
Institute for African Studies


The African-Americans constitute the third sizable ethnic group in the US after Anglo-Saxes and Latinos. Nowadays its amount is more than 36 million people that cannot be but kept in the minds of the United States policy-makers when they plan official attitudes toward the African states – the “Ancestors Motherland” for modern African-Americans. During the Civil War in the US two trends started to emerge in the Blacks’ movement – conciliating and radical. The conciliating trend (in the end of the XIX C. its most impressive representative has been Mr. Booker Washington) suggested that the Whites should be leaders in the world processes and the Blacks should be their subordinates – their role was to help the Whites to realize their historic mission. The forefather of the radical trend among the African-Americans can be truly considered Mr. Frederick Douglas. During the Civil War he became famous with his appeals to the armed struggle with the slave owners and all those who sympathized them. On possibilities of the modern African-American community we can judge by the simple fact that by 1997 in the US there were 270 companies and businesses (each with a capital fund of more than 10 million USD) owned by the Black skinned individuals; 60,000 people worked at these enterprises and their market value was about 14 billion USD. In 2003 the African-Americans had an aggregated income of close to 700 billion USD annually. In a few years it is expected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 850 billion USD. In 2003 there were nearly 9,000 African-Americans elected officials throughout the US. Now there are some influential African-American figures who enjoy their talents for the sake of both the U.S. policy toward Africa and Community. Among them first of all is Mr. Jessie Jackson, PUSH. In their struggle for equality with the Whites the African-American politicians are looking for a political support in Africa. Among many African-Americans there is a wide-spread opinion that the Africans have not any historical past and all their culture is closely connected with the European civilization. Moreover, because “technologically” the US has gone far ahead of the African states the black-skinned Americans’ mission should be to “lead” the African peoples. The strategic plan of the African-Americans is to form a kind of global unity of the African-American community, African Diaspora in Latin America and African states. It is very early to say in what forms it would be done. But the general idea is clear – it should be done under the guidance of the U.S. African-American community. At the same time it seems that this wide-scale mission cannot be realized without a support of one of the major U.S. political groupings – Republican or Democratic Parties. It was not coincidental that at the 2004 Democratic National Convention it was created the African-American Leadership Council (AALC) as a “part of a comprehensive effort to recognize the loyalty, great dedication and vast contributions of the African-American community to the Democratic Party”. The Republicans also saw an importance of African-Americans. Particularly, in 2001 President George W. Bush has appointed two of them: Mr. Colin Powell as Secretary of State and Miss Condolizza Rice as National Security Advisor. In 2005 he appointed Miss Rice as Secretary of State.

Jerome Teelucksingh
Lange Park, Chaguanas, Trinidad, West Indies

“Unmasking the Macho Male: Masculinity and the U.S. Media in the Caribbean”

This proposed essay will examine the influence of the US media on the Caribbean male. In recent times, one of the many social problems facing men in the region is the state of masculinity among our boys and men. They are usually the culprits in such social ills as road accidents, drug trafficking, incest, common-law unions, extra marital relationships, single-parent families, divorces, HIV/AIDS, kidnappings, suicides, homicides, rapes, alcoholism, vagrancy and domestic violence. Headlines in the daily newspapers provide ample proof that males are guilty of being involved in criminal acts and posing a burden to the Caribbean. This is a result of improper socialization of the Caribbean male who is heavily influenced by the movies of US cable networks and cinema. Women and children are the innocent victims of the irresponsible, aggressive, abusive and uncaring males. One of the themes to be explored in my paper is-- the men who are the perpetrators of this crime, are they influenced by the images and shows of the US media. Is the macho Caribbean male image responsible for these anti-social actions? Emphasis on proper role models which reflect the multicultural Caribbean society is badly needed and only when this is achieved can we expect to achieve a more peaceful society with fewer acts of crime, racial harmony, stable families and gender equality. The paper will also consider the reasons for the dominance of the heterosexual Afro-Caribbean male and the apparent insubordination of the gay Caribbean male in the Caribbean’s men movement. The heterosexual Caribbean male not only tends to dominate the men’s movement in the Caribbean but also conceptualizes this role of the macho male. They have taken the initiative and are involved in men’s organizations, workshops, seminars and debates on male-related topics such as suicides, poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, crime and health. Indeed, the voice of the Caribbean men’s movement has a Black voice which tends to inadvertently isolate other minority groups as the Indians, Syrians, Chinese, Portuguese and Whites.

Walter Emerole
Department of History and International Studies,
Imo State University

Gender empowerment and social consciousness - a case study of the Igbo in Eastern Nigeria.

This paper seeks to properly inform and educate my audience on the socio–economic cum political status of pre-colonial Igbo women, as well as their contributions to the economic development of pre-colonial Igbo society. This paper will also evaluate the various efforts made by the Igbo woman to liberate themselves from decades of social, economic, political and intellectual constraints in the post colonial period. Further, effort will be made to evaluate the contemporary place of Igbo woman in terms of economic contributions, intellectual liberation and political achievements. To conclude this chapter, attempts will be made to assess the extent the socio political cum economic conditions of Igbo society have aided the Igbo woman in her moves to achieve political and economic relevance in Igbo society. Finally at the end of this exercise, one will have stimulated proper appreciation of the abilities and capabilities of Igbo woman in nation building.

Waibinte Elekima Wariboko,
Dept. of History and Archaeology,
The University of the West Indies, Mona – Jamaica.

The Pongas Mission and its Impact on Black Personhood: a neglected theme in the Caribbean-African connection, 1855-1952

The desire by European and American missionary organizations to utilize Christianized persons of African descent in the Caribbean for the evangelization of their ancestral homeland predated the formal ending of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery in the New World. These two points, among others, explain the desire to evangelize Africa through its sons and daughters in the emergent New World diaspora. Considering West Africa as the “white man’s grave” in the nineteenth century, European missionary bodies engaged persons of African descent to evangelize their ancestral homeland on the reasoning that they would be more resistant to the abiding health hazards and ailments of the West African environment. Secondly, because of the presumed racial affinity between blacks on both sides of the Atlantic, including the ideological desire of those in the African diaspora to reconnect with the ancestral homeland, missionary bodies readily perceived Christianized Caribbean blacks as the best suited persons to assist Europeans in the evangelization of West Africa. Studies abound on European and American initiatives to evangelize Africa through its sons and daughters in the New World, but the Caribbean Rio Pongas Mission has received very little attention especially from African historians. Also known and called “The Mission from the sons and daughters of Africa in the West Indies to Africa”, the Pongas Mission was a Caribbean initiative that was designed and funded almost entirely by the Anglican Communions in Antigua, Barbados and Jamaica to “civilize” the “benighted” peoples of Conakry, Dominga, Fallangia, Farringia, Isles de Los and Dubrica – all in present day Guinea-Conakry, West Africa - through the propagation of Christianity and European secular values between 1855 and 1952. The prime movers of this programme, informed and motivated by the notion of race pride and belonging, argued that the redemption of Africa from its spiritual and socio-cultural degradation cannot be left to European humanitarian and missionary organizations alone; it is, they further argued, a moral and political responsibility of the black populations in the New World diaspora to rescue the ancestral homeland. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the aims and activities of the Pongas Mission, including the social and cultural impact of its activities on the black personhood.

Timothy Mark Mechlinski
University of California, Santa Barbara
Department of Sociology

Making it Across the Border: The Social Interaction of Internal and International Mobility Control in West Africa in Comparative Perspective

Migration is undoubtedly central to the economies and histories of many nations. It is a much theorized and studied topic across various disciplines and is often a site of contention for policy-makers and lay-people of both sending and receiving zones. My research aims to expand the body of knowledge surrounding one particularly important regional migration system: the flux of people from landlocked Mali and Burkina Faso to their coastal neighbors, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.

There has been inadequate new systematic data collection on this particular migration system since the 1970s and what data has been collected since then has yet to be published. Since the 1970s, when research on this migration system was rapidly developing, the four nations concerned have undergone important political, economic, and social changes. These changes have affected patterns of migration between these countries, the contexts of reception in which migrants find themselves, transportation structures, and internal and international mobility control policies.

Writing with and against this literature, I recreate experiences of border crossing based on interviews and focus groups conducted with individuals and families. I present a thematic analysis of the interpersonal relationships and structural forces that influence and constrain migrants’ experiences during their migrations and the changes in these experiences over the last several decades. Throughout the analysis, I pay particular attention to the ways in which gender and generation, in terms of age, as well as migrant generation in Côte d'Ivoire, affect individuals’ and groups’ experiences of migration. Finally, I critically interrogate the use of the household as a unit of analysis in migration studies based on the experiences of Burkinabe who have migrated to and from Côte d'Ivoire and on those of their relatives, opting instead for an expanded understanding of migrant networks, adapted from the North American model.

Panel: Crossing Over with Beads Asunder: Women, The Transatlantic Slave Trade, Social and Cultural Transformations

Joseph Miller,
Professor of History, University of Virginia/ Virginia Foundation of the Humanities

Akuma-Kalu J. Njoku
Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology
Western Kentucky University

Transformations in Gender and Class System Resulting from Atlantic Trades and Colonialism in the Bight of Biafra

This paper discusses the contributions of the Atlantic trades and colonialism to transformations in marriage, gender and class in hinterland of the Bight of Biafra. The author draws attention to how the Atlantic trades in slaves and material goods together with colonialism brought about significant social changes especially in marriage, gender, and class system. Before and after the colonial period, adult females played and continue to play important roles in the reproduction and production at the family, community, and regional levels. Women bore the children that with them provided most of the stoop labor that produced the wealth, yam, and other staples upon which social status depended. During the Atlantic slave trade when more and more men were required as headhunters, slave raiders, escorts, and porters, the brunt of reproduction and food production rested mainly upon the women. In order to replenish the decreasing number of men in the labor force and meet the demands for food to feed the communities and sustain the regional slave trade, men began to marry more and more wives whose children (umu-afo) would enlarge their labor force. Men also began to get additional labor by owning slaves (ohu), using cult servants (ndi osu), getting house servants or attendants (umu-mbina), and paid laborers (ndi ozi-ego). Eventually, the establishment of farm villages for food production centers to support the slave trade and cash-crop plantations for the production of export goods, mission schools for training clerical staff for colonial administration, teachers for schools, and religious personnel for the churches complicated the dynamics of marriage, gender, and class system leading to rapid social transformations, differentiations, and stratifications in the Bight of Biafra.

Patricia E. Clark
English Department
State University of New York at Oswego

Cookbooks, Cuisine, Nationalisms: A Comparative Study of National Cuisine, Nation-Building and Gender Formation in Africa and in the United States (Black Nationalism 1960s-70s)

This paper looks at the collation of national cuisines in African cookbooks and how the creation of national cuisines help define, serve as models for and reinforce ties to specific regions in sub-Saharan African for black nationalists of the 1960s and 70s in their creation of a black nation within the United States. The study will consider the work of Igor Cusack, Arjun Appadurai, Steven Mennell, Diane Spivey, Luce Giard and others in examining the impact and effects of the creation of a national cuisine and nation-building through the publication and promotion of cookbooks in Nigeria, Ghana, and other West African nations on the creation of “soul food” in the United States (Amiri Baraka, Verta Mae Grosvenor), promotion of vegetarianism (Dick Gregory, Nation of Islam), and other cuisines and diets that helped define black nationalism at the intersection of gender formation in the United States in the 1960s and 70s.

Kathleen Phillips Lewis
Associate Professor of History and African Diaspora Studies
Spelman College, Atlanta, GA or

“ ‘They Brought their Gods on Board with them:’ West African Goddesses, Gender, Social and Cultural Transformations in the Caribbean”

This paper continues an exploration of Afro-Caribbean women’s ways of knowing, doing and seeing in response to enslavement, forced dislocation and transplantation, and prolonged subordination. One of the ways enslaved women used to help them cope with the trauma of the Middle Passage, enslavement in general, and continue to use to negotiate life in the Caribbean setting is the reinterpretation of deities – goddesses that become icons, role models, protectors, intercessors and sustainers in times of trouble, symbols of hope. In African- Caribbean religions West African goddesses reappear in transformed manifestation, serving purposes tweaked to suit their new environment and life realities: Erzulie, La Siren, Yemanya, and Oya, Oba, Oschun all have assumed different significance and vary according to locale. The cult of the black virgin or madonna that appears throughout the Caribbean is another example of such reinterpretation: La Divina Pastora, La Virgen de la Caridad are just two examples. Water Goddesses, above all else, have survived the Atlantic Passage and have been reconfigured and reinterpreted to lend special relevance in function to their manifestation in each specific region of the African Diaspora in the Americas. With special reference to the Caribbean, this study analyzes the African roots and Atlantic Diasporic dimensions, and dynamics of transformed West African goddesses. This paper examines the nature of the transformation and reinterpretations, their function across the Caribbean and the reasons and significance of intra-Caribbean/intra-Diasporic variations. It argues that such reinterpretations lie at the heart of the ‘Miss Nansi’ poetics of African-Caribbean woman’s existence. It argues further that the nature of their variations across the region mirrors the process of identity development in the diaspora and the process of creolization and the development of locale specific New World identities within the Black Atlantic.

