This paper questions Oyeronke Oyewumi’s (1997)
claim in her thought-provoking work, ‘The invention of women: Making an
African sense of Western gender discourse,’ that gender in African societies is
a colonial project. It interrogates Oyewumi’s project of contesting meanings
that lack understandings and appreciation of history and culture. Using conceptual
analysis and desk reviews interlaced with anecdotal snippets, the paper
attempts a re-reading of Oyewumi interrogations of social relationships, linguistic
differences and modes of knowing as well as their implications for
meaning making and impact on conceptual creations in the West and in Africa.
Drawing from the works of critics such as Said (1997/79), McFadden
(1994), Dei (1994) and Scott (1992), the paper corroborates Oyewumi’s assertion
that historical and cultural differences impinge on and shape meanings. It
however cautions against an essentialized relativist position for its potential
dangers. These dangers include the premature foreclosure of discourse, culturalization
of gender, caricaturization of opposed views, romanticization of
ethnic culture and the simplification of difference. It argues that the threat of
colonialism is real and that historically taking an essentialist position can deny
benefits of cultural crossings and fertilization. Hence, it concludes with McFadden (1994) that writing must be responsible.
Agnes Atia, A (2019). Is gender yet another colonial project?. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 20, 2019, from https://afribary.com/works/is-gender-yet-another-colonial-project
Apusigah, Agnes Atia. "Is gender yet another colonial project?" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 14 Mar. 2019, https://afribary.com/works/is-gender-yet-another-colonial-project . Accessed 20 May. 2019.
Apusigah, Agnes Atia. "Is gender yet another colonial project?". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 14 Mar. 2019. Web. 20 May. 2019. < https://afribary.com/works/is-gender-yet-another-colonial-project >.
Apusigah, Agnes Atia. "Is gender yet another colonial project?" Afribary.com (2019). Accessed May 20, 2019. https://afribary.com/works/is-gender-yet-another-colonial-project