As a feminist historian of Africa, I am particularly interested in the gendering of identities in modern Africa. I focus on the gendering of identities in state politics, body politics, and religious politics in twentieth century Cameroon. I demonstrate the larger importance of gender relations and the construction of gendered identities, illuminating the lived realities of people who endeavor to challenge and renegotiate identities in changing political, social, and religious landscapes. In doing so, they find new alternatives to reclaim or preserve authority and agency, both individual and collective. My work illustrates that gender is a focal point of these changes.
My first book project, Gender, Separatism, and Anglophone Nationalism in Twentieth Century Cameroon, examines the gendering of political identity, nationalism, and separatist/secession movements in early postcolonial Cameroon, a West African country with British and French administrative legacies. I trace the origin of Cameroonian women's roles in the effort to maintain Anglophone separatism, political identity, and cultural values in a Francophone-dominated federal republic (1961-1972). This role did not take the form of openly criticizing the government in Francophone Cameroon as annexationist and hegemonic; women left this to the men who openly demanded secession. Rather, in this period, women journalists, the wives of state officials, the few female politicians, and other educated urban elite women carved new spaces of socio-political power by using a variety of mass media outlets to monitor women’s behaviors and thus subtly stressed Anglophone Cameroonian separatism and nationalism. Through this regulation, particularly of other urban elite women, they staked a claim for women's behaviors within domestic, community, and national spaces as the lynchpin to preserving respectability, gender norms, and socio-political identity in English-speaking urban towns in early postcolonial Cameroon.
HIS 1307 World History since 1500
HIS 3318 Modern African History
HIS 3319 Women and Gender in Modern Africa