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by Mary E. Modupe Kolawole

Download Womanism and African Consciousness eBook
ISBN:
0865435413
Author:
Mary E. Modupe Kolawole
Category:
History & Criticism
Language:
English
Publisher:
Africa World Pr (August 1, 1996)
Pages:
216 pages
EPUB book:
1263 kb
FB2 book:
1188 kb
DJVU:
1211 kb
Other formats
lit mobi rtf txt
Rating:
4.9
Votes:
511


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This book is a comprehensive study of the African woman's cultural, societal, and political audibility. Mary E. Modupe Kolawole is currently a senior lecturer in Literature and Women's Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Through an in-depth examination of the history of oral and written genres by and about women, the author challenges the readily accepted notion that African women are "voiceless" members of society. Providing the base for her study is the concept of "Womanism" - an ideology which the she defines as the "totality of feminine self-expression, self-retreival, and self-assertion in positive cultural ways".

This book will be of considerable interest to those studying womanism, African womanism, African feminism, and African/Africana Studies in general.

Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). This book will be of considerable interest to those studying womanism, African womanism, African feminism, and African/Africana Studies in general. It will perhaps be of less interest to American feminists, however, unless they are (as they should be!) interested in a critical African perspective.

Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Womanism and African Consciousness by Mary . This book is a comprehensive study of the African woman's cultural, societal, and political audibility. Through an in-depth examination of the history of oral and written genres by and about women, the author challenges the readily accepted tion that African women are voiceless members of society.

by Mary E. Modupe Kolawole.

This book is a comprehensive study of the African woman's cultural, societal and political audibility. Through an in-depth historical critique of indigenous oral and written genres by and about women, the author challenges the accepted notion that African women are "voiceless" members of society

Womanism and African consciousness. Mary Ebun Modupe Kolawole. 2. View via Publisher.

Womanism and African consciousness. Through an in-depth examination of the history of indigenous oral and written genres by and about Kolawale traces the invisibility myth and, independent. Self Representation and the Dynamics of Culture and Power in African Women's Writing.

Africana womanism" is a term coined in the late 1980s by Clenora Hudson-Weems intended as an ideology applicable to all women of African descent. It is grounded in African culture and Afrocentrism and focuses on the experiences, struggles, needs, and desires of Africana women of the African diaspora. It distinguishes itself from feminism, or Alice Walker's womanism. Africana womanism pays more attention to and gives more focus on the realities and the injustices in society in regard to race.

Kolawole, Mary E. Modupe. Womanism and African Consciousness. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1997. Projection of Postcolonial African Woman's Issues in Three Selected Novels by Flora Nwapa. Their penchant to portray an androcentric narrative is at variance with the female gender that are trivialized through practices like patriarchy, tradition, culture, gender socialization process, marriage and domestic enslavement.

This book is a comprehensive study of the African woman's cultural, societal, and political audibility. Through an in-depth historical critique of indigenous oral and written genres by and about women, the author challenges the accepted notion that African woman are "voiceless" members of society. At the base for her study is the concept of "Womanism" - an ideology which she defines as the "totality of feminine self-expression, self-retrieval, and self-assertion in positive cultural ways." This methodology reveals hidden areas of audibility and calls for a new generation of writers who will create a global consciousness about the realities of the African woman and women of African descent. The issues discussed are important and relevant to current dialogue among critics of feminism. Her conclusions, particularly on the issue of the "invisibility" myth and its origins, are well supported. Tracing the development of the portrayal of women in literature in a comprehensive and cohesive manner, the author concludes that African women writers are not passive to their condition - they are not "voiceless." She recommends a dialogic approach to modern criticism in order to accommodate all approaches to the African woman's self-definition. A high level of consciousness, she asserts, is central to self-recovery for the African woman and can be attained through African womanist ideology.
  • Axebourne
Great book gave me just the right information I needed about womanism and African feminism.
  • JoJoshura
Dr. Mary E. Modupe Kolawole is a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. She has also written Gender Perceptions and Development in Africa and Zulu Sofola: Her Life & Her Works.

