Africana Womanism : Reclaiming Ourselves book cover
5th Edition

Africana Womanism
Reclaiming Ourselves

ISBN 9780367253639
Published October 7, 2019 by Routledge
176 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

First published in 1993, this is a new edition of the classic text in which Clenora Hudson-Weems sets out a paradigm for women of African descent. Examining the status, struggles and experiences of the Africana woman forced into exile in Europe, Latin America, the United States or at Home in Africa, the theory outlines the experience of Africana women as unique and separate from that of some other women of color, and, of course, from white women. Differentiating itself from the problematic theories of Western feminisms, Africana Womanism allows an establishment of cultural identity and relationship directly to ancestry and land.

This new edition includes five new chapters as well as an evolution of the classic Africana womanist paradigm, to that of Africana-Melanated Womanism. It shows how race, class and gender must be prioritized in the fight against every day racial dominance. Africana Womanism: Reclaiming Ourselves offers a new term and paradigm for women of African descent. A family-centered concept, prioritizing race, class and gender, it offers eighteen features of the Africana womanist (self-namer, self-definer, family-centered, genuine in sisterhood, strong, in concert with male in the liberation struggle, whole, authentic, flexible role player, respected, recognized, spiritual, male compatible, respectful of elders, adaptable, ambitious, mothering, nurturing), applying them to characters in novels by Hurston, Bâ, Marshall, Morrison and McMillan. It evolves from Africana Womanism to Africana-Melanated Womanism.

This is an important work and essential reading for researchers and students in women and gender studies, Africana studies, African-American studies, literary studies and cultural studies, particularly with the emergence of family centrality (community and collective engagement), the very cornerstone of Africana Womanism since its inception.

Table of Contents

Foreword from the 1st edition ‘Zulu Sofola

Foreword to the 5th edition James B. Stewart and Ama Mazama

Preface from the 1st edition Clenora Hudson-Weems

Introduction Daphne Williams Ntiri

PART ONE Theory, Chapter I Africana Womanism

Chapter I Africana Womanism

Chapter II Cultural and Agenda Conflicts in Academia: Critical Issues for Africana Women’s Studies

Chapter III Africana Womanism: A Theoretical Need and Practical Usefulness

Chapter IV The Agenda of the Africana Womanist (revised)

PART TWO Five Africana Womanist Novels

Chapter V Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God: Seeking Wholeness

Chapter VI Ba’s So Long a Letter: A Family Affair

Chapter VII Marshall’s Praisesong for the Widow: Authentic Existence

Chapter VIII Morrison’s Beloved: All Parts Equal

Chapter IX McMillan’s Disappearing Acts: In It Together

PART THREE From Africana Womanism to Africana-Melanated Womanism

Chapter X Authenticating and Validating Africana-Melenated Womanism: A Global Paradigm for Human Survival

Chapter XI Africana Womanism’s Race, Class and Gender: Pre-Intersectionality

Chapter XII Africana-Melanated Womanism: Forging Our Way via Securing Each Other (2019 Keynote Address—2nd International Africana-Melanated Womanism Conference)

Chapter XIII Africana-Melanated Womanism and the King-Parks-Till Connectio

Chapter XIV Conclusion

Afterword Mark Christian


Annotated Africana Womanism Bibliography: a Blueprint

Appendix: Africana-Melanated Womanism Syllabus


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Clenora Hudson-Weems coined the concept of Africana Womanism. She has written several books on the concept, in addition to significant works on Emmett Till and Toni Morrison. Recipients of numerous awards, she was distinguished Honoree for the 1st International Africana Womanism Conference at the University of Zimbabwe, 2010.

The first to established Emmett Till as the true catalyst of the Modern Civil Rights Movement in her 1988 Ford Doctoral Dissertation, "Emmett Till: The Impetus of the Modern Civil Rights Movement" (University of Iowa), she has written three books on the subject, including the dissertation-turned-book, Emmett Till: The Sacrificial Lamb of the Civil Rights Movement (1994), and Emmett—Legacy, Redemption & Forgiveness (2014) upon which her film script is based. She is co-author of Toni Morrison (1990), the first book written on the Nobel Laureate.


"Clenora Hudson-Weems continues her robust theoretical and analytical inquiry into the nature of Africana Womanism with this powerful work. Unquestionably, Hudson-Weems is the most important theorist writing on this aspect of the African world. I recommend this book and suggest that it should be high on the list of valuable contributions to your syllabus and general reading. Salute!"

Molefi Kete Asante, Professor and Chair, Department of African American Studies at Temple University; author of The History of Africa

"Three things are primary to any discussion of Womanist thought: the people, the language and the land. In this New Edition, Clenora Hudson-Weems links these key features while reminding us of race, gender and family centrality to Black communal wholeness. As one of the originators of womanist thought, everything Hudson-Weems has to say about the subject is important to know. The book’s new section makes this text not only important but also essential to any serious study of Africana womanist thought and its contemporary development. She offers complex and provocative discussions that deepen our consideration of what an Africana womanist is, does, perceives, and preserves. I recommend it for courses and personal, intellectual gratification. Às̩e̩".

Debra Walker King, Professor of English, University of Florida; author of African Americans and the Culture of Pain

"Congratulations to Dr. Hudson-Weems for yet another pace-setting and mind-liberating volume. Africana Womanism (New Edition) is not just an idea in the academe. More important, it is a living part of the everyday energy and struggles for self-definition and self-naming that Africans, wherever they are, pursue with unmitigated commitment."

Itai Muhwati, Professor and Dean of Arts, University of  Zimbabwe; editor of Dariro: African Theory of Participation and Performance

"Clenora continues to advance Africana Womanism theory in this important volume, wherein the process began with self-naming and self-defining. This allows for a solid identifying and refining of an African-centered paradigm for worldwide Africana-Melanated women. From this, the ultimate ensues, as the theory, characterized by affirmation and engagement, seeks to unite the Africana woman and man in the on-going struggle for human survival. In so doing, the struggle continues in their communities, their countries and the world until ultimately total equity prevails."

Adele S. Newson-Horst, Professor of English, Morgan State University; editor of Winds of Change

"Africana Womanism represents Dr. Clenora Hudson-Weems’ perception about the urgent need for Africana-Melanated people to strategize workable means by which to solidify true survival for our own. The question is, "If we don’t, then who will make possible the continuation of our legacy?" This book speaks directly to the issue of justice, and that means real equity for all on all levels, race, class and gender. It’s a meaningful book for all to read!"

Lillian A. Smith, Entrepreneur and Former Senior Producer for the Phil Donahue Show