Is gender yet another colonial project?

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.

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Apusigah, A. (2019). Is gender yet another colonial project?. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

Apusigah, Agnes Atia "Is gender yet another colonial project?" Afribary. Afribary, 14 Mar. 2019, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.


Apusigah, Agnes Atia . "Is gender yet another colonial project?". Afribary, Afribary, 14 Mar. 2019. Web. 14 Jun. 2024. < >.


Apusigah, Agnes Atia . "Is gender yet another colonial project?" Afribary (2019). Accessed June 14, 2024.