She begins this 1997 book with the statement, “The space occupied by African women in contemporary discourse on women is still a domain that has not been adequately explored despite an increasing interest from the continent and from outside. The invention of the African women is being interrogated by several women writers but a hiatus still exists and this gives the impression of voicelessness and absences even when history presents alternative realities…. the liminal voiceless African woman … is still predominantly portrayed as a victim in various ways.” (Pg. 3)

She states, “The starting point for Africans is the search for and enunciation of Africaness as a pre-requisite for any coalition with other women globally. Feminism, like any ideology, is socially constructed and the intertwined nature of gender, race, culture, class, and nationalism are central to African women’s notion of self-assertion. Uprooting any single agency of oppression will not solve their problems… we have a host of critics who still consider feminism as the master key to all women’s problems and the tool for judging their values… Because of the emergence and increase in the activities of many non-western theorists, women’s self-expression is no longer a Eurocentric domain, but many of these women are advocating different versions of feminism… It is the failure to recognize this that has caused many African women to doubt the authenticity of Western feminists and propose other terms of self-expression.” (Pg. 14-15)

She explains, “These women seek a more holistic approach that is sufficiently inclusive to appreciate the specific African cultural definition of womanhood and empowerment… So this alternative, a womanist theory, emerged from the increasing awareness of African women that self-naming is fundamental to these problems… Self-naming is very central to African world-view. In many African cultures, naming almost assumes a sacred status. One doesn’t just name a child in traditional African society. Diverse considerations such as family traits and achievement, lineal peculiarities or divine guidance determine a child’s name.” (Pg. 26)

She argues, “Wrong emphasis and prioritization by feminists who claim to be fighting on behalf of African women are responsible for the indifference or rejection of feminisms by many African women… These women are not seeking to replace one subjugation or separatism with another. African women yearn for a society in which they can assert their inner resourcefulness by rejecting the fetters of tradition and any aspects of socialization that that puts them at a disadvantage. They seek to convince men that they can be productive in the home and outside the home by their resilience and dynamic drive in economic areas. African women are interested in rehumanizing the world by enhancing their roles positively even as they consider themselves more suitable for certain roles than men.” (Pg. 30-31)

She points out, “The myth that African women are free and need no struggle for self-esteem is as dangerous as the myth of African women’s total effacement and invisibility… One needs to see African women’s experience objectively and not emphasize one role at the expense of others. The place of women in matriarchal African societies transcended the mother image, as we see in formidable roles of women in public spheres as well.” (Pg. 51)

She notes, “The impact of African women writer’s development include the transformation of male writers’ depiction of women. Writers who presented typical biased pictures of women in their early works began to show sensitivity to women’s needs and recreated more positive depictions of female characters. Modern myths have been successfully used to cause a new awareness of the woman’s reality. The initial emphasis of myth as ritual has given way to the secular depiction of myth.” (Pg. 88-89)

She observes, “Much of African women’s literature has been concerned with change, overtly or covertly. Indeed, the very process of literary creativity as an aspect of African women’s cultural production is about change. Many of the writers have confessed that they are motivated to write by the impulse to change the status quo, interrogate patriarchy, imperialism and western feminism. This is closely related to the desire to liberate African women, change their consciousness and recreate a positive self-perception to enhance progress. African women are aware that change cannot take place in vacuo, but within a dynamic cultural crucible. Consequently, many have recreated women in their literature as agencies not only of culture but also of active socio-political change.” (Pg. 153)

She says, “Change is a factor shaping women’s lives and writers cannot pretend that it does not exist, as some feminists do. Social change is a reality in Africa, and the woman’s adaptation to it is no longer a myth but a reality. So, women writers have debunked the claim of silence and invisibility… There is, therefore, a shift from the kind of stereotypes being created by African women writers in their early works. They have become more overt, more convinced, even more revolutionary in their depiction of women… A new form of woman’s bonding is also revealed.” (Pg. 164)

She comments, “A conscious effort is being made by women of African heritage in the diaspora to construct a bridge in spite of centuries of enforced alienation. History is no longer an immovable barrier; now these women are transcending history to reconstruct the ties that bind us together as Africans. The diverse stumbling blocks created by centuries of forced dispersal of the Black race are being demolished to turn them into stepping stones, even corner stones in the search for Black people’s emancipation and self-restoration, globally. Women writers in the diaspora are at the frontline in this effort. It is not coincidence that the Black literary production in America has been dominated by women giants in the last three decades… These women… have accepted the ambivalent complex heritage and the need to bring out the best of the two worlds by enhancing and not effacing African cultural traits.” (Pg. 191)

