An unapologetically African-centered monograph that reveals physical and spiritual forms and systems of female power and leadership in African cultures.
Nwando Achebe’s unparalleled study documents elite females, female principles, and female spiritual entities across the African continent, from the ancient past to the present. Achebe breaks from Western perspectives, research methods, and their consequently incomplete, skewed accounts, to demonstrate the critical importance of distinctly African source materials and world views to any comprehensible African history. This means accounting for the two realities of African cosmology: the physical world of humans and the invisible realm of spiritual gods and forces. That interconnected universe allows biological men and women to become female-gendered males and male-gendered females. This phenomenon empowers the existence of particular African beings, such as female husbands, male priestesses, female kings, and female pharaohs. Achebe portrays their combined power, influence, and authority in a sweeping, African-centric narrative that leads to an analogous consideration of contemporary African women as heads of state, government officials, religious leaders, and prominent entrepreneurs.
Featuring contributions from some of the most accomplished scholars on the topic, Holding the World Together explores the rich and varied ways in which women have wielded power across the African continent, from the precolonial period to the present. Suitable for classroom use, this comprehensive volume considers such topics as the representation of African women, their role in national liberation movements, their experiences of religious fundamentalism (both Christian and Muslim), their incorporation into the world economy, changing family and marriage systems, impacts of the world economy on their lives and livelihoods, and the unique challenges they face in the areas of health and disease.
Contributors: Nwando Achebe, Ousseina Alidou, Signe Arnfred, Andrea L. Arrington-Sirois, Henryatta Ballah, Teresa Barnes, Josephine Beoku-Betts, Emily Burril, Abena P. A. Busia, Gracia Clark, Alicia Decker, Karen Flint, December Green, Cajetan Iheka, Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Elizabeth M. Perego, Claire Robertson, Kathleen Sheldon, Aili Mari Tripp, Cassandra Veney
Nwando Achebe, "The Birth of a New Journal"
Jan Jansen, "In Defense of Mali’s Gold: The Political and Military Organization of the Northern Upper Niger, c. 1650–c. 1850"
Ralph A. Austen, "Finding the Historical Wangrin or the Banality of Virtue"
Claire Robertson, "We Must Overcome: Genealogy and Evolution of Female Slavery in West Africa"
Trevor R. Getz, Lindsay Ehrisman, "The Marriages of Abina Mansah: Escaping the Boundaries of "Slavery" as a Category in Historical Analysis"
David Robinson, "Retrospective: Reflections on Legitimation and Pedagogy in the "Islamic Revolutions" of West Africa on the Frontiers of the Islamic World"
Moses Ochonu, "Caliphate Expansion and Sociopolitical Change in Nineteenth-Century Lower Benue Hinterlands"
Carola Lentz, Land, Mobility, and Belonging in West Africa, Reviewed by Assan Sarr
Elizabeth Wrangham, Ghana during the First World War: The Colonial Administration of Sir Hugh Clifford, Reviewed by Kwame Essien
Raymond E. Dumett, Imperialism, Economic Development and Social Change in West Africa, Reviewed by Jeffrey S. Ahlman
John Iliffe, Obasanjo, Nigeria and the World, Reviewed by Hakeem Ibikunle Tijani
Toyin Falola and Saheed Aderinto, Nigeria, Nationalism, and Writing History, Reviewed by Philip S. Zachernuk
David Max Brown and Zola Maseko, The Manuscripts of Timbuktu; Shamil Jeppie and Souleymane Bachir Diagne, The Meanings of Timbuktu; Alexandra Huddleston, 333 Saints: A Life of Scholarship in Timbuktu, Reviewed by David E. Skinner
Susan Z. Andrade, The Nation Writ Small: Africa Fictions and Feminisms, 1958–1988, Reviewed by Anne V. Adams
Danny Hoffman, The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Reviewed by Douglas Thomas
Nwando Achebe, "Nkiruka: the Best is Still to Come"
Mariano Pavanello, “Foragers or Cultivators? A Discussion of Wilks’s ‘Big Bang’ Theory of Akan History”
Jonathan Reynolds, “Stealing the Road: Colonial Rule and the Hajj from Nigeria in the Early Twentieth Century”
Simon Ottenberg, “Conflicting Interpretations in the Biography of a Modern Artist of African Descent”
Elisha P. Renne, “Small-Scale and Industrial Gold Mining Histories in Nangodi, Upper East Region, Ghana”
Merrick Posnansky, “Begho: Life and Times”
