Writing African Women’s History Using Male Sources: Possibilities and Limitations

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This paper will examine colonial research and documentation of African women's birthing practices.to illustrate both the potential for using these sources to understand some basic elements of women's experiences, and the limitations of this source material in providing deep and accurate insights into African women's history. Using an example from colonial Cameroon, we will see how European interest in women's birthing practices was motivated by colonial economic and scientific agendas steeped in racism and sexism, preventing European researchers from obtaining a balanced and accurate understanding of this women's sphere of social life. On the other hand, the documents reveal efforts of African women to prevent the colonial infiltration into women's arenas of influence.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)319-333
Number of pages15
JournalHistory in Africa
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2004


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