African Gender Research and Post Coloniality: Legacies and Challenges
Much African gender research draws extensively on the discipline of anthropology, and the predominant emphasis in many gender initiatives on the continent remains technocratic and narrowly developmentalist. Alternatives to traditional anthropological and technicist methods and ideas have been developed by feminist scholars in a variety of fields. In historical research from the late 80s, for example, Fatima Mernissi (1988) and Bonlanle Awe (1991) explored the need for “herstory” in African historiography, with their comprehensive accounts of women’s agency and subordination transcending the limitations of insular anthropology and developmentalism. Developing these themes in more recent work, Cheryl Johnson-Odim and Nina Mba in For Women and the Nation (1997) link the texture of historical process to a Nigerian woman’s life narrative in order to approach issues of gender and development from a holistic and humanist point of view.