Kelly Hayes
Department of Religious Studies
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Gender, Class and Social Transformation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The Case of Pomba Gira Spirit Possession

This paper discusses issues of gender, class and social transformation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by examining beliefs and practices connected with the popular Afro-Brazilian spirit entity known as Pomba Gira. Of the many inhabitants of the Afro-Brazilian spirit world, Pomba Gira is perhaps one of the most notorious and beloved. The small temples in which one or more of her various incarnations—Queen of the Cemetery, Lady of the Crossroads, Mistress of the Night—are venerated may be found throughout the city of Rio de Janeiro, but most especially in the crowded neighborhoods that throng the urban periphery. Most often represented as a bawdy she-demon, the figure of Pomba Gira embodies dominant notions of femininity and female sexuality as both alluring and dangerous. These characteristics are central elements in the stories and songs that compose her mythological corpus, in which Pomba Gira emerges as a Brazilian version of the vamp: a sexy, yet dangerous enchantress whose behavior contravenes all norms of proper feminine comportment. For example, in both story and song, Pomba Gira is often linked with the cabaret, the real-life locale where ladies of the night plied their trade in urban centers such as Rio de Janeiro. Yet unlike the prostitute, Pomba Gira is a figure who is highly revered and religiously powerful. Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of Pomba Gira’s devotees are not prostitutes but working class housewives and mothers. These women claim to “work” with Pomba Gira spirits, who are believed to be effective in resolving romantic troubles. In fact, the complex affairs of the heart represent Pomba Gira’s characteristic field of action. Many women who claim to receive Pomba Gira in possession trance have been able to achieve a measure of economic independence from this work, offering a range of spiritual and healing services to clients from divination consultations to spiritual purifications to large-scale ritual works known as trabalhos. As this suggests, issues of gender and class are central to the phenomenon of Pomba Gira spirit possession. Historically speaking, this figure seems to have emerged in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the first half of the 20th century among working-class inhabitants of the urban periphery. This was a time when rural Brazilians were immigrating to urban centers like Rio in search of jobs and a new way of life—a time of great fluidity geographically, but also socially. By examining beliefs and practices related to Pomba Gira, we gain new insight into issues of gender, class and social transformation in 20th century Rio de Janeiro.

Felix Ekechi
Professor emeritus, Kent State University.

The Political Bungle (Crisis) in Owerri Division Election in Post-Independence Nigeria

This paper focuses on the political contest between the NCNC forces and their antagonists, namely expelled members of the party during the Regional elections of 1961. The central focus is on the political contest between Rev. M. D. Opara of Mbieri and Barrister Ubochi Osuji of Ogwa, both from the Mbaitoli constituency. Though the contest was essentially local, it nevertheless reverberated throughout the Region, and thus attracted the attention of the NCNC hierarchy (including Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik). The paper, therefore, explores the nature of the election debate (crisis), the intricacies of party nominations and voting patterns, and the ultimate aftermath of the crisis within the NCNC in the Owerri Division.

Audra Diptee
Department of History, Carleton University

“Ideas of Childhood: Enslaved Children in Jamaica, 1776-1838”

This paper contextualizes the history of the enslaved children of Jamaica in a framework which recognizes that they were part of a larger socio-economic system that had a long history of using child labor both in Britain and in West and West Central Africa. It explores how British and African notions of childhood operated in Jamaican slave society. As this paper will highlight, there were a number of competing notions about childhood and child labour circulating in Jamaica during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. An historical exploration that looks at the history of enslaved children in a wider Atlantic framework, will better situate the history of enslaved children into the narrative of children’s history.

Sybil Nmezi
Postal address: P.O. Box 2877 Owerri, Imo State. Nigeria

“Transformation of Gender Roles in Igbo Society.”

Every society accepts transformation. Transformation means positive change to new values and direction. Studies have recognised that transformation process should be people centered. Consequently, gender is a social construct that defines sexual roles and the kind of relationships created by the society.Therefore the purpose of this study is to provide a gender perspective to transformational process. Specifically this study will: Examine the effects of patriarchal system of governance on sexual roles in Imo State.; Examine the processes of development and it’s effect on gender roles in society; Highlight the key levels of women’s rights and interests in the areas of protection, development participial and survival and how the gender inequalities have been made manifest in them; Determine if the mobilization, enlightenment and women empowerment programmes by Non Governmental Organizations and the government have exposed women to their rights and interests as demanded by the changing environment.; Identify the formidable obstacles to achieving equality of sexual roles in the society.

To achieve positive goals, objectives and values demanded by the development in the present day democratic society in Imo State, findings will be made on gender roles using the following strategies-; Reviewing works on gender issues; Interviewing selected sexes in urban and local areas to find out if transformation process have had a profound effect on gender roles; Interviewing sampled socialization agent personnels to find out if they can be utilized to establish positive cultural values that will help elevate the standard and status of women.

A total number of six hundred respondents (300 females, 300 males) will participate in the investigation. They will be further stratifies into young and adult females and males. Responses will be presented in table and analyzed to make decisions.
Consequently, recommendations will be made on how to institutionalize into reality positive changes concerning gender roles.

Aisha Fofana Ibrahim
Department of English.
Illinois State University

Gender Transformations in War and Peace

Poststructural feminists have illuminated the fluid nature of self and identity by pointing out that these formations are highly dependent on the location of the individual. This fluidity is particularly apparent in situations of war where gender roles tend to change and actors of war often assume different gendered roles. The Sierra Leonean war, where many boys and men were feminized and a considerable amount of women masculinized, is a case in point. It is commonplace that during and after wars or violent conflicts, lives change for people, whether male or female, and that often times these changes lead to opportunities in which women are able to occupy public spaces. While some women do move from private to public spaces, or are able to carve out new spaces to deal with their new realities, it is also true that such access is dependent on how these women are positioned in their society. Access for many women is often based on educational status, language, class, ethnicity, race, sexuality, etc. As such, the focus of this paper is to interrogate historically gendered spaces in Sierra Leonean society and see if and how these spaces were transgressed during the Sierra Leone civil war. Furthermore, it will examine whether and how these transgressions of gender and gendered spaces are manifested in postwar Sierra Leone.

Raphel Chijioke Njoku
Departments of History, and Pan-African Studies
University of Louisville, KY 40292

Ideas Held by African Women on Globalization: A Historiographical Surve

This paper will explore the meaning of the increasing global contacts between different cultures for African women. The central question to address is to examine the ways African women perceive the emerging trends, their concerns and expectations. Contrary to what some social scientists often imply, globalization is not entirely a new phenomenon. Globalization has been a force to reckon since the fifteenth-century Age of the Vasco Da Gama and Christopher Columbus when the Europeans opened a new chapter on the “voyages of discovery.” However, the more recent advances in science and technology have radically transformed the way the various regions of the world now relate to one another. I will closely examine African women’s perception of the expanding global contacts in a historical perspective. The study draws from other works that provide ideas about African women’s expectations and disappointments and what they think should be their role in the emergent order.

Lekan Badru
Department of Political Science
University of Louisville, KY 40292

Globalization and Gender Politics in Nigeria since the Second Republic.

In the past five decades, the paradigmatic scope of globalization has continued to grow rapidly and significantly in the study of politics. It is also increasingly becoming the dominant paradigm in gender studies. This essay will examine the influence of globalization on the status of Women in Nigeria since the 1980s and how it has transformed the institutions of politics, economics and culture. The focus of this work is to explore how the forces of globalization have changed the way we think about women by exploring their impact on Nigerian politics. This study will demonstrate that the various military regimes in the past ultimately gave women the opportunity to get involved in the domestic affairs of the country than their civilian counterparts. Therefore, this essay will conduct a comparative study of the military and civilian administrations and their attitude towards women in politics through power relations that existed in the social structures. It will examine the present positions of women and their empowerment in the Nigerian civil society. This essay will also focus on the influence of women in politics through participation in political parties and other civic organizations. In conclusion, questions will be raised as to what role Nigerian women should play in the forthcoming election of 2007.

Henrietta Jenkins
Department of Political Science
University of Louisville, KY 40292

Christianity and Indigenous Culture: A Comparative study of African Theology and Black Theology

The total African reality includes the ongoing changes in the indigenous culture. African Theology has evolved over time to be closely linked with the local culture through which the Christian faith is given a distinct African expression. Black theology, as encountered in the United States, focuses mainly on politics and the issues of race and color. In a comparative perspective, this paper will compare and contrast African and Black adaptations of Christianity and the forces driving their various unique but similar directions. The comparative approach draws ideas from the Bible and how these are related to African culture and vice versa. It examines the points of Christ and his teachings (the gospel), from an African perspective, assessing how it fits into the African conception of the universe. My thesis is that Christianity has been adapted, as evident in African and Christian theologies, in response to both cultural and sociopolitical realities that emerged with European encounter with of the people of African descent. Some of the major driving forces behind the African adaptations include reactions to European racism, African nationalism, and resistance to Apartheid as demonstrated by the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa

Juliet Newell
Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Right of Passage and Female Identity in Africa and the African Diaspora

The process of becoming a woman and the definition of womanhood are things that are specific to each culture. This ceremonious event, which marks ones first step up the social ladder, is very important because it helps to teach children how to be productive adults within their society. It is essential in helping to preserve the character of the community because individuals are trained to value certain traits over others. When one goes through the rites of passage, the individual is forced to endure certain situations that draw out specific qualities such as good decision making, honesty, knowledge of self, and love for community. All of these virtues will help the woman, and the idea of womanhood, to be sustained, preserved, and supported making the identity of the woman distinct to her culture. When a culture lacks a distinct form of passage that signifies the ascension from the status of child to adult, the culture and overall society suffers because they are not taught how to become productive within their own culture as individuals or amongst each other as a whole. In the case of African Americans, because there is no distinct event or ceremony that recognizes new adults, or trains the young girls how to be African American women, the young girls are totally dependent on the dominant Euro-American culture to signify to them that they are women. I plan to compare and contrast the rites of passage in the cultures of women of the Igbo of Nigeria, the Zulu of South Africa, and the African American in the United States. The objective is to explore the continuity and change in the ideas of womanhood within three African cultures and the overall effects that the process has on the young girl’s identity.

Ogechi E. Anyanwu
Bowling Green State University,
Bowling Green, Ohio 43403-0220.

Gender, Crime, and Punishment under the Sharia Law in Nigeria

Nowhere, in recent times, has the question of the Islamic Law of Sharia produced such a crescendo of concern, posed such as challenge to the prevailing justice system, as in Nigeria. In ‘modern’ societies, the criminal justice system not only produces social solidarity by reaffirming the society's bond and its adherence to certain norms, but also serves to legitimize the political authority of the state. In the postcolonial pluralistic society of Nigeria, the criminal justice system has been fundamentally influenced by the ascendancy of Western penology. During the era of European colonization of Africa, existing systems of justice were suppressed; in Nigeria’s case, by the British imperial power. Predictably, the British system of justice clashed with the indigenous systems. Nowhere is this historical conflict more manifest than in the ongoing challenge Sharia has posed to the Nigerian state. Sharia was an incendiary issue during the colonial period in Nigeria, and has continued to challenge the classic view of the modern state ever since. This challenge has reshaped Nigeria’s postcolonial criminal justice system. Here gender, religion, and politics intersect, shedding light on the arrival, reactions and crises of modernity, themes that run through the Sharia controversy like interwoven threads.This work considers the driving forces and gender implications behind the demand for the expansion of Sharia law into the criminal justice system of Northern Region since the colonial period, and the eventual success in 1999. Taking a functionalist approach and analyzing the human right, constitutional and religious elements surrounding Sharia debate, this paper holds that Sharia Law was essentially a product of the struggle by Muslims to adopt an alternative justice system based on shared religious beliefs, values and sentiments, which was intended to reaffirm as well as create the collective conscience that has held, and will hold, Muslims together. Above all, the eventual adoption of Sharia by the twelve states in Northern Nigeria was essentially the result of Muslims’ struggle since 1900 to reject the imposed British colonial justice system which was upheld by successive post-colonial Nigerian governments.

Devon Raneé Turner
New York University
Department of History
Hunter College, New York

“Except as a punishment for crime…”: Revisiting the Legacy of the 13th Amendment

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment
for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist
within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

—13th Amendment, U.S. Constitution (1865)

At a critical juncture in American history—the era of slave emancipation—United States national and state governments maintained the institution of slavery through the 13th Amendment and prisons. Contradictory, is it not? The “unfreedoms” of the antebellum period were thus transferred to former slaves who comprised the majority of southern prisoners after the Civil War. In particular, Black women oftentimes found themselves in postbellum jails and prisons. Black women, because of their race, gender, and class, have consistently been denied the rights and privileges afforded American citizens. Incarceration further limits Black women’s ability to partake of these rights and privileges. This paper argues that the incarceration of southern Black women from 1865 to the present was grounded in the following: the paternal language of the antebellum period, stereotypical beliefs in Black criminality, and the impoverished conditions experienced by Black women. Black women in prison continue to experience political and social deaths as they are made invisible because of their physical isolation and are largely stripped of their rights as both humans and citizens simply because of their imprisonment. True democracy in America has therefore been compromised, and not only because of disproportionate participation in government, but because the language of the constitution (particularly the 13th Amendment) views portions of the American population as outside of its citizen base. The incarceration of women of African descent and their treatment while in prison are in part reflections of how they have been viewed, or not viewed, as American citizens. Changing the language of the 13th Amendment could very well help to alleviate, although not completely eradicate, some of the problems faced by Black women in prison today. Other solutions revolve around our understanding of true democracy and the limitations of capitalism.

Obiwu Iwuanyanwu
Director, Writing Center
Central State University
Wilberforce, OH 45385

Nadine Gordimer’s Biafra

A Sport of Nature (1987) is Nadine Gordimer’s most voluminous, most complex, and most politically ambitious novel. It is a fictional juxtaposition of the national conflict of Ethiopia under Haile Sallasie and the Biafran Revolution under Chukwuemeka Ojukwu. The female protagonist is characterized in the Lacanian-Irigarayan schema as a wandering phallus. There is no mistaking the familiar profiles of Sallasie and Ojukwu, not so much in the contradictions of their Marxist-Patriarchalist beards or in the (mis)recognition of their imposing military presence but rather in the intimate socio-cultural drama from which they both emerge as historical personages. The narrative problematizes the subject of the Jew, the Igbo, and the woman in their archetypal figuration as the global alien, exile, and migrant. This paper interpolates the representation of a South African white-Jewish female activist as the political alter-ego of a Nigerian-Biafran black-Igbo male militant in an African postcolonial conflict. Question is raised as to the metonymic space of the Igbo and the Jew in the universal unconscious of contemporary society. When, how, and why does a white-Jewish female become an agency of hybridity to transmogrify from “Kim” to “Hillela” to “Chiemeka” in the tumultuous life-span of a single novel?

