A call for a special issue: Celebrating Women’s Legacies: African Women and Social Transformation in a Global Context. The issue will be guest edited by Dr. Josehpine Ahikire.

Deadline for Title and Abstract: April 30, 2011.
Deadline for Paper: August 31, 2011
Submit your title, abstract and paper directly to Dr. Ahikire at jahikire at ss.mak.ac.ug

Celebrating Women’s Legacies: African Women and Social Transformation in a Global Context

In the 1980’s, women studies scholarship in Africa was largely dependent on policy-oriented applied research methods; it was donor driven, undertheorized and depoliticised. By the 1990s, the discipline gained strength as a number of women entered the field of gender studies. Despite the dominance of Western theoretical constructions, African women emerged as the central subject of social inquiry, raising questions about which aspects should be visible, which should be silenced, and what are the consequences of both in theoretical and practical terms. Questions about visibility and silencing point to the need to go beyond women as eternal victims. While it is undeniable that historically women have been disadvantaged relative to men, perpetually looking at them as victims creates a discourse of lamentation that negates rather than promote knowledge about them.

Every continent has its own peculiar crisis. In Africa, wars, population displacement, and global economic marginalization converge to amplify the problem of poverty in people’s life, and in feminist research as well. When research is continually driven by the plight of women, we breech the thin line between politics and academia and produce scholarship that is mired in lamentation. Although such research does alert societies and governments of the need for drastic change, its emphasis on developmentalism (i.e., an ideology driven by development policies) empties it of imaginative content. This loss of critical insight is further aggravated by the instrumentalist insistence of governments and donors to treat women as newly discovered resources to be harnessed and exploited.

The issue we face today is: How do we actively build a body of knowledge that addresses the problem of development without necessarily falling into the trap of developmentalism? How do we build critical feminist resources? Hence, for this special issue of JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, we opt for a conceptual framework and an orientation that treats African women as social agents. We aim to harness hitherto silenced knowledges by, for, and about African women; we seek to highlight positive images of movers and resilient actors quietly transforming their societies; and we strive to unearth critical voices in cultural and feminist knowledge. The selected thematic areas below are based on an urgent need to articulate the place of African women in social transformation, and to contribute substantively to developing African feminism. Contributors are invited to look at social transformation holistically, and to forcefully articulate the centrality of African women’s agency in maintaining and upholding societies. Historical pieces, stories, poems and narratives of the contemporary are all welcome.

Proposed Thematic Areas

* Facing new masculinities head on: case studies and prospects
* Sexuality and pleasure in contemporary Africa
* Unsung heroes and new images of the African Woman
* Women mobilised, women organising, and women collectivised
* Women’s resilience and Peace Dividends in post conflict situations
* Economic Empowerment revisited

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