Judith Van Allen, “Sitting on a Man,” and the Foundation of Igbo Women’s Studies
Ndubueze L. Mbah is an assistant professor in the history department at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Mbah utilizes oral histories, emic interpretations of material culture, and gendered rituals to study masculinities, female power, dissident sexualities, and slavery practices in pre-twentieth century West Africa. His research focusses on the relationship between changes in women’s sociopolitical power and the shifting gender constructions and performances of hegemonic masculinities. His book project entitled “Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age,” demonstrates how Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria made sense of, and domesticated broad changes in the Atlantic world economy over 170 years, through shifting local articulations of hegemonic masculinity. Mbah argues that the Bight of Biafra’s eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’ transatlantic engagements transformed gender identities, ushering a shift from a precolonial period characterized by female breadwinners and more powerful female political institutions to a protocolonial period of male domination.
Ndubueze L. Mbah; Judith Van Allen, “Sitting on a Man,” and the Foundation of Igbo Women’s Studies. Journal of West African History 1 September 2017; 3 (2): 156–165. doi: https://doi.org/10.14321/jwestafrihist.3.2.0156
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