Beatrix Schwarzer
Institut für Politikwissenschaften
Robert-Mayer-Straße 5
D - 60054 Frankfurt am Main

Discourses on Race and Gender in South African Transition Process: A challenging liaison

Analysis of changes and challenges of interwoven discourses on race and gender in South African political landscape especially on the level of feminist movements and state anti-discrimination politics. The breathtaking and worldwide recognised transition from apartheid to democracy, the strong participation of women, and wide institutional changes will be the frame for a critical analysis of the development for equality based on interwoven differences. During the South African transition process one leading discourse is the demand for equal citizenship rights and the restructuring of the state. Issues of social division and differences and the debate about perspectives to generate solutions were and are important in South Africa’s political landscape. In my presentation I’ll focus on the relationship of two special discourses in the area of anti-discrimination: the discourses about race and gender. This two main political discourses are in my view not independent. Specially in South Africa’s historical context political movements with relation to race and/or gender were interwoven. The anti-apartheid movement was in my opinion crucial for organising women around racial discrimination as well as creating the space to talk about gender discrimination in and outside the movement. Also the race issue is an important one in women’s movements and groups in the country. I’ll ask about the limits and chances of the relationship for a) feminist discourses and the development of feminist movements and b) for the conditions that influence the state discourses on differences especially on race and gender. To illustrate this relationship I’ll present empirical data that I generated out of an influential South African feminist Journal called AGENDA. Using this as an example for feminist discourses I’ll compare political ideas, debates and concepts formulated in the journal to developments for equality and anti-discrimination on the state level.


Patricia Chogugudza,
Benedict College
Columbia SC 29204

Gender Roles and Economic Relationships: Zimbabwean Women under Pre-colonial, Colonial, and Post Colonial Patriarchy

Women in sub-Saharan Africa have especially been excluded from the benefits of the economies of their own societies. My paper focuses specifically on the central, but little recognized role of women s agency in transforming their status and material living conditions. This salient agency is urging Zimbabwean women to struggle for rights and entitlements and to demand their share in the economy. Essentially, I focus on Zimbabwean women because they provide an excellent example of the realities of women and the poor in Africa. Contemporary African feminists have argued that colonialism and post-colonial states reduced the power that pre-colonial women enjoyed. I begin this paper by analyzing the shift of African women s positions under pre-colonial patriarchy, in which they possessed certain kinds of circumscribed power and economic influence, to a lower status under colonial and post-colonial patriarchy, which compounded their economic difficulties. I examine how the interests of Zimbabwean patriarchal states, pre-colonial to post-colonial, intersect with the domestic/public dichotomy in gender roles and the economic positions of Zimbabwean women and how women of Zimbabwean respond to these constricting interests. I link Zimbabwean women s further exclusion from the margins of power in the public sphere to the emergence of new forms of class stratifications and to the country s interface with global environments. Throughout the dissertation, I explicate the nature and form of patriarchy and other hierarchical relationships in African societies. This is in an attempt to make clear as to when women within African societies had power and agency, as well as the nature of choices they had within the constraints of those existing institutions. I conclude that the agency of women must be deployed in culturally specific ways so as to enable us to assert new understandings of women’s power dimensions in the home and in the work place. When these new understandings are reached, I hope they in turn will yield liberating and positive changes in social relations and in state policies.

Miriam Chitiga, PhD.
Assistant Professor of English and Leadership,
Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina, 29115

Women Leaders Transforming Postcolonial Zimbabwe

The paper, which is based on an ethnographical study, critically examines the major roles of women leaders in shaping the grassroots and national political discourse in Zimbabwe.
Using an indigenous framework that is based on the centrality of the human factor in African organizations and an eclectic feminist approach, the paper explores how women leaders are influencing and changing the patriarchal familial and national political systems in the post-colonial Southern African nation. The paper also draws from the works of Tsisi Dangarembwa, a Zimbabwean woman writer, who portrays some of the gender role conflicts that post independent Zimbabwe imposes on society. The results of the study indicate that women leaders are now becoming more of a compelling force than ever before; their visionary leadership practices, inclusiveness, empowerment orientation, economic prowess and decision-making processes are gradually, but effectively, changing the way the traditional patriarchal nationalists have conducted business since the country gained political independence from its British colonizers in 1980. Nevertheless, the findings also show that in order for the female leaders achieve their successes among the black male traditionalists with whom and under whose supervision they generally work, they have to navigate their way through a multitude of challenges that can be attributed to the intersections of race, ethnicity (and culture), gender, class, (postcolonial)nation and sexuality. Their survival, balancing, resistance and maneuvering skills, coupled with their leadership practices, provide useful information for aspiring female leaders in the region and in other cultures that are male-dominated.

Faye Harrison
Department of Anthropology
University of Florida

African-Descendant Women Building Multiethnic and Transnational Solidarities for Human Rights

This paper will examine a U.S. southern regional network of African descendant women who are building a coalition among grassroots activists involved in parallel yet interrelated struggles against racism, labor exploitation, environmental injustice, and inequalities in reproductive and sexual health. The coalition situates the problems it targets in the South within the Global South. In the leading activists view, the current struggle for justice must advocate human rights rather than civil rights, which was the goal of the freedom movement forty years earlier. The human rights movement for which they are mobilizing links violations that occur in the U.S. South to those found in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. This global vision is being reinforced by the way the south is being affected by globalization, with new inflows of people from abroad and economic restructuring shaped by foreign capital investment. The coalition s global vision is also influenced by its participation in hemispheric and global conferences such as those related to the build up toward the UN s World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. The paper will focus particularly on the shifts in the key activists’ political identities and their growing commitment to establishing both multiethnic and plurinational alliances to secure the regional coalition s grounding in both national and international space.

Martha Kuwee Kumsa
Faculty of Social Work,
Wilfrid Laurier University

Soothing the Wounds of the Nation: Oromo Women Performing Ateetee in Exile

This paper presents some findings from an ongoing grassroots study stemming from a community-based initiative of Oromo spiritual revival. Movements of spiritual revival have become global phenomena in response to the contemporary ontological insecurity fostered by rapid shifts, uncertainties, and extreme fluidity. In the Oromo case, however, these are also movements in response to 150 years of oppression, denigration, and dehumanization suffered through their colonial incorporation into modern Ethiopia. Oppressed and persecuted, most Oromos in the diaspora fled Ethiopia as refugees. They were flung far and wide and globalized. Finding themselves painfully separated from their people in the homeland and alienated in their adopted countries by the violence of oppression and marginalization, they seek solace in each other and in reclaiming their ancient ancestral spirituality. These movements are broader in context and Oromos are deeply involved both in the homeland and in the diaspora. While the ongoing study involves broader aspects of spirituality, this paper focuses on Oromo women s birth rituals. Data were generated through collecting audiotapes of old birth rituals, through my ethnographic participation in birth rituals performed at eight sites in Canada and the United States and through in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed by using critically reflexive methodology. Theoretically, this paper disputes the mind/body split so entrenched in Western thought and argues that the material and the spiritual are intimately and inextricably interwoven. Oromo women perform embodied spirituality to reterritorialize and to soothe the wounds of the nation. It also contests the assumption that technology fragments the soul, arguing that, intimately interwoven with its fragmenting function, technology also plays the simultaneous role of enhancing spirituality and congealing dispersed communities. Giving voice to Oromo spirituality that was dubbed demon-worship and silenced back in Ethiopia signifies the resilience and survival of Oromos as a people and the reassertion of their identity. As keepers of Oromo spirituality, the leading role of Oromo women in the movement of spiritual revival is transformative in the national liberation struggle that is now both local and global.

Ursula Troche,

Understanding Each Others’ Oppressions: Multiple Diasporas

In my paper, connections are made between globalisation, oppression(s), migration(s) as processes and migrants as people(s). The multiplicity of meaning of diaspora, both African and non-African and how these diasporas differ and what they share will be explored. Further explorations will be how the ‘two groups’, i.e. Africans and non-Africans are historically related within the diaspora-experience whilst refusing to ‘relativise’ the African prominent position in this and the multiplicity of specifically African oppressions and realities. The gender dimension within this will be explored in terms of society-related (including economic) and/or family related oppressions that can be causes of migration. Society-related and/or family-related oppressions are often dealt with separately from the effects of globalisation – something where I argue a link between the two subjects is important. Further, links with the psychological effects will be made.

My own ‘example’ as a ‘largely non-African diasporian woman’ will be referred to. On the other side of the various reasons why people migrate to escape various oppressions, all of which are more or less a result of globalisation, are ’migrants’ who do not share the features of the ‘typical migrants’, which is one of fleeing oppression(s). This group is fuelling the economic system that re-enforces globalisation. This group of ‘migrants’ (better known as ‘expatriates’) may even cause the reasons for migration for ‘the others’ and thus have a negative effect on state transformation i.e. keeping them static instead of allowing positive transformation. However, heterogeneity within this ‘group’ is pointed out, because female members of this group may also be victims of gender-based oppression. It will be asked whether, given their status, the gender-oppressed women of this group can be regarded as victims or not, given that they are also perpetrators. On the whole my study will have a bias towards the victims of globalisation, as they are in the majority, particularly Africans – a bias that can be justified in regard of the human rights issues that are at play here.

Layli Phillips, Ph.D.
Women’s Studies Institute
Georgia State University
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Womanism as a Strategy for Social Transformation and Liberation

Womanism is the movement of everyday women for the liberation of all people from all forms of oppression. What are the implications of womanism for democracy, state transformation, and liberation in Africa, the African diaspora, and, ultimately, the globe? How does womanism permit and even generate non-state formations that can challenge and subvert both statist and supranational formations around entrenched problems of human well-being, such as poverty, education, militarism, health, interpersonal violence, or environmental degradaton? While womanism tends to fly under the radar because many people erroneously conflate it with feminism or underestimate the potential of its vernacular, non-ideological, social change praxis, its unique perspectives and methods are well-suited to human problem solving under emerging global conditions and will be elaborated here.

 Okungbowa Francisca I.
Department of Botany, University of Benin, Nigeria.
& Okungbowa Michael A.O.

School of Medical Laboratory Sciences,
University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.

 Gender Issues in the use of Mosquito Bed-nets in some Nigerian Rural Communities

Malaria remains one of the most serious public health problems in Africa and other tropical countries in terms of geographical spread. Globally, about 1.5-2.7 million people die from malaria yearly, children under 5 years  and pregnant women being the most vulnerable groups. In spite of efforts at control there has not been much improvement in the overall malaria picture in the last 25 years; the situation in the rural areas is worsening. Some of the malaria control measures are the use of anti-malaria drugs, insecticides and most recently, insecticide-impregnated bed nets – the most promising of all. Some cultural practices affecting the use of mosquito bed nets were examined in thirty nine rural communities from thirteen ethnic groups in Southern Nigeria with the aid of questionnaires. Results showed that females were relatively more favored than males in the use of bed nets. In the use and maintenance of bed nets among the respondents, 73.6% of men purchased nets, 6.9% mended nets, while 1.5% used nets, as against 26.4%, 83.1% and 98.5%, respectively, for the women. Certain traditional beliefs like the notion that women are the “weaker sex”, and preparation of young girls for marriage, even made bet net use mandatory for some categories of females. Whereas these practices were apparently for the good of the women, the latter were so “favored” to suit the gender-biased motive of the men. These practices which make men more prone to malaria and other diseases may partly explain the lower life expectancy for men in the rural area. The health of a nation has direct impact on economic development. For a developing nation like Nigeria and, in deed Africa in general, to grow, the health of its people must take top priority. Gender-biased practices that impact negatively on the control or eradication of malaria should be discouraged.


Richard Mordi, Ph.D.

Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, Florida

 Economic Impact of Globalization on the African Diaspora

Our world is in the midst of the third industrial revolution. Effects of this revolution became apparent after the political and economic implosion of the Soviet Union in 1989. Triumph of the free market and democracy over socialism and communism dubbed “the end of history” (Fukuyama, 1991) cleared the way for people to see the emerging phenomenon we now know as globalization. In a globalized economy, just about any product can be produced in any country and sold in virtually all countries. National economies are no longer immune from foreign encroachment. Even labor can now be outsourced from countries where wages are low and skills are abundant. Competitive advantage now belongs to individuals and nations with knowledge, skills and entrepreneurship. Only such individuals and nations are in a position to take advantage of globalization. Left behind are those individuals and nations that are less skilled and less conscious of globalization forces. Thus, globalization is stratifying the world into prosperous winners, a struggling middle, and economically declining losers. My purpose in this study is to find answers to two questions. First, are people of the African Diaspora aware of the colossal economic opportunities inherent in globalization? My assumption here is that those who are aware of these opportunities would take advantage of them. Second, are they aware of the serious economic consequences of ignorance about globalization? Data for this study come from three sources—published materials, focus group research, and interviews. Preliminary findings suggest that while many people in the African Diaspora are aware that new economic forces are impacting their lives most of them do not know how to benefit from these forces or escape their adverse effects. 