She summarizes, “The African woman … is actively seeking channels of self-definition in a changing society. Many see feminism as imperialistic while others are comfortable with it as they seek to locate themselves in global feminist agenda. Those who reject feminism are looking for alternative terminologies that are relevant to their specific cultural experience. The most dominant concept acceptable to those rejecting feminism as a term of reference is womanism (or African womanism). Womanism does not deny the natural biological God-given traits and characteristics, but rejects the manipulation of such traits to hold women down. It seeks to enhance women’s strength in positive, wholesome ways by highlighting and not effacing femaleness. But this does not call for dogmatism… African womanist aesthetics seek to make a unique contribution to existing scholarship by reinscribing positive women’s bonding, mobilization, and self-definition that cut across gender, racial, and class lines… African women are reassessing issues so as to build bridges and shift frontiers in human relationships by fostering true self-emancipation for all Africans.” (Pg. 196)

She concludes, “Womanism is accommodating and it is not a transcendental or immanent concept. Its cultural and geographical relativism is wholesome. It takes root in the same cultural Afrocentric demands that motivate our sisters in the diaspora while drawing sustenance from the continental peculiarity… The chasm between the woman as object of admiration, adoration, worship, and ornamentation on the one hand, and condescending humility, distrust, and elimination from certain public duties that subsisted since pre-colonial times, is being bridged. In some part of Africa, women are recovering lost ground in the public spheres.” (Pg. 202-203)

This book will be of considerable interest to those studying womanism, African womanism, African feminism, and African/Africana Studies in general. It will perhaps be of less interest to American feminists, however, unless they are (as they should be!) interested in a critical African perspective.
  • Legionstatic
Dr. Mary E. Modupe Kolawole is a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. She has also written Gender Perceptions and Development in Africa and Zulu Sofola: Her Life & Her Works.

She begins this 1997 book with the statement, “The space occupied by African women in contemporary discourse on women is still a domain that has not been adequately explored despite an increasing interest from the continent and from outside. The invention of the African women is being interrogated by several women writers but a hiatus still exists and this gives the impression of voicelessness and absences even when history presents alternative realities…. the liminal voiceless African woman … is still predominantly portrayed as a victim in various ways.” (Pg. 3)

She states, “The starting point for Africans is the search for and enunciation of Africaness as a pre-requisite for any coalition with other women globally. Feminism, like any ideology, is socially constructed and the intertwined nature of gender, race, culture, class, and nationalism are central to African women’s notion of self-assertion. Uprooting any single agency of oppression will not solve their problems… we have a host of critics who still consider feminism as the master key to all women’s problems and the tool for judging their values… Because of the emergence and increase in the activities of many non-western theorists, women’s self-expression is no longer a Eurocentric domain, but many of these women are advocating different versions of feminism… It is the failure to recognize this that has caused many African women to doubt the authenticity of Western feminists and propose other terms of self-expression.” (Pg. 14-15)

She explains, “These women seek a more holistic approach that is sufficiently inclusive to appreciate the specific African cultural definition of womanhood and empowerment… So this alternative, a womanist theory, emerged from the increasing awareness of African women that self-naming is fundamental to these problems… Self-naming is very central to African world-view. In many African cultures, naming almost assumes a sacred status. One doesn’t just name a child in traditional African society. Diverse considerations such as family traits and achievement, lineal peculiarities or divine guidance determine a child’s name.” (Pg. 26)

She argues, “Wrong emphasis and prioritization by feminists who claim to be fighting on behalf of African women are responsible for the indifference or rejection of feminisms by many African women… These women are not seeking to replace one subjugation or separatism with another. African women yearn for a society in which they can assert their inner resourcefulness by rejecting the fetters of tradition and any aspects of socialization that that puts them at a disadvantage. They seek to convince men that they can be productive in the home and outside the home by their resilience and dynamic drive in economic areas. African women are interested in rehumanizing the world by enhancing their roles positively even as they consider themselves more suitable for certain roles than men.” (Pg. 30-31)

She points out, “The myth that African women are free and need no struggle for self-esteem is as dangerous as the myth of African women’s total effacement and invisibility… One needs to see African women’s experience objectively and not emphasize one role at the expense of others. The place of women in matriarchal African societies transcended the mother image, as we see in formidable roles of women in public spheres as well.” (Pg. 51)