Ifi Amadiume, “Of Kola Nuts, Taboos, Leadership, Women’s Rights, and Freedom: New Challenges from Chinua Achebe’s There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra”
ESSAY: Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, "A Required Reference for Understanding Contemporary Africa" Hollywood’s Africa after 1994, reviewed by David Afriyie Donkor The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825: Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas, reviewed by Madalina Florescu Globalization and Sustainable Development in Africa, reviewed by Irene Dzidzor Darku Our New Husbands Are Here: Households, Gender, and Politics in a West African State from the Slave Trade to Colonial Rule, reviewed by Saheed Aderinto The Autobiography of an African Princess, reviewed by Paul Alkebulan Muslims and New Media in West Africa: Pathways to God, reviewed by Reginold A. Royston
Nwando Achebe, A Good Habit that Lasts More than a Year May Turn into a Custom
Pierluigi Valsecchi, "The Fall of Kaku Aka: Social and Political Change in the Mid-Nineteenth- Century Western Gold Coast"
David E. Skinner, "The Influence of Islam in Sierra Leone History: Institutions, Practices, and Leadership"
Erik S. McDuffie, "'A New Day Has Dawned for the UNIA’: Garveyism, the Diasporic Midwest, and West Africa, 1920–80"
Sabine Jell-Bahlsen, "Crime, Community, and Human Rights in Southeastern Nigeria, Then and Now"
Cheikh Anta Babou, "Negotiating the Boundaries of Power: Abdoulaye Wade, the Muridiyya, and State Politics in Senegal, 2000–2012"
Book Reviews Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora, Reviewed by Dianna Bell Bitter Roots: The Search for Healing Plants in Africa, Reviewed by Ama Boakyewa Metaphor and the Slave Trade in West African Literature, Reviewed by Joseph McLaren Chiefs, Priests, and Praise-Singers: History, Politics, and Land Ownership in Northern Ghana, Reviewed by James Lance Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa, Reviewed by Lumumba H. Shabaka Highlife Saturday Night: Popular Music and Social Change in Urban Ghana, Reviewed by Gavin Webb The Problem of Slavery as History: A Global Approach, Reviewed by Daniel B. Domingues da Silva When Sex Threatened the State: Illicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900–1958, Reviewed by Jaqueline-Bethel Mougoué
Nwando Achebe, "Nkolika—Recalling is Supreme"
Steven Pierce, "The Invention of Corruption: Political Malpractice and Selective Prosecution in Colonial Northern Nigeria"
Robert M. Baum, "Prophetic Critiques of Colonial Agricultural Schemes: The Case of Alinesitoué Diatta in Vichy Senegal"
Mohammed Bashir Salau, Harmony O’Rourke, "The Life and Experiences of Sa`id Ibn Hayatu, a Mahdist Leader: New Findings from the Buea Archive"
Nozomi Sawada, "Selecting Those ‘Worthy’ of Remembering: Memorialization in Early Lagos Newspapers"
Victoria Ellen Smith, "Secrets of West African Slave Ancestry: Fante Strategies of Silence and the Didactic Narrative in Ghanaian Literature"
Book Reviews Elem Kalabari of the Niger Delta: The Transition from Slave to Produce Trading under British Imperialism, reviewed by Joe Davey The Scattered Family: Parenting, African Migrants, and Global Inequality, Reviewed by Tiffany A. Flowers Tony Allen: An Autobiography of the Master Drummer of Afrobeat, reviewed by Dawne Y. Curry African European Trade in the Atlantic World: The Western Slave Coast circa 1550 to 1885, reviewed by Robert Hanserd
Nwando Achebe, "Osonduagwuike—There Is No Boredom in the Pursuit of Life Happiness"
Katrina H. B. Keefer, "Group Identity, Scarification, and Poro among Liberated Africans in Sierra Leone, 1808–1819"
Ndubueze L. Mbah, "Performing Ogaranya: Kalu Ezelu Uwaoma, Male Slavery, and Freedom Politics in Southeastern Nigeria, c. 1860–1940"
Marcus Filippello," Settling Ọhọri: Reassessing Rebellion, Gender, and Foundation 'Myths' in Colonial Dahomey"
Ellen R. Feingold, "International Currency Counterfeiting Schemes in Interwar West Africa"
Folu F. Ogundimu, "Historical Antecedents and Implications of Polio Outbreaks in Northern Nigeria"
Book Reviews Muslim Families in Global Senegal: Money Takes Care of Shame, reviewed by Brandon D. Lundy Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana, reviewed by Clifford C. Campbell Children and Childhood in Nigerian Histories, reviewed by Robin P. Chapdelaine Transmigrational Writings between the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa: Literature, Orality, Visual Arts, reviewed by Bala Saho Colonialism by Proxy: Hausa Imperial Agents and Middle Belt Consciousness in Nigeria, reviewed by John Straussberger