Ihunna Obinna
General Studies Department
Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

 Interrogating Cultural Factors in the Women and Development Question: The Igbo Cultural Area in Focus

There is a rising profile in the gender factor in contemporary social theorizing. In this context, efforts to chart women's experiences in varied locales provide considerable intellectual stimulation towards a better understanding of women. It situates as a significant social enterprise, therefore, to examine the problematic of women in development in relation to extant cultural clogs persistent in many primordial communities. Against this backdrop, it appears challenging to interrogate the debilitating effects on women development aspirations that issue from the cultural realm. The paper draws on the cultural experiences of the Igbo women believed to be anti-progressive social practices limiting their development capabilities. It explores the possibilities of extirpating these constrains cultural practices checking their progressive transformation. In so doing, we intend to argue for a definition of development that is gender blind and permitting of greater freedom for women in the development process to enhance the goal of positive transformation of the women. Our methodological approach is essentially qualitative, given its preference for interpretive social analysis. This is apt to objectively match empirical evidence with theoretical claims within Igbo cultural model. 

Christine Cynn
Fulbright Lecturer/Researcher

University of Abidjan-Cocody, Côte d’Ivoire

  “We need justice—help!”: Women Sound Protest in Haiti

 In Haiti, where only about half of the population is literate, songs constitute a particularly important repository of insurgent history and memory—and a particularly effective mode of public protest.   My paper focuses on efforts by women in the Raboteau Victims’ Association to demand justice for a 1994 massacre in Raboteau, a poor coastal community in Gonaives, particularly as they articulate their protest in songs.  The first part of the paper situates the Association in the context of Haitian history and of transnational social justice movements, especially the Madres of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.   While the Association borrows from the tactics of the Madres and their mobilization of potent tropes of maternity and victimhood, they explicitly de-link their protest from any association with maternity or femininity.  While this troubles any simple affirmation of the Association as an integral part of an exemplary transnational feminist network, I argue that the privileging of communal over gendered identification and the staging of victimhood in the songs and in the Association’s activities paradoxically enables the assertion of women as political agents, rather than “innocents.” The Association’s songs commemorate the massacre of Raboteau and its victims and assert a communal counter narrative against attempts to claim that the massacre never took place.  Further, they call for justice, a demand that would necessitate a transformation of the state and its institutions and their relation to the poor black majority.  The songs’ situating of the community as victims, in effect, insist that these transformations take place and stake the women’s claim to the nation and to national belonging.  My paper draws from ongoing research tracing Haitian women’s organizing and from a 2003 documentary that I co-produced, Pote mak sonje: The Raboteau Trial, which explores women’s participation in the November 2000 trial of military and paramilitary for their roles in the massacre at Raboteau. 


 Terna Gbasha
School of Justice and Social Inquiry
Arizona State University, Tempe

Secessionist Movements, Gender and Justice under contemporary global conditions in Nigeria

This paper is an attempt to provoke, and hopefully, stimulate discussions in respect of integrating liberal principles of justice and equity, in examining the question of gender transformation under conditions of globalization. We focus on secessionist movements specifically, because they are implicated in the global appropriation of discursive regimes such as “democratic” discourse, and human “rights” talk. Most often than not, the discursive platforms are derived from the post-modernist inspired phenomenon of the politics of difference, which has played out in the political arena as “identity” politics. Hence, the first question the paper examines, is to what extent do the secessionist movement in Nigeria, based on some reified,  ethnic identity inclusive or exclusive of other differences? To approach this question, the paper begins with Rawlsian “Justice as Fairness” and the feminist response to his postulations; then goes on to examine the extent justice and equity talk within the “secessionist” movement postulations are derived from any liberal principles. . This paper poses three key questions:  In a world that has
made social, cultural and sexual identities uncertain and transient, can ‘identity’ be a firm enough category to examine movements of autonomy? If struggles for recognition simplifies and reifies group identity, does it help or marginalize struggles for redistribution? If some recognition struggles represents genuine emancipatory response to serious injustice that cannot be remedied by redistribution alone, what theoretical insight will accommodate the complexity of social identities, and promotes respectful social interaction across differences, not one that encourage group enclaving and “ethnic cleansing.” The paper concludes that what is needed is a non-identitarian politics that can remedy misrecognition without encouraging displacement and reification. 

Terrence Parker
Independent Scholar

 The African Woman: From Goddess to Condemn?

Prior to Western colonialism in Africa; the role of women in many societies were considered sacred. Many great Ancient African civilizations were matriarchal in their existence.  My paper will attempt to explain how deep the woman’s influence and what factors led to their disposition.  Women role has not always been the same contrast to most than just procreation.  Her image was considered to stand for wisdom and cultivation.  Just as a child would look to their mother kingdoms and nations look towards women for leadership and divine rule.  A woman is considered to have given life to the universe as great deities.  Opposite to what Western society teaches many of us women in Africa were at the forefront of many governmental decisions and led armies into battle.   Women also led ceremonial traditions.  In the Ancient Kemet (Egypt) women stood for life and added balance to the world.  The symbol for the laws was a woman with wings stretched out at an equal balance.  The African World before the influence of its Euro-counterparts respected the female and understood the capabilities and role she plays in life.   

 There has been a disposition of women in African society.  Many try to trace this back to the invasion of Arabic and European civilization.  The adoption of religions and policies transformed the African women’s position and image in eyes of not only the African man but the world as well.  Her influence has even touched parts of Asia and Early-Europe.  When African nations had maintained early world influence, respect and admiration for the woman was standard.  Out of these matriarchal societies we get many terms and deities which were changed during the spread of European paradigm.  Her current condition has been maintained by the ideals passed down from those who for some strange reason undermined her majesty.  My desire in this paper is to explore the African woman as the Queen, the Mother, and the Goddess before she was made the condemned.

 Ada Okafor


Empowering Women through Drama: The Styles of J .P. Clark and Tess Onwueme

Emem Obonguko
Department of Theatre Arts

University of Abuja
Abuja, Nigeria

Female dramatists in Nigeria are faced with the Herculean task of attempting to create and uplift the status of women in the face of changing global views on women. Growing up and living in a male dominated society has not made this job easy. Nigeria like most other countries of the developing world is largely a patriarchal society, where male views are supposed to count more than their female counterparts because they hold the political power and subsequently economic power. This trend has dominated the Nigerian theater since its inception. Since the emergence of gender studies and the subsequent upsurge in the global movement for female activism, female dramatists in Nigeria have used their creative prowess in the field of playwriting to promote female empowerment against the background of a male dominated society reflecting tin the theatre. Notable among these crops of female playwrights is Tess Onwueme. J.P.Clark, though a male is also sometimes given to using strong female characters in his plays. His play ‘Ozidi’ will be looked into in this paper. This play is chosen because it was written long before the popularization of gender studies the world over and the emergent term of Feminism. He therefore belongs to the ‘old school’ of writers in this regard. Tess Onwueme on the other hand is of the new crop of female playwrights writing exclusively for women, using female characters and through her writings, the Nigerian woman has found her lost identity in the Theatre.This paper therefore intends to look at the trend of writings and literature through the decades to chart a new course and set an identity for the Nigerian woman, in every sphere thereby bringing about her empowerment. 

Women, Higher Education, and the Challenges of Transforming   African Societies for the 21st Century

Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika,
Women’s Studies Program

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Over the past two decades African leaders, policy makers, social activists, foreign and local organizations, and scholars have increasingly engaged in numerous debates on how to move the continent forward. These groups have also realized the stumbling block to this vision presented by the appalling social status which African women, especially those south of the Sahara are carrying into the twenty-first century. Existing scholarship has been consistent in crediting education and tertiary education, in particular, as a road-map not only to gender equity but also to women’s participation in social development as nation builders with men. This paper argues, however, that the social drive to improve African women’s representation in higher education has for the most part ignored the ideological content of this training and how it shapes the present differentials in 1) Men and women’s career aspirations, 2) The benefits men and women derive from tertiary credentials - as assets that fetch economic and political prizes, and 3) Men and women’s readiness to serve as social transformers. This papers argues therefore that policies aimed at improving women’s progress in higher education should in addition to promoting access and representation, challenge the gendered hierarchies in the administrative and academic structures of these institutions (which convey to students crucial information about the status quo), the environment in which learning takes place (which, in many ways, reflect the dynamics of social relations in the larger society), gaps in the curriculum (which leave unanswered many questions about contradictions between the prospects of training and the traditional expectations of roles and responsibilities).



Women in the Aftermath of Ethnic Conflicts in Nigeria: Coping with the Socio-economic and Environmental Consequences of Egbirra-Bassa Crisis, (1986-2000)


Ibrahim UMARU
Department of Economics

Nasarawa State University, Keffi
And Theophilus D. LAGI
Department of Sociology

Nasarawa State University, Keffi


The Egbirra-Bassa crisis will go down the annals of history of ethnic conflicts in central Nigeria, and indeed Nasarawa State as one of the most protracted and intense. Past studies have rather focused on unraveling the remote causes, quantifying the social and political costs of the conflict to the exclusion of economic and environmental consequences on the most vulnerable groups in the society, women and children. As a way of expand the frontier of our knowledge on the issue, this study examines the role of women and how they have been coping with the socio-economic and environmental effects in the aftermath of the crisis against the framework of a typical African patriarchal system and the challenges posed by the existing traditional-cum pseudo-modern economic reality in Nigeria. Using an economy-environment link model, an attempt has been made in this study to quantify the overall costs of the conflict to women in the area. Then possible ways to reduce the vulnerability of women as well as rehabilitate them in ethnic crisis situations are suggested.    



Women Playing Themselves

Talia Shay
The College of Judea and Samaria,

Ariel, Israel


For a year I have been a participating observer in meetings of two women’s groups-one embroiders, the other plays theater.  Although the two groups meet once a week, they differ from each other.  The embroiderers participate in the group on a personal and rather temporary basis, skipping several meetings at their convenience.  Furthermore, the participants may stay in the meeting for two hours, or they may get their instructions from the founder and organizer of the group and leave immediately. The second group, however, that of women players, meets regularly.  They are committed to the group, which they call: Home, Ours Family, etc.  These two groups are further compared to a third group of women gardeners, whose participation in the activity is on a communal basis.  The latter are well known in literature both in Israel and in the world, and I will refer to them briefly.  It is suggested that women who frequent these groups and participate in their weekly rituals do it in order to compensate themselves for their marginality in society.  The weekly rituals, which stress equality, comradeship and temporary freedom from conventional norms, provide these women with new powers as they experience self-esteem, which they have lacked outside the groups.


A Stranger and A Slave: Reaching Across the Waters of Diaspora

Barbara Lewis,
Director, William Monroe Trotter Institute
University of Massachusetts-Boston


Going far beyond one’s traditional boundaries is key in two plays, each written by women, and both pivotal in the dramatic history of the two countries to which the respective playwrights are native. In Ama Ata Aidoo’s groundbreaking Ghanian play, The Dilemma of a Ghost (1964), Ato Kom, recently returned from America, is lost in emotional territory, caught between the culture of the past and of his parents, and that of his American wife, Eulalie.  His parents and the villagers look upon Eulalie as a stranger and a slave, as an oddity without roots that has cropped up in their midst.  She does not share the values of the village.  Her focus is not the group, but the self.  She is not eager to reproduce and become the source of new life, replenishing the tribal supply. Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun opened five years before Dilemma made its debut.  In its cast of characters, Raisin included a son of Africa who is much traveled.  Joseph Asagai, a Yoruba from Nigeria, has come to North America to earn an education and then return home to make things better for his countrymen.  In the windy city, he is drawn to Beneatha Younger.  Her willingness to use her education to benefit others matches his ambition to exert a positive political influence on his homeland. Asagai, well-rooted in his culture, represents grounding and adventure.  It is not surprising that their relationship develops, and in the third act, Asagai asks Beneatha to return home with him. Against a background of changing political and social circumstances, two couples of different countries tempt the boundaries of difference.  Both playwrights present an African man and an American woman moving beyond the limitations that slavery erected limitations that made them strangers to the continuum of their lineage. 


Women in Obolo (Andoni) Social Transformation

John Enemugwem
Department of History

University of Port Harcourt

This study traces the role of women in the social transformation of Obolo (Andoni) in the Niger Delta. In the pre-colonial period, they influenced the migration of Andoni forebears from their homeland in Cameroon to their present location in the Eastern Niger Delta. While their patronage of Christianity was proverbial in the colonial period, the post-colonial era saw their contributions to the building of educational, health-care delivery, recreational and civic centers. One of them uses her position as Co-coordinator of the United Nations Development Program to ensure the establishment of Women Development Centre that takes charge of palm oil milling, kernel cracking, cassava processing, fashion designing, barbing and hair-dressing salons. Yet, others formed co-operatives that provided the people with skill acquisition programs, electricity and water and cold-room for fish preservation. They are also in the campaign against HIV/AIDS. The mechanically driven boats for waterways transportation in Obolo (Andoni) is an innovation of women. Not the least is an Andoni female scholar at the University of Port Harcourt who initiated an invention of a special paint that could be manufactured anytime. These contributions are worthy of mention, analysis and publication.


'Re-imagining Woman's Identity in an African (Nigerian) Context.'

Rose Uchem, MSHR.
Executive Director, Ifendu For Women’s Development,
No. 1. Ihiala Avenue, City Layout,

New Haven, P. O. Box 9677, Enugu, Nigeria.


