The relationship between African women and feminism is a contentious one. Embedded in this connection is the question of whether sisterhood—a mantra assuming a common oppression of all women and signifying feminist international/cross-cultural relations—describes the symbolic and functional representation of African women. The contributors in this book are aware of the global discourse on women as articulated by Western feminists and interrogate the issues raised by the misinterpretation of African women of both black and white American feminists. The implications of the dominance of Western men and women in the production of knowledge about Africa are also explored.
This is one of the first collections written by African women who were born and raised in Africa and are now teaching in the United States. The papers here focus on a variety of issues including the uses and abuses of female circumcision in global feminist discourse, the problem of the criminalization approach to eradicating female circumcision, the effect of the image of the victimized African woman on development policy, and gender imperialism as a metascript of domination and oppression and as encountered by African women in the academy. This volume also raises profound questions about the idea that a common anatomy can form the basis of sororal solidarity among women of different colors, cultures, classes, nations, and religions.