This anthology gives a historically aware overview of the political and economic issues facing African women since Independence. It incorporates gender and transnational theory in its theoretical discussion of African women from the perspective of political economy. The three main themes are African feminism, women and work, and women and politics. The issue of women's control over labor is central, as is a comparative perspective of women's political movements. Written by Africans and Africanists, this significant and much-needed work is an examination of these themes and a critical evaluation of materialist thought on the political and economic aspects of African women's studies.
The relationship between African women and feminism is a contentious one. Embedded in this connection is the question of whether sisterhood - a mantra assuming a common oppression of all women and signifying feminist international/cross-cultural relations - describes the symbolic and functional representation of African women. In this book, the contributors interrogate the issues raised by the (mis)representation of African women by both black and white American feminists, while also exploring the implications of the dominance of Western men and women in the production of knowledge about Africa. A seminal work in African Women's Studies, African Women And Feminism includes papers that focus on a variety of issues, including: the uses and abuses of female circumcision in global feminist discourse; the problem of the criminalisation approach to eradicating female circumcision; the effect on development policy of the image of the victimized African woman; and gender imperialism as encountered by African women in the academy. Though Sisterhood is the primary category of engagement, the essays discuss imperialism as a form of domination and oppression, revealing itself variously in the realms of race, gender, class, culture and nationality. Ultimately, the book raises profound questions about the idea that a common anatomy can form the basis of solidarity amongst women of different colour, culture, class, nations and regions.