This paper explores the cultural and subliminal dimensions of the present social construction of gender in Nigeria around the symbol of the Igbo kolanut ritual. It calls for a critical re-examination of the attendant human rights violations against women and urges for change in the interest of development and progress. African cultures are replete with symbols and rituals that evoke deep religious meaning, akin to the Christian sacraments, in celebrating and affirming human identity and relationships. An example is the Igbo Kolanut ritual, which celebrates hospitality, communion, blessing, inclusion, and reconciliation. Ironically, this great symbol of inclusion is at the same time, a symbol of women’s exclusion and oppression. This is in the sense that it denies women’s equal humanity with men and treats them as ‘other’ when they are omitted and passed over during the ceremonial head count of who is who which is part of the Kolanut ritual. Whenever this happens, as in the case of a growing number of women who have achieved excellence in their field of specialty in the Nigerian civil arena, whatever empowerment these women have experienced elsewhere gets cancelled out when it comes to the symbolic and ritual arenas. Therefore, it remains a challenge for African opinion leaders to re-examine aspects of African cultures that undermine women’s human identity and dignity and therefore indirectly hampers development and progress since it hurts solidarity and unity between men and women particularly where symbols are concerned. Recognizing the power and role of symbols in the human unconscious in influencing attitudes and behaviors, this paper calls for a critical re-evaluation and change of the obnoxious discriminations against women in the Igbo Kolanut ritual. 

 Feminism, Womanism, Naming, and Misnaming: Inscribing Black Women’s Struggles into African Cultural Contexts

Hannah Chukwu
Department of English

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Naming Black women’s concerns is crucial because Black women have often been shadowed by misconceptions, misnaming, and misrepresentation. The majority of African cosmologies show that name carries a deep significance; hence in Black Africa, more than in many other cultures, one’s name has a significance that is sacred to the individual. Name holds a special place in most communities, for people tend to assume the image conveyed by the meaning of their names. For instance, an Igbo proverb says, “afa onye na achoga onye” (the name a person bears defines the person). Therefore this paper attempts to properly name Black women in Africa and the diaspora in their own terms—occupation, struggles, and aspirations—to reflect their unequivocal personhood in the face of an imposed identity emanating from foreign theories and interpretations. Historically, traditionally, and because of cultural values of Black people Black women’s fight for equality with Black men cannot be subsumed under White women’s feminism.

This paper theorizes and names Black women’s gender struggles by arguing that a distinguishing characteristic of most Black African societies is a sense of community. This sense of community has an impact on the way gender relations are perceived, defined, and pursued. Some Black women writers, critics, and theorists in their attempts to describe Black women’s involvement in liberation, as situated in postcolonial African and diasporic contexts have come up with different names with several nuances of meaning and applications. Some of these names overlap. For instance, feminism recurs in Negofeminism, Black/African feminism; alternative terms are Womanism and Africana Womanism, and from the first derives the term De-womanization.  The paper attempts to crystallize the central ideologies behind these names into cultural pragmatism, relevant in a general way to denominate Black people’s Africanness and experience. Cultural pragmatism merges the practical strategies for survival gleaned from the experiences of some African foremothers with traditions that support the rights of women; hence, the naming Africana womanhood. African context is elastic enough to give African women possibilities and choices instead of their relying upon Western feminism that may alienate them culturally, determine their actions, and consequently obfuscate their horizon and space.



Understanding Spirituality and Models of Black Women’s Creative Endeavors as Source of Creative Empowerment

Hannah Chukwu

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Creativity is invested in the orality, politics, and spirituality of most African societies; hence, creativity is the effect of living and participating in social, political, and spiritual affairs in the society.  Authority that comes from spiritual empowerment affects creativity and articulation in the sense that inspiration, which is usually considered a spiritual concept, provides new ideas and a basis for creativity, and acts as a model for a particular piece of work and masterly handling of situations. Some African women writers demonstrate a pattern between their spiritual illumination and their creativity.

The boost spirituality gives to humans is a pattern that needs to be acknowledged; this pattern suggests how humans can manipulate the spiritual, or exploit the superior authority of the spiritual over the physical for their own benefit. For instance, Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, in Things Fall Apart, tells of Chielo, the priestess of the Oracle of the Hills and Caves, Agbala, who assumes a powerful position in her society once she is acting under the influence of Agbala’s spirit. Chielo creatively negotiates the different terrain of gendered power relations in the case of her interaction with the powerful male Okonkwo through giving herself over to possession by Agbala. The possible connection between visibility through creativity (crafting order in the articulation of experiences) and spiritual authority can be exploited by men and women alike. Black women, especially, exploit the connection between poetic art and inspired utterances as part of their spirituality in order to nullify patriarchal surveillance and imposed powerlessness. For instance Turn Thanks, a collection by Jamaican-born Afro-Caribbean poet Lorna Goodison and The Spring’s Last Drop, a collection by Nigerian poet Catherine Acholonu, reveal that African and Afro-Caribbean women’s strong sense of community, spiritual sensitivity, holistic attitude of women’s fight for liberation, the quest for healing and hope through the power of crafted words and rituals present an ideology of Africana womanhood as embedded in African cultural traditions. The paper argues that spiritual sensitivity is a model in the creativity of Black women because spirituality posits new emphasis in literary studies and suggests for African women empowerment as opposed to weakness, articulation as opposed to silence, connection as opposed to fragmentation.


Catholic Missions and the Education of Girls in Southeastern Nigeria, 1885-1960

Nicholas I. Omenka
Department of Religious Studies

Abia State University, Uturu Nigeria

A central trait of the revitalized missionary movement of the 19th century was the resolve to bring about a socio-cultural change in the mission lands. To this end, the school apostolate became a mission strategy of choice and in South Eastern Nigeria, and indeed in Africa as a whole, it emerged as a visible sign of mission presence within indigenous communities. However, because of the prevailing discrimination of women in traditional society, the education of girls was initially not embraced with the same degree of enthusiasm as was the case with regard to the education of boys.

 The missionaries themselves had to overcome some initial ideological mindsets that militated against the education of girls. Some thought it was “sinful” to gather boys and girls under one roof, while others reasoned that because of local apathy towards “emancipated” women, it would be wrong to go against the loyalties prescribed for women by native customs. Despite the apprehension articulated by the people and by some mission leaders, the education of girls emerged triumphant in the end. This paper is a historical investigation into the educational empowerment of young women in South-Eastern Nigeria by the Catholic missions. The mere fact that this project featured in their mission plan ab initio is indicative of the seriousness with which they pursued it. 


Forced Labor in the Jos Tin Mines: The Psychological and Emotional Implications for Women in Tiv Society, Central Nigeria, ca. 1902-1945.

Akpen Philip
Dept of History

Bayero University
Kano, Nigeria

During the pre-colonial era, there were different types of labor utilized for different purposes with active involvement of both the men and women in Tiv society.  Labor in pre-colonial times was an important factor in unifying the household. The labor regime dramatically changed due to colonialism in Nigeria. The establishment of Tin mines in Jos led to the forced recruitment of labor from the entire Northern region.  The method used in the labor recruitment had series of implications on the society of Northern Nigeria at large.  Apart from diverting the attention of the people from previous economic activities, forced labor transformed and dislocated Tiv family structure. It was during this period that labor was massively recruited from Tiv area to work in the Tin mines on the Jos Plateau. The recruitment into the colonial labor for mining at Jos popularly called Kuza in Tiv targeted mostly the “bread-winners” (men) of their respective families. This paper examines the psychological and emotional implications of forced labor migrations on the women as their spouses were forced to work in the mines. 


 Black Women and Slavery in Canada


Rosemarie Reid
York University, Toronto

 A prevalent misconception regarding Canada is that its history is devoid of racism and slavery.  Canada holds the reputation as being a safe haven for runaway slaves; a nation which did not have the suitable climate for slavery.  However, during the early 19th century there were many attempts by Canadians to sustain their rights to hold slaves.  Furthermore, many occurrences in Canada resemble those typical of other slave societies. This paper will demonstrate that though slavery was practiced on a smaller scale compared to other slave societies such as the U.S. and the Caribbean, and its function was confined primarily to domestic work, slavery in Canada was a complex system. Due to the slave woman’s close proximity to her slave master this would lead to different forms of exploitation experienced by slave women in the U.S. and the Caribbean.  This paper may also explore the constructions that emerged from slavery which is reflected in the lives of some black Canadian women presently.


When Girl-Soldiers Lay Down their Arms: The Contribution of African Accountability Mechanisms to the Reintegration of Female Child-Soldiers

Romana Schweiger, Dr. iuris.
Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Vienna
Department for Criminal Law and Criminology
Institut für Strafrecht und Kriminologie
Schottenbastei 10-16
1010 Vienna/ Austria


In recent years the African continent has been the scene for different judicial and non-judicial accountability mechanisms. In addition the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened its first investigations exclusively in African states. On the other hand the use of child-soldiers in rebel forces has been a common feature of many African conflicts. In this context abducted girls play an extremely burdensome role in armed forces: they are used as fighters, but they are also given as a reward – as so called “wives” – to male fighters for exceptional performances in exercising terror. In this position they are subject to constant sexual abuse.

 The phenomenon of child-soldiers already is an extraordinary challenge to transitional justice mechanisms, since the young fighters or fighters recruited at a young age are perpetrators and victims at the same time. Penal law is a tool to deter the use of child soldiers, since this act has been criminalized the most relevant instruments of international criminal law including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. But child soldiers are equally subject to criminal provisions as perpetrators. Criminal trials do not offer an adequate forum for handling cases with ambiguous victim and perpetrator roles. Non judicial mechanisms and additional civil programs must complement the pure criminal models.  This experience has been gained from the accountability mechanisms set up in Sierra Leone. The gender dimension of this problem has however not been sufficiently discussed so far and the special needs of former girls fighters in the reintegration process have been ignored. As a consequence to this lack of attention in academia as well as in the political forums recent UN advances in the protection of children in armed conflict, such as the Report of the Secretary General on Children in armed conflict (S/2005/72) of 9 February 2005 and Security Council Resolution 1612 (2002), do not mention the special role of abducted girls in armed forces.

 The paper attempts to use African experiences to demonstrate the special challenges that the phenomenon of girl fighters poses to transitional accountability mechanisms and to outline possible complements to these mechanisms that facilitate the girls’ reintegration. This issue is of particular relevance with regards to current investigations of the ICC in situations – like northern Uganda – where girls have been massively abused in armed forces.


International Efforts and Rights of Women in Africa: Empty Words or Real Achievements?

Christina Binder
, Dr. Iuris.
Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Vienna
Department for International Law and International Relations
Institut für Völkerrecht und Internationale Beziehungen
Universitätsstraße 2, 1090 Vienna/ Austria


 Karin Lukas, E.MA (Human Rights), LL.M (Gender & the Law)
Legal Researcher and Lecturer at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights
Vienna/ Austria

 Women are among the most affected by African conflicts; independently from the fact whether they are combatants or civilians. Accordingly, the National Union of Eritrean Women finds when dealing with the life of Eritrean women after the Ethiopian-Eritrean war: “women and children suffer the most from such crises as war” (Hale).On the other hand, the  constructive potential and positive involvement of women in peace processes is stressed (Fleshman, 2003). This complex position of women in conflict- as well as post-conflict situations is increasingly recognized by the international community. Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) formally acknowledges women’s special vulnerability in war time and calls for their equal participation and full involvement in peace making. By many, Resolution 1325 is seen as success and important further step in the agenda setting by NGOs and women’s organisations (Purkarthofer). However, its deficient implementation as well as its somehow traditional approach to the gender perspective has also been criticized (Strickland and Duvvury). In the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (adopted in 2003, entry into force 2005), the African Union stresses women’s “right to peace” (Art 11).

This paper undertakes to critically scrutinize the international community’s role in peace processes in Africa by adopting a gender sensitive perspective. It will focus on a limited number of country situations with strong international involvement such as Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone or Uganda. The question will be asked, whether the efforts of the international community contributed to protect the rights of African women during the conflicts. Did they strengthen the position of women in conflict resolution and peace building? This position of women in the respective countries will be analysed against the background of international standards and objectives such as outlined in the SC Resolution 1325. The achievements and failures of the international efforts will be discussed with regard to the respective country situations.


A Woman Named Poverty: The Paradoxical Effects of Globalization

Joan O. Oviawe
Department of Cultural Studies and Social Thought

Washigton State University
Pullman, WA 99163

This paper focuses on the impact of globalization- specifically in creating new forms of gendered poverty, and vulnerability especially in the developing World. Globalization has also opened up new spaces for women’s engagement with the public sphere through market-based work and consumption, information technology and transnational activism.  This paper will examine the relationship between knowledge and power, by highlighting analytical insights into the shaping of gender politics in the policy field as well as in the politics of resistance and social transformation.


Gender Ideology and the 1929 Women’s Revolt in Eastern Nigeria


Okwy Ekelake
Department of History/International Studies

Imo State University

Studies of African resistance movements during the colonial period and in fact imperial historiography have
largely neglected the participation of women and the gender implications of the colonial enterprise until recent times. Yet women is Eastern Nigeria have been the subject of several historical studies. Interest in Igbo emerged after the 1929 women’s revolt in colonial eastern Nigeria. By contextualizing women’s action in a wider historical framework, this paper intends to reveal the lack of “fit” between colonial ideological perceptions and the reality in the colony. If the events leading to the 1929 women’s revolt in Eastern Nigeria in particular are examined and the Report of the Commission of Inquiry set up to ascertain the causes of the revolt analyzed, we can gain insight into British colonial perception of women’s positions and how it helped redefine indigenous gender ideologies. The paper also hopes to offer a re-interpretation of the events leading to the women’s revolt and show the independent spirit of women in Eastern Nigeria.


