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Cherise Smith, Ph.D, Director JES A232A, Mailcode D7200, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-1784

African Feminisms Seminar: “And She Became A King: Female Radical Politics in a Changing Igbo (Nigerian) World”

Fri, March 26, 2010 • 3:45 PM - 6:00 PM • The Texas Union (Room TBA) - The University of Texas at Austin


African Feminisms Seminar

“And She Became A King: Female Radical Politics in a Changing Igbo (Nigerian) World”

Dr. Nwando Achebe, Associate Professor of History, Michigan State University

And She Became A King: Female Radical Politics in a Changing Igbo [Nigerian] World."

In 1918, a woman by the name of Ahebi Ugbabe was made warrant chief by the British in colonial Nigeria. This decision would represent a departure from British colonial practice, for they had never before offered a warrant chief position to a Nigerian woman or any indigenous woman from British Africa, for that matter. Ahebi Ugbabe would be the first and last woman to hold this office. But her position as warrant chief had been earned. Presented to her in "recognition of past services," Ahebi had worked herself up from the British imposed rank of Headman. Chief Ahebi would eventually be crowned king by an Igala monarch-her third in a series of gendered transformations. However, these gendered transformations would not be enough for the ambitious and talented Ahebi. In her attempt to achieve "full" manhood, she would invade and violate the ultimate sanctuary of men-the masquerade cult. The masquerade cult in West Africa was constructed as that which separated men from women, and men from "full" men. "And She Became A King." explores the case study of this extraordinary woman, revealing much about the shifting bases of gendered power under British indirect rule and the ways in which Igbo women and men negotiated and shaped the colonial environment.

The Texas Union (3.116) - The University of Texas at Austin

Sponsored by: John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies

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