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Feminist Review

, Volume 98, Supplement 1, pp e4–e20 | Cite as

what does it mean to do feminist research in African contexts?

  • Amina Mama
Local/Global Interrogations Panel

introduction

Feminist scholars in the African region have spent the last decade working collaboratively with writers and activists at various locations on the continent to build an intellectual community, around the shared goal of strengthening the feminist politics of gender studies in African universities. Many challenges confront this kind of work. Systemic challenges arise from the domination of global policy arenas by narrow neo-liberal discourses that uncritically privilege the role of the market in driving development. Unstable and undemocratic national and local political environments pose challenges to academic freedom and constrain intellectual cultures through direct censorship, as well as through sustained climates of intimidation and threat that lead many scholars to censor themselves, and avoid teaching or researching potentially contentious issues (Imam and Mama, 1994; Sall, 2000). At the institutional level, Africa's universities remain steeped in patriarchal...

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper was presented as part of Feminist Review's Conference celebrating 30 years of the journal. The ‘Feminist Theory & Activism in Global Perspective’ Conference was held at SOAS, The University of London, on September 26, 2009.

With thanks to the Feminist Review Editorial Collective for useful editorial feedback on the initial version, and to Margo Okazawa-Rey for many productive discussions on feminist principles in diverse contexts.

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© Feminist Review 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amina Mama

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