Gender Concerns and the Dynamics of Decentralization Reform in Nigeria

Mike Adeyeye., PhD                                     

Department of Local Government Studies
Faculty of Administration

Ile-ife, Nigeria
Obafemi Awolowo University

Most contemporary analysts of decentralization acknowledge that there is a gap between theory and practice and in particular case of Africa, historical, cultural and political economy factors and the poor commitment of governments to the process are sources of the major institutional weakness that hinder the achievement of developmental objectives. Exploring the Nigerian situation over the last twenty years, the paper observes that Nigeria has been steadily integrating gender concerns in the development process. This was in recognition of the fact that women and the youth have a particular impact on resource utilization and can therefore enhance or thwart sustainable development programs. The objective is to integrate gender concerns into policy-planning, decision making and implementation at all levels to enhance sustainable social and economic development. The guiding principle is that popular participation and public awareness should include the concerns of both men and women. In concrete term, therefore, the paper examines the effects of the nature of democratic decentralization (restructuring of local government) on gender relations and the empowerment of women. The focus is on the challenges of local government reform in shaping gender relations in post-independent Nigeria, and on the impact of gender on local development. The paper equally accepts that current restructuring of local government (democratic decentralization) if properly pursued can address poverty, gender inequality, environmental concerns, improvement in healthcare, education and access to government, the participation of stakeholders and encourage participatory democracy. Recognizing the male-dominant and masculinized culture of the Nigerian state, a state that is devoid of women in significant positions of authority and hostile toward women and those constructed as playing feminized roles in society, such as the poor and the disposed, the paper concludes that the issue of asymmetrical gender relations goes beyond a problem that affects only the women. It is a problem that afflicts the powerless and the dispossessed. The strategies that ought to be used must then be multi-pronged and creative. To reiterate, those strategies must not exclude other marginalized groups but must prioritize the interest of women.


Gender and the challenges of Academia in a Nigerian University

Christiana O. Ogbogu
Department of Public Administration

Obafemi Awolowo University
Ile-Ife 220005, Osun State, Nigeria

The challenges of the academic profession were studied from a gender perspective in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. The problems encountered by male and female academic staff were examined and their contributions to teaching and research compared. The factors militating against women’s effective participation in the academia were identified and suggestions for enhancing their contribution were made. Data were collected using questionnaires administered on the academic staff in all the eleven faculties in Obafemi Awolowo University, using the purposive and stratified sampling methods. Results indicate that there are fewer females than male academics in the University. Women feature more in the humanities and social sciences than in science- and technology-related disciplines. Female academics also occupy the junior and middle positions in the academic career structure. Although the university does not emphasize any form of male ideology in recruiting academic staff, women experience a kind of subtle discrimination in academia, exhibited more at the attitudinal level. Female staff also lack sufficient mentors and networking systems. Although academics appear interesting but challenging and stressful for both sexes, males tend to publish books and journal articles more frequently than their female counterparts. These were attributed to inadequate teaching and research facilities, child bearing and family commitments (particularly for females), poor remuneration, lack of gender friendly policies and poor mentoring and networking systems. On the basis of these findings it was recommended that women should develop a network system to facilitate coauthoring and improvement of their credentials, a variety of institutional adjustments should be made to enable women maintain a balance between work and family responsibilities, as well as provision of attractive remuneration package and improved working facilities for enhanced labor input.



The Role of Women in the Post-Civil War Economic Transformation of Igboland


Men have tended to dominate the realm of economic pursuit world over. This has been so made possible by the nature of man, and the putatively domineering tendencies inherent in him. Not too long ago, women have had the scope of their opportunities expanded that they now play their scripts along side men as partners in the promenade of economic transformation. Before the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war, men tended to hold the orbit of Igboland economy with little room reserved for the women. But after the civil war and the enormous death toll of Igbo men in that infamy, women were faced with the stark reality of survival. Igbo women therefore girded their loins for this challenge and quickly rose to good height as important players in the economic survival and transformation of Igboland. This paper intends to survey all those facets of Igboland women’s economic activities in the post-civil war period and their impact in the economic transformation of post-war Igboland as well as the circumstances that aided this rapid change on their side.


Child Neglect, Youth Involvement in ‘Okada’ Transportation Business and the Incidence of Road Accident in Ado-Ekiti

Department of Sociology

University of Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria


Wangari Maathai, Nobel Laureate, Environmentalist and her Engagement with the State of Kenya


Eudora Chikwendu, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science and International Relations

State University of New York at New Paltz

Wangari Maathai, f
ounder and former Coordinator of the Green Belt Movement, is an environmentalist, biologist, scientist and a human rights worker for peace, justice and democracy. Wangari Maathai engaged in long periods of political struggles with the Kenyan state to protect the environment and advocate for poor women’s livelihoods. For 30 years Wangari Maathai identified the need for environmental preservation and rehabilitation, especially in areas of Kenya with high erosion. She also addressed issues of food production, renewable sources of energy, poverty alleviation, and reduction of daily workloads for women, health, hygiene, nutrition, and housing. From confronting the power holders of the Kenyan state, she is now Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Republic of Kenya and a Member of Parliament. Wangari Maathai makes the connection between the life of forests and the life of humankind through a reforesting movement of planting 30 million trees. She believes that if deforestation continues at the rate it is going, the world’s rain forests will vanish within 100 years. In announcing the Nobel committee’s decision to award the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize to Wangari Maathai, the head of the Norwegian Nobel committee said that Wangari Maathai “has taken a holistic approach to sustainable development. Maathai combines science, social commitment, and active politics. More than simply protecting the existing environment, her strategy is to secure and strengthen the very basis for ecologically sustainable development.” In this presentation I wish to explore Wangari Maathai’s double strategies of engaging the state, first in confrontation to protect the environment and now within the corridors of power to transform the environment to benefit women, the poor and the future generations.


African Identity and the Gender Question


Francis O C Njoku
Department of Philosophy,

University of Nigeria Nsukka.

 "The question of African Identity seems to precede that of gender. It is for this reason that the resolution of gender issues has roots in the African identity problem. I shall concentrate on the identity problem. The problem of African Identity emerges in the context of claims and counter-claims. My paper will claim that there is no set of conditions, at once necessary and sufficient, for inclusion into this identity (or gender). Therefore identity conditions are defensible, for no one condition is necessary.


Women in African Christianity: Models of Women’s Participation in religious Organization and Leadership.

Jude C. Aguwa
Associate Professor of Religion

Mercy College, NY.

 In the last century, the emergence of African Christianity has progressed outstandingly and quite importantly with respect to the role of women.  The realities of geography not withstanding, African culture and religion, in their continuing engagements with the Judeo- Christian worldview, have been crucial factors in shaping Christianity in Africa.  In this process of active interaction, the role of women has changed from a more passive collaboration to a more dynamic and even creative participation.  These roles at one time, did exhibit the controls - which were and continue to be imposed in some Christian denominations. Overall, however; the imprint of the female foot on the terrain of emergent African Christianity is incrementally conspicuous. This paper will examine the concept and reality of African Christianity. It will investigate and reflect on the role of women in traditional Christianity and against that background will make commentaries on the African situation.  For practical reasons, it will limit the discussion to primarily focus on some Christian churches which present altering and differing models of women’s participation. The final reflection will focus on the fragile as well as the durable nature of the increasing role of women, as Christianity ploughs Africa’s socio-economic and political terrain.     



 Bernadette Ezeliora
Daughters of Divine Love

Box 546, Enugu, Nigeria
Phone: 080-36768924

South East Zone comprised of all Igbo speaking areas east of the Niger. Education was a one single factor that earned respect, power and sense of belonging to the people in Nigeria. Formerly, education was exclusively the rights of the male children while the female children had no access to formal education. Families could sell their farmlands to send their children to school but the education of the female children was a waste of resource. Science was exclusively masculine subjects. The purpose of this study was to compare the trend of enrolment into university among male and female students into university programs in the South East Zone of Nigeria. Instrument for data collection was the record of students’ nominal enrolment statistics from 2000 to 2004 from three out of six universities in the zone. The male enrolment statistics were compared against the female enrolment statistics within a university and across universities using percentage statistical parameter. The findings of the study showed that more than 75% of the girls were studying in the universities, which is 55% of the total number of students in the universities. In some departments the number of girls was equal or more than the male students doing the same course. In sciences, which was exclusively for male students had a significant number of girls enrolled into different science courses and in some universities the numbers of girls studying science courses were more than the boys doing the same course. One of the major causes of the u-turn in education was attributed to the insatiable quest for money and wealth among Nigerian boys. While boys abandoned education in search of wealth the girls embraced education for personal growth, development and a way to self empowerment. The situation had a lot of political, social and economic implications which were discussed and recommendations were made.

The paper, in the main, examines the causes and consequences of the neglect of children on the incidence of motorcycle road accidents n Ado-Ekiti, the State capital. A random selection of three hundred and nineteen commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada riders, were made and questions relating to their socioeconomic background, their perception of Okada transportation business and the incidence of road accidents were asked.  Findings revealed a significant relationship between all the variables above which justifies the research basic objective. Appropriate suggestions were therefore given to forestall future occurrence of such menace



Lotsmart Fonjong

Department of Women and Gender Studies
FSMS, University of Buea,

PO Box 63, Buea Cameroon


In most communities in Cameroon, traditional norms have domesticated rural women where they are left to exercise mostly the reproductive roles of child bearing, home management and food provision for the family. These women are thus unable to exercise any influential economic voice as they can hardly earn income. Cash agriculture like rice production provides a possible outlet for the empowerment of these women. However, this is just like solving one problem for the women and creating another. The reason being that any attempt to encourage these women to work outside their homes implies increasing their workload. This paper examines the situation of female rice farmers in Ndop, Cameroon and argues that although rice production may have been beneficial to the women and the society as a whole, it has other implications on their gender roles that go beyond the purview of women’s empowerment. 


Women in Social Transformation in Africa



Department of History and International Studies

Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria

This paper is a modest attempt to examine the role of women in social transformation in Africa through case studies of some Nigerian women. The women reveal actions at different socio political tiers, namely, community/local government, state, and national. Their biographies indicate their transformations as well as the engagements they have had with social transformations highlighting and interpreting the constraints, opportunities and attainments of their efforts. To some extent, their roles show the points of convergence and divergence between the elements of localization on the one hand and those of globalization on the other. The paper concludes with the unambiguous claim that the careers of these women symbolize the relevance of these women as pivots of social transformation.



‘The Iyalode Farms’: Yoruba Female Farm Entrepreneurs of the Nineteenth Century

Olatunji Ojo

 Syracuse University, Syracuse New York

Studies on pre-colonial Yoruba land tenure have shed very little light on the issue of gender because of an assumption that women, under the patrilocal marriage system, and the notion of women as traders, could (and did) not own land. Hence, women's rights to land have been subsumed under usufruct rights, or access through male relatives. The difficulty of collecting empirical data directly from women partly accounts for this gender gap, not only in the literature on land tenure but also in feminist discourse. This paper, based on hitherto neglected primary sources, seeks to prove the contrary. It argues that in spite of the increased subordination of women as slaves and pawns, several women seized on changing economic opportunities to accumulated wealth and power. As more wives were accumulated and integrated into households, senior wives and female entrepreneurs acquired clients to whom they allocated various tasks. Such elite women were released from serving other people, to working for themselves. Like adult males, elite women secured land from various sources, including the seizure of unoccupied land, thereby becoming the primary owner through the Yoruba law of first occupancy.



Old Wives and New Tales in Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus.

Dept of English
401 Hall of Languages

Syracuse University, Syracuse New York 13244-1170

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Purple Hibiscus has garnered awards and accolades since its publication and deservedly so.

The novel tells the story of Kambili a teenaged girl living with her family, whose life is picture perfect from outside but rocky internally. Her father is a religious fanatic and wife beater his only redeeming feature being his generousity and the fact that he is the publisher of a pro-democracy newspaper opposed to military rule. Kambli’s mother on the other hand is docile, religious, mousy and timid. Kambili’s auntie is an educated, fearless liberated university teacher and is the only character that stands up to her father’s reign of tyranny.

 This paper argues that despite seeming novelties, Adichie’s novel follows a familiar path- the portrayal of female characters in Nigerian fiction as either timid witches or liberated unmarried termagants. It does seem that the more things change in the portrayal of females in Nigerian fiction, the more they seem the same.




Why there is no West Indian Church among the Susus in West Africa today: a critique of the Pongas Mission and its portrayal of blackness, 1855-1935


Waibinte Wariboko
University of the West Indies
Mona- Kingston


The evangelization of West Africa was a European initiative pursued under the auspices of missionary organizations such as the Church Missionary Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Also known and called “The Mission from the sons and daughters of Africa in the West Indies to Africa”, the Pongas Mission was the first and only collective Caribbean initiative designed and funded almost entirely by the Anglican Communions in Antigua, Barbados and Jamaica to “civilize” the “benighted” Susu speaking peoples of Conakry, Dominga, Fallangia, Farringia, Isles de Los and Dubrica – all in present day French-speaking Guinea-Conakry, West Africa - between 1855 and 1935. The West Indians of African descent in this programme, informed and motivated by the notion of race pride and belonging, argued that the redemption of Africa from its spiritual and socio-cultural degradation cannot be left to European missionary organizations alone; it was, they also argued, the moral and political responsibility of the black populations in the New World diaspora to rescue their ancestral homeland. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the evangelical and sociopolitical accomplishments of the Pongas Mission, including its impact on the black personhood in the Caribbean. 


 African Women and Resistance in Africa and the African Diaspora.

Tafari C. Miller

Rowan University, New Jersey, USA

African societies throughout the African Diaspora are filled with historical examples of women who fought against the exploits of western colonialism. Along with Queen Mother Yaa Asantewa, Sojourner Truth, and Winnie Mandela, thousands of African women have challenged and resisted against the confines of western imperialism, sexual discrimination, and racism. Their insuperable will to unify, organize, and empower people to fight for liberation from all forms of oppression made them appear to posses’ supernatural powers. In an attempt to further analyze the supreme role of women in social movements, I will examine the organizational impact African women made on Africa, Jamaica, and the United States when their hands were forced to pick up arms and resist. 

