Engendering Humanism in French West Africa: Patriarchy and the Paradox of Empire

Note: Pricing may changed if you are purchasing on behalf of an institution, or are purchasing from within Africa. You will have a chance to review your actual pricing once you choose to purchase an item.

This is an individual article from a larger publication. Click here to see the entire publication.


Abstract: The political history of colonization has been written into national narratives in ways that do not readily admitted the paradoxical characteristics of conquest and assimilation. This is particularly evident in France where the country’s role in Africa has recently become the subject of renewed debate and controversy in parliament, the media and academic circles while remaining, according to some recent studies, ‘obfuscated and euphemised’. The country’s recent re-engagement with its colonial past has called for a re-reading of colonial texts and the development of an evidence base from which to challenge the existing knowledge/s of colonization. Taking the example of one set of colonial texts, this article explores how texts anchored into the architecture of traditional political history can serve to reinforce colonial narratives. It suggests that the use of overly formalized discipline-specific categories and methodologies of knowledge creation undermines the dynamic process of political historiography and can impede the potential of text to serve broader postcolonial readings.