Nwando Achebe, "Uwa Umu-Nwanyi: The World of Women, The World of Women’s Children"
Timothy D. L. Nevin, "In Search of the Historical Madam Suakoko: Liberia’s Renowned Female Kpelle Chief"
Andrew Apter, "Queer Crossings: Kinship, Marriage, and Sexuality in Igboland and Carriacou"
Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta Mougoué, "Intellectual Housewives, Journalism, and Anglophone Nationalism in Cameroon, 1961–1972"
Lisa A. Lindsay, "Male Daughters, Female Husbands at Thirty"
Leslie Anne Hadfield, "Understanding African Marriage and Family Relations from South Africa to the United States"
Marion G. Mendy, Assan Sarr, "The Ambiguity of Gender: Ifi Amadiume and the Writing of Gender History in Igboland"
Lorelle Semley, "When We Discovered Gender: A Retrospective on Ifi Amadiume’s Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in an African Society"
Abosede George, “A Philosopher with a Plan: Reflections on Ifi Amadiume’s Male Daughters, Female Husbands"
Ifi Amadiume, "Gender Field Experience, Method and Theory"
The Teaching Scholar
Judith A. Byfield, "Becoming Classic: 'Sitting on a Man' at Forty-Five"
Akosua Adomako Ampofo, "'Sitting on a Man': Forty Years Later"
Ndubueze L. Mbah, "Judith Van Allen, 'Sitting on a Man,' and the Foundation of Igbo Women’s Studies"
Denise Walsh, "Making It Ethical to Study Africa: The Enduring Legacies of 'Sitting on a Man'"
Emily Lynn Osborn, "Man Sitting with Judith Van Allen"
Lynda R. Day, "Judith Van Allen and the Impact of Her Article '"Sitting on a Man": Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women' in the Classroom"
Judith Van Allen, "Politics and the Writing of 'Sitting on a Man'"
Book Reviews Shi’i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa: Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal, reviewed by Shobana Shankar Africa and France: Postcolonial Cultures, Migration, and Racism, reviewed by Abou B. Bamba “Life Not Worth Living”: Nigerian Petitions Reflecting an African Society’s Experiences during World War II, reviewed by Oliver Coates
Nwando Achebe, “Azubuike—The Past Is Our Strength”
Alessandra Brivio, “Gorovodu: The Genesis of a ‘Hausa Vodun’”
Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch, “Women’s International Alliances in an Emergent Ghana”
Jan Jansen, Graeme Counsel, and Brahima Camara, “Sex, Drugs, and Female Agency: Why Siramori Diabaté’s Song ‘Nanyuman’ Was Such a Success in Mali and Guinea”
Jennifer Lofkrantz, “Intellectual Traditions, Education, and Jihad: The (Non)Parallels between the Sokoto and Boko Haram Jihads”
Tamba E. M’bayo, “Ebola, Poverty, Economic Inequity and Social Injustice in Sierra Leone”
John N. Oriji, Political Organization in Nigeria since the Late Stone Age: A History of the Igbo People, reviewed by Ndubueze L. Mbah
Mary Kingsley, Travels in West Africa, reviewed by David Amponsah
Kwame Essien, Brazilian-African Diaspora in Ghana: The Tabom, Slavery, Dissonance of Memory, Identity, and Locating Home, reviewed by Juan Diego Díaz
Nwando Achebe, “People Have Succeeded in Overcoming Tremendous Space, But Not the Distance between One Person and Another”
Ernest Sasu Kwame Sewordor, “‘The Humble Petition of Johana Nyewuame Bekrah’: Becoming/Being Gã, Straddling ‘Spaces,’ and Negotiating Boundaries in the Gold Coast Christian ‘Model Town’ (Abokobi), ca. 1860–1980
Timothy D. L. Nevin, “Liberia’s Belle Yella Prison Camp (1910–1990): Repression, Stigma, and Forced Labor in the Heart of the Rainforest”
Keri Lambert, “‘In the Nature of a Crusade’: Wartime Extraction and the Seeds of Industrialization in the Gold Coast”
Ambe J. Njoh, Esther P. Chie, and Liora Bigon, “CDC Company Towns in Cameroon: A Case of Shaping Built Space to Articulate Power and Social Control in Colonial and Postcolonial Perspectives”
Alexander Keese, “Petitioning about the Revolutionary Nation: Social History and Communication under the Early Kérékou Regime in Benin, 1975–1977”
Michael A. Gomez, African Dominion: A New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa, reviewed by Jody A. Benjamin
Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution, reviewed by Katharina A. Oke
Sandra E. Greene, Slave Owners of West Africa: Decision Making in the Age of Abolition, reviewed by J. M. Davey
Xavier Diatta, Fiju di Terra. La crise casamançaise racontée à mes enfants, reviewed by Pape Chérif Bertrand Bassène
Henry B. Lovejoy, Prieto: Yorùbá Kingship in Colonial Cuba during the Age of Revolutions, reviewed by Evan C. Rothera