When it comes to organized rebellions or resistance movements, history books are more than often gender bias. They tend to highlight and give attention to the heroism of men who fought against colonialism. This style of writing in return fails to mention the women who stood along side men of valor if not on the front line creating strategic roles. African women also provided a sustaining force which allowed them to first baffle and finally conquer the imagined conquest of their enemy. Though many women has traveled down this revolutionary path, this paper primarily focuses on the heroism “sheroism”  and courage of African women warriors such as Nanny from Jamaica, Queen Nzinga of Angola and women of the Black Panther Party in the United States. All three examples of these women resisted against western imperialism and exemplified the African women’s strength and brilliance while fighting for the rights of the community. Each one of their amazing stories takes place in three different geographical locations, times frames, and oppressors but all of their aims fall under one humane title labeled freedom. 


 Before Rwanda: The Narratives of the Igbo Genocide of Nigeria

Ifeanyi Ezeonu
Department of Sociology

Brock University
St. Catharines, Ontario


Today, the discourse of genocide or ethnic cleansing hardly finishes without the narratives of Rwanda. In 1994, the oddity of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter once again resurfaced in the human tragedy that represents the worst of ethnic conflicts and hatred in modern Africa. In that year, almost a million Rwandan Tutsis and some moderate Hutus were slaughtered in one of the most savage of the 20th Century ethnic cleansing undertakings. With the best of media technologies, the Rwandan tragedy was brought home to the international community, whose leaders were wining and dining in a moving drama of impervious indifference. But thanks to modern technology, the Rwandan genocide and the political indifference of the international community to the mass slaughter in that desecrated land will take long to forget. However, before Rwanda, Africa has been a theatre of genocidal killings; and without the benefit of modern technologies, history appears to be trivialising or even forgetting those genocides. From the barbaric decimation of the Congolese people by Belgian King Leopold to the savage state-orchestrated massacre of Igbo people in both antebellum and postbellum Nigeria, the killing fields of Africa have gone largely unnoticed and understudied. In the case of Nigeria, the ethnic massacre of the Igbos has become almost an annual ritual in the northern part of the country, and is often ignored by the state apparatus.


Colonial legislation and Gender Transformation in Sub-Sahara Africa: The Nigerian perspective.

Mary Noelle E. EZEH,

Anambra State University,
Uli, Nigeria

Legislation is an organ of control, enabling a ruling class to subordinate the subjects to its overriding ideology and political agenda. It is also by means of legislation and effective enforcement of law that governments promote and maintain moral order in a given society. Legislation and effective enforcement of laws are therefore instruments of social change and transformation. When such social change exhibits the characteristics of sex biases, it is said to be a vehicle of gender transformation. At the dawn of the 20th century, the British Government established Colonial administration to take control of the territory named the Southern Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Legislation and enforcement of law became essential instruments in the governance of the peoples under its political jurisdiction. This study seeks to analyze the law and decrees enacted by the British Colonial Administration within the first two decades of the 20th century and verify how the enforcement of such laws became an instrument of gender transformation in Nigeria. The analysis is based on the examination of archival data, ranging from the private sector of marriage and cult to the public order of justice and commerce. It concludes by attempting to elucidate the impact of Colonial legislation on the social condition of Nigerian women in the post independent era.


Information and Communication Technologies and Women Trafficking


Obidigbo Ijeoma Precious

Rape in the Classical and Nigerian Societies

Olakunbi Olasope (Phd)
Dept of Classics,

University of Ibadan,Nigeria.


Rape is described as unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman and warranted a capital charge in the Greco-Roman world. Incidentally, it still carries a  capital charge in some societies and considered a felony in others. The aim of this paper is to examine the socio-legal status of women, particularly  women who have been victims of rape and other unwelcome sexual approaches in the Classical and Nigerian contexts using the comparative approach. This paper also seeks to answer why per vim stuprum, intercourse by force, is still grossly under-reported in contemporary societies and suggests a way forward for the Nigerian woman.


Transcending Gender-Specifics in the Commission of Crime?: Women and Crime in the Colonial Benue Province.


Adoyi Onoja
Department of History

Nasarawa State University
P.M.B 1022


 The assumption prevalent in the society and in the psyche of people is that most criminal acts are perpetrated by the male and that female involvement in crime is minimal if not non existent. Contemporary realities seem to indicate that the commissions of crimes transcend gender since the motivations for crime – social, economic, psychological, opportunity etc – are gender blind. These circumstances are widespread and affect all groups. Indeed in certain circumstances some groups are more susceptible than others.

As much as this knowledge of contemporary crime and gender involvement is known, what existed in the past remain unknown and this affects the understanding and appreciation of today’s realities in a historical context. Were women involved in crime in the colonial period? What type of crime were they involved in? What was the percentage of their involvement when compared to men in the period? This paper attempts to answer these questions using the Benue Province in the colonial period.

Information and Communication Technologies and Women Trafficking

Obidigbo Ijeoma Precious

National Universities Commission
Maitama Abuja

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) - and their rapid integration with our systems of governance, commerce and education - might be a great equalizing force, but the use of ICTs has created many new equality issues, and old equality issues in new clothing. Development of ICTs provides enormous opportunities for women, who should be an integral part of, and key actors, in the Information Society. On the other hand, these same technologies are also facilitating the sexual exploitation of women and children at local, national and international levels. Sexual predators and pimps use the Internet and other new technologies to stalk, sell and exploit women and children. Since these new technologies have been largely unregulated and because the Internet has created a global village that extends past jurisdictional boundaries, it is difficult for law enforcement officials to monitor and control such activities.

The ability to access information quickly and anonymously continues to have a profound impact on the world’s social and economic structures. However, the picture for women and other marginalized communities is a cause for great concern. Women simply aren’t accessing ICTs in the numbers men are, and the local digital divides between rural and urban, low and high-income communities is huge. The Information Society should enable women's empowerment and their full participation on the basis on equality in all spheres of society and in all decision-making processes. For this to happen, however, a gender equality perspective in access and the use of ICTs has to be ensured. This paper sets out to examine the roles of Information and Communication Technologies in women trafficking.




Solomon C. Madubuike

Sociological Applications Department,

Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State

This paper is based on ethnographic study that I carried out among Igbo families, town associations’ meetings and traders resident in Ibadan, Oyo State.  I spent a period of 30 months gathering data on what I call Risk Language and Identity: Igbo in Diaspora; which emphasizes the awesome destructive power inherent in preference of speaking their host language (Yoruba) than Igbo amongst family members in their home; in family meetings and in other Igbo cultural meetings.  This is to be expected given that language is the bedrock on which a society is built and its people identified as a distinct ethnic group; considering on the one hand, the overarching significance of the Yoruba language in the lives of many Igbo families as survival mechanism, even, in given Yoruba names to Igbo children born here, and on the other hand, the perceptions of the Igbo language by other ethnic groups as insignificant at the end of civil war in 1970 is manifest in the role of students both Igbo and non-Igbo who registered for Igbo language in secondary schools in Ibadan, is 0.5% when compared to the number of students of Igbo origin in Ibadan who registered for Yoruba language in WAEC/NECO examinations between 1995 and 2000 which account for 99.05%.  While there is no denying the poor quality of Igbo language spoken in Diaspora since the end of civil war, the need to prefer the host language do not just solve the problem generated by the fear and apprehension of “belonging and wanted “Identity” by the host community.

This paper therefore, considers the implications of risk language and ethno-cultural identity in Diaspora.  Specifically, on indigenous knowledge, values and morality, suggesting ways of averting the negative consequences risk language in Diaspora may have on Igbo culture; language; personality development; ethnic-identity, and concludes that until this problem of risk language and identity in Diaspora coursed by migration of Igbos is adequately tackled, the quest for Igbo unity and development will remain an genda for some distant future.

 Transcending Gender-Specifics in the Commission of Crime?: Women and Crime in the Colonial Benue Province.

Adoyi Onoja
Department of History

Nasarawa State University
P.M.B 1022



The assumption prevalent in the society and in the psyche of people is that most criminal acts are perpetrated by the male and that female involvement in crime is minimal if not non existent. Contemporary realities seem to indicate that the commissions of crimes transcend gender since the motivations for crime – social, economic, psychological, opportunity etc – are gender blind. These circumstances are widespread and affect all groups. Indeed in certain circumstances some groups are more susceptible than others.

As much as this knowledge of contemporary crime and gender involvement is known, what existed in the past remain unknown and this affects the understanding and appreciation of today’s realities in a historical context. Were women involved in crime in the colonial period? What type of crime were they involved in? What was the percentage of their involvement when compared to men in the period? This paper attempts to answer these questions using the Benue Province in the colonial period.


 Casting Shari’ah Stones: Misapplying the Laws of God, Stigmatizing ‘the Adulterous Woman’ in Northern Nigeria

Dr. Umar H.D. Danfulani (Reader),
Department of Religious Studies, University of Jos, Nigeria


From September 1999, Governor Ahmed Sani, Yeriman Bukura, the democratically elected Governor of Zamfara State, one of the predominantly Muslim states of Northern Nigeria introduced a bill containing proposals that will make Shari’ah the official law in the state into the House of Assembly for debate. The bill was accepted as the official law of Zamfara State on October 27th 1999 and was signed into law in accordance with the Islamic Penal Code on 27th January 2000. Eleven other states in northern Nigeria followed suit with the Shari’ah now operational in Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Adamawa, Katsina and Gombe.


The paper examines the negative and stigmatizing effects of Shari’ah law on ‘the adulterous woman’ in the Shari’ah compliant states of northern Nigeria. It raises fundamental weaknesses embedded in the misinterpretation of Shari’ah law itself as a basis for waving rajm stoning in the case of adultery. It also observes the misapplication of the Shari’ah in the northern Shari’ah law system, for instance, in the sentencing of Safiyyatu Hussaini, Amina Lawal and other women on the grounds of zina adultery.


The paper establishes misapplication of Shari’a law on four grounds: first, misapplication as to proof of adultery; for instance, the difficulty involved in proving adultery according to Shari’ah law. Second, the type of punishment to be meted out to zina adultery culprits. The third misapplication concerns ignorance of the legal and social conditions for imposing the death sentence by rajm stoning. Fourth and finally, the neglect of doubt with regards to the divorcee as it relates to the concept of kwantace the ‘sleeping pregnancy’ or foetus. The paper concludes that rajm stoning, as it has been applied in northern Nigeria so far is both a misapplication of the laws of God and a powerful social weapon that condemns and stigmatizes a woman for life.


 African Women and Children and the Challenges of the Globalization Process:
Implications on the Millennium Development Goal

Okpeh Ochayi Okpeh, Jr. Ph. D
Senior Lecturer and Consultant,
Gender and Development Issues
Department of History,

Benue State University, Makurdi


Research on the emergent New World Order (NWO), its nature, character, possibilities and prospects is rapidly increasing. However, scholars in seeking to interrogate its trajectory appear to dwell more on the political and economic significance of this development in the global strategic process. Usually done at the expense of other important variables such as gender, such scholarship tends to obscure the interface between global policies, social transformation and the trajectory of gender in a competitive but intricately linked world. It is against this background that this paper attempts a comparative interrogation of the implications of the emergent New World Order and the globalization process on African women and children within the context of the collapse of the developmental state in the continent and the ascendancy of the neo-liberalism. The paper adopts the multidisciplinary approach and meta-theoretical focus in its data conception, articulation and analysis. The evidence that would result from these would go a long way in buttressing the argument that in the emerging and highly competitive world of the 21st century, African women and children would be worst off because of the burden of underdevelopment and dependency the continent carried into the new millennium and, more importantly, the unequal nature and character of the New World Order and the Globalization process. The paper concludes with an examination of the implications of this on the feasibility of the Millennium Development Goal in the continent.     







The austere traditional African role performance and ascription on the basis of age, gender, influence and kinship was multi-faceted and lacked pattern. The pattern was doomed to crash; and has been receding -indeed gradually throughout the post independence era in Nigeria. The transformation process took various forms and speed in different parts of the country including the urban and rural areas. This development has several implications. For instance, the female gender has become a revolutionary force in the socio-economic spheres and the Nation’s body politic rather than the erstwhile load-carriers, subsistence farmers or housekeepers etc. Not only their roles, even the horizons and the level of consciousness of Nigerian women have tremendously changed over time. The work is periodized into the pre-colonial and post–colonial periods. It particularly isolates socio-economic structures and factors responsible for these changes, which appears to be far more dramatic than the transformation of gender roles in political activities as often assumed in Nigeria. Furthermore, it is argued that as new forms of feminization of labour continue to emerge, there is need to carefully examine their patterns to determine future directions of the trend in Nigeria. The conclusion drawn from the essay is a comparative one between the level of transformation in the roles of men and women in Nigeria in favor of the female gender.


Africa and the Challenges of Globalisation: the Economic and Cultural Dimensions


Olukayode Owojori
University of Ibadan

The socio-political economic past of Africa since the 19th century is one of foreign domination and Western imperialist influence. Such features as exploitation, extraction, and exportation of natural resources and raw materials have become permanent features in the interaction of Africa with the West and other developed nations, with the former, of course at the receiving end.

Down through the ages, Africa, the so called “Dark Continent” has passed through such metamorphic processes as slave trade, colonization and the subsequent rise in nationalistic struggles that led to the wave of independence across the continent. Due to the obvious negative legacies of colonization (witnessing the looping together of loose contraption and strange “bed-fellows” as nation states), the center could not hold and so Africa relapsed into differing features of neo-colonialism- Europe and America still manipulating the stranglehold.

Thus, new terms as SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme), WTO (World Trade Organization), IMF (International Monetary Fund) and its Siamese, the World Bank, economic Liberalization, all heralding a subsisting period of massive industrial hegemony, which, in fact, are aspects of globalization, became subtle means of control in the Africa – West relationship. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and rapid industrialization by now has reduced the world into a “global village’, further enhancing the process of restructuring or “globalizing” the world economy.

