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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Fall 2006

WGS 301 • Yoruba Women

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
49530 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Mosadomi, F

Course Description

In the last two to three decades, African Gender Studies, as a focus of inquiry, have dominated socio-political, religious, moral, and academic discourses inside and outside of Africa. In the realm of African gender studies, the theory of African feminism is grounded in African historical and cultural experience in the sense that it highlights the African woman's needs, hopes, and desires, and therefore, the terms "Africana Womanism" or "African Womanism." However, Western-based feminist theoretical concepts and analytical perspectives, including the womanist theory in the African Diaspora, have often been applied to most available body of works. If gender is a social construction, how applicable are Western concepts of gender to gender issues in Africa, and how valid are such concepts? These questions form the basic arguments for this course in which Yoruba women will be the focus of discussion. The Yoruba of Nigeria, West Africa, have for the past five centuries a history of organized statehood, military, and political power before the European scramble for Africa, which was followed by re-organization of African peoples, cultures, and state boundaries for the purposes of colonization. Within this historical context, the course will explore the gender construction in Yoruba land. Also, through the analyses of religious, linguistic, and socio-political discourse and practices among the Yoruba, the course will also examine the variables between the realities of African gender perspectives and current gender theories.

Some Themes/Arguments/Ideas: Coloniality/Post-coloniality Indigenous African feminism Politics of text/sex Reconstruction of self The Female aesthetics Feminist/womanist theories Womanist theory vs. feminist theory The West and Women Writers of color?? Conflicts in White feminist and Black feminist perspectives

Grading Policy

20%: Attendance and Participation 40%: Term Paper 20%: Oral Presentation of Term paper 20%: Position Papers


Nnaemeka, Obioma. Sisterhood: Feminisms and Power. New Jersey: Africa World Press Inc., 1998. Ogundipe-Leslie. Re-Creating Ourselves: African Women and Critical Transformation. New Jersey: African World Press Inc., 1994. Olajubu, Oyeronke. Women in the Yoruba Religious Sphere. Albany: State University of New York University Press, 2003. Oyewumi, O. The Invention of Women. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Smith, Pamela. Efunsetan Aniwura and Olu Omo Tinuubu. New Jersey: Africa World Press Inc., 2005


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