African Feminisms: Claire Griffiths’ paper on the Gendering of Empires

With thanks to Dr Margaret Majumdar for making this information available.

The final paper in the Finding Africa series 2017, on the theme of African feminisms, was presented this month at the University of Leeds by Claire Griffiths of the University of Chester. Her paper ‘Postcolonial Afterlives and the Gendering of Empires: a Franco-African Experience’ focused on the intersection of gender and social justice in those areas of Africa that came under French colonial occupation. Following a rapid overview of the history of exogenous (Western/French) politico-legal structures introduced into the African colonies, the paper proposed that as such structures increasingly framed all aspects of the governance and ‘development’ of the colonies so they embedded discriminatory practices into public life. It went on to question the degree to which these structures and practices have been addressed and dismantled in the postcolonial era, noting the very recent development in the 21 st century of gender studies as an acknowledged field of academic enquiry in the Francophone African academy, and concluding with recent UN data on education and literacy levels across the West Africa region. Disaggregated for gender, these data flag up female gender as the most significant factor of discrimination in relation to the variables and quantitative evidence used by the international community to inform social policy making today. A lively discussion followed in which participants debated the significance of data, the questions that lie behind national statistical reporting, reaffirming the need for decolonising academic practice and engaging extensively with knowledges generated in and from the Francophone African regions.

For further information, please contact: Claire H. Griffiths at c.griffiths@chester.ac.uk

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