What is Globalisation? How has the phenomenon evolved? What has been the lot of Africa in the era of globalization? Are there obvious economic and cultural challenges for the continent in this era of globalization or is it merely tagging along as the policies are being formulated in the developed economies? This research effort will attempt to deal with these and other question by taking a wide look at earlier works in these areas, by considering available primary and secondary sources of data and materials to prove a gradual erosion of values which has left the nations of Africa economically comatose and culturally bankrupt. The paper shall also employ available empirical evidences, facts and figures to drive to a conclusion that unless Africa rises to the challenges of mastering its own destiny, we might just be on the verge of another nightmarish experience of neo-colonization dressed in the modern garb of globalization. The research will primarily depend on in-depth analysis of existing literature and with particular reference to influence on Africa.


 Exceptionality and Typicality: The Gender Question in Benue state.

Dennis TeghTegh
Department of theatre arts
Faculty of arts.

Benue state university makurdi

The issues that affect men and women in their specific roles in society, remain unchanging in the midst of so much talk.where appreciable change is recorded,it is an exception.this cyclical meandering is an anathema to developmentand has greatly impinged on the developmental train.In benue state ,roles have
remained stoic and any attempt to suggest flux is viewed with much resistance. Indeed it is dangerous to think of having equal opportunities  between men and women.To even think of a woman as having certain rights in some social issues, is also a taboo. The above scenario thus presents itself for an overview witjh an aim of suggesting functional ways of transforming gender relationships from exceptionality and typicality to a more proactive co-existance between the two sexes.The thgeatre option is suggested.  


Discourse on Gender, Culture and Human Rights Legislation and Their Conflicts:






Gender, culture and human rights legislation are basic issues which a nation cannot run away from.  The inhabitants of a nation are necessarily made up of the two sexes. The way a nation that is culturally divergent or plurally constituted approaches the issue of gender varies. This is because the cultural definition, approach and attachment of responsibility to either of the sexes depend on the way the particular segment of the nation or people regard each of the sexes. Happily however, even where there are oppressive notions with reference to the definition, approach and attachment of responsibility in respect of either of the sexes, it is now common knowledge that the recognition, adaptation and enforcement of various human rights norms and legislation have been able to solve the conflicts that had arisen consequent upon retrogressive, oppressive and outdated conceptions with respect to dignity of persons that may be the content of the cultural tie or segment of the nation.  Law as a means of balancing conflictual interests and managing social problems is one idea that has been able to achieve the above stated objectives.  The institutions of law such as regular municipal courts, international tribunals and courts have been put in place for the purpose of achieving the above objectives.  Additionally, the Universal Human Rights norms such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and Indeed, in the case of Nigeria, the various Nigerian Constitutions have been able to provide the basis for the determination of minimal requirements of social conduct and benefit that must be required of and granted to each individual.  Consequently, the perceived segmental conflicts in respect of cultural difference with regard to gender problems have been reduced to the minimum.


Disparities in Gender Relations and the Family: A Historical Perspective.


Charles Bala Azgaku
Department of History

Nasarawa State University


Women and men spheres of activities in most of the Nigerian traditional societies were rather complementary although this does not necessarily imply equality between them. The extent of inequality between sexes depended on ethnic groups, geographical settings,social class and historical epochs. However it seems more appropriate to say that the male sphere was traditionally accorded more value and prestige. A Nigerian woman is not only subordinate to her husband and men in her own family of orientation but also to the entire members of her husband's family(males and females). The Nigerian woman is born into a culture of male supremacy. The access of women to critical resources like land, labour and capital depended on their position in the family, lineage or community. The role of the Nigerian woman in the economic sphere is largely inhibited because of lack of access to family land, capital and control over her own time and the products of her labour. Discrimination of women to land,capital and education persist in many countries owing to customary attitudes,early marriages,inadequate and gender biased teaching,pregnacies and sexual harrasment. Efforts is therefore made in this paper to examine these shortcomings with a view to recommending possible and affordable ways or options of resolving these challenges.


Gender, Ethnicity and Citizenship: The Nigerian Experience, 1960-2005

Akachi Odoemene,
Unit of African History,

Institute of African Studies,
University of Ibadan
Ibadan, Nigeria


Ethnic identity and citizenship questions are highly powerful, political and historical questions in Nigeria. They are ‘power’ forces and concepts, not only in ethnic politics but also in gender relations, which we inherited from the colonial period, but have failed to redefine or reform adequately over the years. At present, their nature has led to deprivations, suppression and further subjugation of the female gender in the society. What then accounts for the disparity in citizenship and identity rights between the genders? What has been done over the years to give a sense of belonging to the deprived gender in the society? Are there possible options for a better gender sensitive policy towards ethnic identity and citizenship in the country? This paper investigates the historical backgrounds of the ethnic identity and citizenship problem, and presents an analysis of the problematic within the historiography of gender relations in Nigeria. It attempts this task in the context of notions of equity, exclusion and liberalization and the competing contestations over them. This qualitative essay employs an eclectic framework in social research and adopts the longitudinal study method. 

Land Ownership and Gender Relations of Production in Benue State of Nigeria

Idu Ogbe Ode
Sociology Department,

Benue State University, Makurdi


   Land which is a veritable factor of production in a developing economy encompasses economic, political and anthropological meanings to the people. Individuals are attached to land for various reasons: farming, residence, religions (worship) etc. In an agrarian society like Benue state, land ownership confers power and privileges and a source of development. The recurrent conflicts over land in the state can be attributed to the high premium placed on land. Due to communal ownership of land in a patriarchal society such as Benue, women are denied access to land. This is in spite of their enormous contributions to the socio-economic development of the state as they constitute major proportion of farming population.

The paper examines the gender disparity in land ownership and the need for equity in access to land and gender transformation in the overall production process in Benue state of Nigeria.


Re-imagining Woman’s Identity in an African (Nigerian) Context


Rose Uchem, MSHR.
Executive Director,
Ifendu For Women’s Development,
No. 1. Ihiala Avenue, City Layout,

New Haven, P. O. Box 9677,
Enugu, 400001, Nigeria.
Tel: 234-80 3471 8951

African cultures are replete with symbols and rituals that evoke deep religious meaning, akin to the Christian sacraments, in celebrating and affirming human identity and relationships. An example is the Igbo Kolanut ritual, which celebrates hospitality, communion, blessing, inclusion, and reconciliation. Ironically, this great symbol of inclusion is at the same time, a symbol of women’s exclusion and oppression. This is in the sense that it denies women’s equal humanity with men and treats them as ‘other’ when they are omitted and passed over during the ceremonial head count of who is who which is part of the Kolanut ritual. Whenever this happens, as in the case of a growing number of women who have achieved excellence in their field of specialty in the Nigerian civil arena, whatever empowerment these women have experienced elsewhere gets cancelled out when it comes to the symbolic and ritual arenas. Therefore, it remains a challenge for African opinion leaders to re-examine aspects of African cultures that undermine women’s human identity and dignity and therefore indirectly hampers development and progress since it hurts solidarity and unity between men and women particularly where symbols are concerned.
This paper explores the cultural and subliminal dimensions of the present social construction of gender in Nigeria around the symbol of the Igbo kolanut ritual. It calls for a critical re-examination of the attendant human rights violations against women and urges for change in the interest of development and progress. Recognizing the power and role of symbols in the human unconscious in influencing attitudes and behaviors, this paper calls for a critical re-evaluation and change of the obnoxious discriminations against women in the Igbo Kolanut ritual.

Household food security strategies for improved livelihoods in Nigeria.


Ajala ,Christiana .G Phd
Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development,

University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
E- mail

This study examines household food security strategies of rural women for improved livelihoods in Osun State, Nigeria.  Specifically, livelihood activities, socio-personal characteristics, constraints faced by rural women and coping mechanisms in alleviating food insecurity were examined.  Three hundred and eighty eight rural women were selected for the study using multi-stage sampling techniques.  Household food security status (HFSS) were measured using availability, affordability, and accessibility of as indicators. Interview Schedule was used for data collection.  Data were analyzed using frequency counts, Pearson Product Moment Correlation (PPMC), and Chi-square (÷2).


Prominent livelihood activities of rural women include crop farming (61.4%), trading\ marketing (35.5%), livestock rearing (12.0%), and crop processing (26.5%) and gathering of non timber forest products (18.0%).  The first and second most serious constraints to household food security strategies are lack of land (55.8%) and lack of credit facilities (20.3%).  Others are lack of information (12.7%) and poor infrastructural facilities (12.2%).  Their coping strategies include eating less preferred foods (75.1%), borrowing money (62.6%), skipping meals (67.0%), short term immigration (32.5%), remittances from relations (60.5%) and home gardening (63.8%).  Significant relationships exist between the household food security status of rural dwellers and the following independent variables: marital status (÷2=8.98), educational level (÷2=25.63), constraints to household food security strategies (÷2=28.21), coping strategies (÷2 =28.21), all at p<0.05.  Significant correlations were found between rural women’s household food security status and age (r=0.109) and household sizes (r=0.127) respectively. Women face a lot of problems as a result of weak land tenure rights, neglect to agricultural extension information and barriers to access productive inputs like credit, appropriate technologies and improved seeds. Government should make policies that would favor women and boost their production activities.  This will raise their household food security status and promote improved livelihoods.                  



Reconciling western views with African views on gender balancing, the case the Igbo.


Ikenna  Odife
Department of History and International Studies

Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka
Anambra State.


This paper argues that there are diametrically opposed positions on Western and African views on gender balancing. It posits that gender roles in African societies are complimentary rather than competitive as in the case Western role. The patriarchal nature of African societies not withstanding, Women are not precluded from making contributions on the day-to-day running of the affairs of the society nor do they suffer overt or covert discrimination in the access to the wealth of society. It submits that it is the Western paradigm of gender that necessitates the agitation for gender balancing in their society and even the current move for it in Africa.



Tinmah in Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative: Linguistic and Geographical Indicators from the Niger Delta

Dorothy Chinwe Ukaegbu
Community College of Southern Nevada
Since the beginning of studies on Olaudah Equiano, the location of Tinmah, which he mentioned in his autobiography, has remained a mystery to Equiano scholars. This research seeks to prove that Equiano’s Tinmah is one and the same modern-day town of Teinma of the River's State of modern Nigeria, in the delta area of the Niger estuary. Teinma is located east of the Niger River; to its north lie Degema and Abonnema; to the east lie Buguma, Bile, and Bakana; and to the south lies Ke, which is by the Sombriero River that empties into the Atlantic Ocean.


This paper comes in the wake of evidence from ethnographic materials as well as documented oral and written histories of the Igbo and Niger Delta groups that lend support to Equiano's account of linguistic, cultural and geographical features of "Tinmah" and surrounding areas, during the slave-trading era of the 18th century. Among the factors that contributed to the current controversy over the authenticity of Equiano's autobiography was the rendition of African words by the earliest writers, explorers, and Equiano himself, who at the time did not have any established orthography to go by, hence the rendition by Equiano of the Kalabari Ijo town of Teinma as Tinmah.


This paper will examine written evidence from early explorers and slave traders, as well as from Equiano himself and colonial administrators, and early attempts at Igbo orthographies, as a way of demonstrating that spellings have changed between then and now, and so it will be unscholarly for anyone to discredit Equiano's own spellings of names and places just because they do not correspond to our spellings today. The discovery of Tinmah opens up new areas of future research.


Olaudah Equiano's Status in 18th Century "Eboe": A Gentleman or Ogaranya?

Ekwueme A. Ogbonna
Community College of Southern Nevada
Dorothy Chinwe Ukaegbu
Community College of Southern Nevada

In his article, "Defining a Gentleman: the Status of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa," Vincent Carretta applied the Western concept of "gentleman" to Olaudah Equiano's status in his 18th century Igbo world. Carretta relied on John Adams' 1822 memoir, Sketches Taken During Ten Year Voyages to Africa, Between the Years 1786 and 1800. In this memoir, Adams had made reference to the "Heebos" and "Heebo slaves" who had scarification marks ("breeches") on their foreheads as
"gentlemen." According to Adams, menial tasks were beneath the "breeche" slaves. On the basis of this assumption, Carretta concluded that since Equiano was in line to receive the "breeche" (embrenche, Igburichi) marks he was a gentleman and was destined to live a life of leisure.


This paper challenges the dual concepts of gentleman and leisure as they are applied by Carretta to Equiano and proposes that instead, the Igbo concepts of ”Ogaranya" and "Dimkpa" (symbols which lie at the heart of Igbo manhood) are more appropriate terms for Equiano's 18th century. It also asserts that the Western concept of leisure was alien to 18th century Igbo society.


This study revisits the age-old issue of representation by using three modes of criticism: insider perspective, anthropology, and African literary theory, and contends that the meanings of cultural symbols derive from the culture that created them.  


Phallocentric Myths and Its Global Implication on Gender Transformation : A Study of Ike’s Conspiracy of Silence and Ekwens’s Jagua Nana.


Elizabeth Onogwu
Department of English,

Benue State University.

That there are male centered myths and stereotypic roles and features assigned to women in male authored literature from the wake of the 1950s to the 1980s when male writers virtually owned the writing business is no longer new. what is new however is the fact that a book published as recently as 2005 is still overtly phallocentric and biased,  so much that readers of such  books are taken aback and forced to ask: what is the place of such a book in this era of globalization where women are no longer in the dark as to their rights? Are such writers taking women back to the days of being "seen and not heard"?. This paper examines stereotypes and the language male authors bestow on their female characters, using two novels with a publication gap of at least two decades. The paper further discusses the implication of such stereotypes and prejudices on African women and their quest for socio-political and economic empowerment and concludes with a challenge to African authors to be gender sensitive in their works on the one hand and the perception of African women on the other.  

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