This course aims to explore the diversity of Black feminist theorizing undertaken by women in different parts of the African diaspora. Our primary focus will be to raise discussion about the diversity of African women’s lives across continents, based on an understanding on their social subject positions through their own cultural productions, primarily the written word (and also art, music, dance, dress and other cultural forms.)
We shall discuss the question of what “feminism” means in Black/Africa worlds by looking at the issues through three concentric circles; what are the local gender constructions through which women are socialized?; in what ways do these accord with or contradict notions of women as subjects of a state?; given these two sets of issues, in what ways do Continental African feminist strategies (if the can be seen in any unified manner) differ from or parallel strategies evolved in the United States or other parts of the Black world to deal with similar concerns?
Texts for this curse will be selected from a wide range of African and African-American feminist cultural theorists such as bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Kimberle Crenshaw, Ifi Amediume, Oyeronke Oyewumi, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, and Amina Mama.
Field ClassCountry: Ghana
Date: September 27, 2017
Visit the headquarters of the AWDF and go on a site visit to one of their grantees in the Accra area. Students will witness first-hand how the relationship between theories on women’s agency and leadership are negotiated in praxis by visiting all departments of a philanthropic funding agency followed by a visit to a grassroots agency they fund. During the Field Class, students will learn about the process of grant application and approval, and will have the opportunity to observe grantees in their place of work. On their return to base, working in groups, students will think through a problem they recognize as impacting women’s lives. Placing themselves in the role of a grassroots agency or NGO, students will work together to create a mock proposal for funding, as if they were petitioning the AWDF for review. Groups will present their proposals on the class discussion day/debrief immediately following departure from Accra.
1. Recognize the different strategies that inform social change activism.
2. Get first hand access to the workings of a major funder.
3. Participate in an afternoon sharing and observing a funded group at work.