Stephen Ellis Annual Lecture by Nanjala Nyabola: African Feminism as Method

African Studies Centre, Leiden University

Thursday, Dec 09, 2021
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (UTC)

Registration Required

Hosts

African Studies Centre, Leiden University

Languages

English
English

Channels

Gender

Virt Africa

This event will take place both online and physically in Leiden. All registrees will receive a link to the online platform one day before the start of the event.

The 2021 Stephen Ellis Annual Lecture will be given by Dr Nanjala Nyabola, independent writer and researcher based in Nairobi, Kenya.

African Feminism as Method
It is sometimes said that if wealth was the product of hard work then African women would be the wealthiest people in the world. Undoubtedly, African women work, and African womanhood is often inseparable from the idea of labour. Yet African women’s work is rarely properly accounted for in the analysis of African politics and society, presented mostly as peripheral to the “real work” of politics as done by men. African feminisms in turn remain marginal to the central understanding of feminism as a political orientation and an approach to understanding societies, doubly marginalised both relative to men and to other feminisms. Our analysis of what African women do and why they do it remains instrumentalist and focused on their possible impact, rather than unpacking any possible underlying theorietical value that they may hold.
The goal of this presentation is to articulate a possible theoretical framework for African women’s work and African feminisms as political science method. Examining key moments in African women’s history like the Thuku Resistances of 1922 and the Aba Women’s War of 1920, the presentation will outline key characteristics of African women’s political organisation, mobilisation and action. Reflecting on key moments in the post-colonial era, the presentation will highlight the new ideas that this framework for African feminism uncovers. Finally, drawing from the author’s own research on Kenyan politics in the digital age, the presentation will demonstrate how African feminism was deployed as a political method to situate contemporary African politics in the Digital age. In this way the presentation will argue that African feminism as a political method is a valuable addition the toolkit of studying African societies, and indeed societies around the world. 

Hosts

African Studies Centre, Leiden University