• WOMEN AND AUTHORITY IN WEST AFRICAN HISTORY
    DIPLOMATIC HISTORY,  POLITICAL HISTORY

    WOMEN AND AUTHORITY IN WEST AFRICAN HISTORY

    Authority is the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. This chapter explores the political authority of West Africa women and the spiritual female principle in the precolonial and colonial eras. A longue durée perspective on gender relations in precolonial West Africa illuminates a history of gender parity and, at times, women’s authority over men. This history has been obscured by Western patriarchal ideologies—which imagined West African women as “beasts of burden,” women who were sold to the highest bidder for the productive and reproductive labor; in short, they imagined a West African woman that never was—and more recent historical processes, particularly the integration of West African societies…

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