She notes, “The impact of African women writer’s development include the transformation of male writers’ depiction of women. Writers who presented typical biased pictures of women in their early works began to show sensitivity to women’s needs and recreated more positive depictions of female characters. Modern myths have been successfully used to cause a new awareness of the woman’s reality. The initial emphasis of myth as ritual has given way to the secular depiction of myth.” (Pg. 88-89)

She observes, “Much of African women’s literature has been concerned with change, overtly or covertly. Indeed, the very process of literary creativity as an aspect of African women’s cultural production is about change. Many of the writers have confessed that they are motivated to write by the impulse to change the status quo, interrogate patriarchy, imperialism and western feminism. This is closely related to the desire to liberate African women, change their consciousness and recreate a positive self-perception to enhance progress. African women are aware that change cannot take place in vacuo, but within a dynamic cultural crucible. Consequently, many have recreated women in their literature as agencies not only of culture but also of active socio-political change.” (Pg. 153)

She says, “Change is a factor shaping women’s lives and writers cannot pretend that it does not exist, as some feminists do. Social change is a reality in Africa, and the woman’s adaptation to it is no longer a myth but a reality. So, women writers have debunked the claim of silence and invisibility… There is, therefore, a shift from the kind of stereotypes being created by African women writers in their early works. They have become more overt, more convinced, even more revolutionary in their depiction of women… A new form of woman’s bonding is also revealed.” (Pg. 164)

She comments, “A conscious effort is being made by women of African heritage in the diaspora to construct a bridge in spite of centuries of enforced alienation. History is no longer an immovable barrier; now these women are transcending history to reconstruct the ties that bind us together as Africans. The diverse stumbling blocks created by centuries of forced dispersal of the Black race are being demolished to turn them into stepping stones, even corner stones in the search for Black people’s emancipation and self-restoration, globally. Women writers in the diaspora are at the frontline in this effort. It is not coincidence that the Black literary production in America has been dominated by women giants in the last three decades… These women… have accepted the ambivalent complex heritage and the need to bring out the best of the two worlds by enhancing and not effacing African cultural traits.” (Pg. 191)

She summarizes, “The African woman … is actively seeking channels of self-definition in a changing society. Many see feminism as imperialistic while others are comfortable with it as they seek to locate themselves in global feminist agenda. Those who reject feminism are looking for alternative terminologies that are relevant to their specific cultural experience. The most dominant concept acceptable to those rejecting feminism as a term of reference is womanism (or African womanism). Womanism does not deny the natural biological God-given traits and characteristics, but rejects the manipulation of such traits to hold women down. It seeks to enhance women’s strength in positive, wholesome ways by highlighting and not effacing femaleness. But this does not call for dogmatism… African womanist aesthetics seek to make a unique contribution to existing scholarship by reinscribing positive women’s bonding, mobilization, and self-definition that cut across gender, racial, and class lines… African women are reassessing issues so as to build bridges and shift frontiers in human relationships by fostering true self-emancipation for all Africans.” (Pg. 196)

She concludes, “Womanism is accommodating and it is not a transcendental or immanent concept. Its cultural and geographical relativism is wholesome. It takes root in the same cultural Afrocentric demands that motivate our sisters in the diaspora while drawing sustenance from the continental peculiarity… The chasm between the woman as object of admiration, adoration, worship, and ornamentation on the one hand, and condescending humility, distrust, and elimination from certain public duties that subsisted since pre-colonial times, is being bridged. In some part of Africa, women are recovering lost ground in the public spheres.” (Pg. 202-203)

This book will be of considerable interest to those studying womanism, African womanism, African feminism, and African/Africana Studies in general. It will perhaps be of less interest to American feminists, however, unless they are (as they should be!) interested in a critical African perspective.
  • Avarm
I really appreciated how African women adopted and nurtured the term "womanist" to accommodate our experiences, cultural realtiies and socio-political stances. Kolawole's essays do an excellent job in capturing one African woman's perspective. I gave it 4 stars because she asks us not generalize and group all African women's experiences, yet frequently makes overarching statements about African women's values.

Great academic text and is very helpful in my analysis of other ways African women operate in the private sphere.