This book re-reads the last 60 years of Anglophone African women’s writing from a transnational and trans-historical feminist perspective, rather than postcolonial, from which these texts have been traditionally interpreted. Such a comparative frame throws into relief patterns across time and space that make it possible to situate this writing as an integral part of women’s literary history.
Revisiting this literature in a comparative context with Western women writers since the 18th century, the author highlights how invocations of "tradition" have been used by patriarchy everywhere to subjugate women, the similarities between women’s struggles worldwide, and the feminist imagination it produced. The author argues that in the 21st century, African feminism has undergone a major epistemic shift: from a culturally exclusive to a relational feminism that conceptualizes African femininity through the risky opening of oneself to otherness, transculturation, and translation. Like Western feminists in the 1960s, contemporary African women writers are turning their attention to the female body as the prime site of women’s oppression and freedom, reframing feminism as a demand for universal human rights and actively shaping global discourses on gender, modernity, and democracy.
The book will be of interest to students and researchers of African literature, but also feminist literary scholars and comparatists more generally.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION: Reclaiming the "F-Word", CHAPTER 1: Anglophone African Women’s Writing and Feminist Literary History, CHAPTER 2: Afropolitanism and Feminism in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Sefi Atta, CHAPTER 3: "We Don’t Publish Women’s Literature": Ugandan Women Writers, Feminism, and Censorship, CHAPTER 4: My Body, My Self: Recovering Freedom in East African Women’s Writing, CHAPTER 5: The New Woman and the Nation in South African Feminist Novels, CHAPTER 6: Towards an African Lesbian Modernity, CHAPTER 7: What is African Woman? African Womyn Write Back
Dobrota Pucherová is Senior Researcher at the Institute of World Literature (Slovak Academy of Sciences) in Bratislava, and a lecturer in the Department of African Studies and the Department of European and Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna.
"In Pucherová's bold foray into twenty-first-century Feminist writing from Sub-Saharan Africa, the F-word stands tall and proud, yet in relational, transhistorical and transnational symbiosis with Euro-American feminisms. This may anger Afrocentrists, but the fact is that this fierce cohort of African Amazons is honing new, global tools and entexting a post-patriarchal Africa for women, womyn/womxn, transwomen and the rest of us."
Chantal Zabus, Professor, Université Sorbonne Paris Nord
"This is an extremely relevant and bold move to look at the women’s writing in terms of what is going on the continent, comparing it to similar moments of the rise of women’s writing in other parts of the world including Eastern Europe and thinking of it through terms of strategic and thematic interventions. The political point that the book makes about liberation and democracy questions assumptions that have long needed interrogation. That is to say a clear reading of the last 60 years of Anglophone women’s writing from a transnational and transhistorical feminist perspective is long overdue."
Abena Busia, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University, USA
"Dr. Pucherova argues that African feminist writers have progressed from the conventional postcolonial tradition/modernity divide, to a sharpened focus on their bodies as entirely theirs. I am delighted that she anchors African feminist praxis in the contemporary African women writers' bold affirmation of their bodies. This book widens the analysis of the body in pain to include attention to pleasure and desire in the fashioning of African women’s agency. This is a well-researched and well-argued monograph that promises to enhance our understanding of contemporary African feminist praxis."
Chielozona Eze, Professor of African and African Diaspora Literary and Cultural Studies, Northeastern Illinois University
"This is an important contribution to research on African feminism by conceptualising it from a transnational and transcultural perspective. It puts the discourse at a global level, a shift from many insular discussions of African feminism. The choice of texts opens up multiple avenues for engaging with these topics from many different African contexts. The material is very timely and the scholarship is outstanding. A must-read for any student researching African feminism."
Naomi Nkealah, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa