Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Any prospects for #COVID19-Inspired Global Government?

red and white flower petals

Many people are hopeful that the catastrophic effects of #COVID19 would lead to the embrace of world government. Reminds me of Immanuel Kant and his ruminations on perpetual peace, and the liberals' optimistic expectation that humanity can build institutions that successfully manage the challenges of anarchy (absence of an institution akin to the state in domestic politics), and some of them who believe that these institutions can become supranational. I think Gordon Brown is following this tradition when he calls for a new global government. See: "Coronavirus: Gordon Brown calls for new global government to fight impact of Covid-19"   

However, I remember that the 1970s Global South call for a New International Economic Order (NIEO) failed. See: The New New International Economic Order  Calls for global governance also failed after the 2008 meltdown. Is #COVID19 the phenomenon that would catalyze the change? Unfortunately  people who want world governance are underestimating the power of inertia and also status quo preference by the powerful countries and elites that currently control the global system. My take is that some reforms will happen but they will fall far short of global governance that puts in place an entity akin to the state in global politics. This is because the system is not only political, it is economic and social. The only thing that changes global systems is a system-wide war that brings another paradigm to the fore. Since the current powers that be have too much to lose from war, it probably won't be allowed. So, expect some cosmetic reforms, not fundamental change.  

Also, given the US abdication of leadership of the liberal international system that it established after the second world war, China is quietly taking leadership. It is sending COVID19 help to European countries like Italy. Jack Ma of Alibaba is sending help to African and other countries. China also set up the Health Road Initiative (I may have got the name wrong). The Coronavirus Could Reshape Global Order 

I know some ignorant people like him, but the Trump administration has not been up to the task of leading the international community on anything. I am not a supporter of Pax Americana, because all imperialism has warts. However, hegemony can also be used for good, like fashioning a sensible, logical and effective worldwide response to this pandemic. Trump unfortunately has squandered a great deal of the power and influence built up since the end of the second world war. The Chinese will take advantage of the power vacuum. This is the normal response of a rising power in an anarchical international system. It's what the US did after World War II and what past rising powers have done. Instead of blaming the Chinese, we should realize that China learned from the West how to maneuver and it's doing it skillfully.  

The most reliable source of information on COVID19 is the World Health Organization. See: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

Saturday, January 25, 2020

THE ALMAJIRI CRISIS IN NORTHERN NIGERIA: A CRY FOR OUR CHILDREN BY NIGERIAN MOTHERS


AlMajiri Children. Photo Courtesy Newsdiary Online.com


Where is our shame? Where is our collective responsibility? Allah Ya Isa!


In the last month, social media has been awash with multiple scenes, most from Northern Nigeria, of mile-long queues of hungry young children—Almajirai or Almajiri children as they are now referred to; bowls in hand, waiting for food. These images stand in stark contrast with recent images that have also been circulating for the last year in the same region; of displays of opulent lifestyles and exhibition of immeasurable wealth. These contrasts of extreme wealth and extreme poverty pervade our everyday reality across Nigeria. However, it is haunting when the displays of such opulence are in a region that is in the throes of an interminable insurgency; an ongoing humanitarian crisis, the crux of which is some of the worst development indices in the world, with about 80 % of the population living on less than $2 a day.


At one time, Almajiri, the plural of which is Almajirai, meaning learner, was used in Northern Nigeria to refer to “one who searches for knowledge and displays high moral rectitude.” However, Almajiri is not just a Northern Nigeria phenomenon. It is part of the wider Islamic practice of dedication to learning, and of devotion and submission to the will of the Almighty. As such, this system began as a form of education built on strong moral and religious foundations with a strong social component. Parents would relinquish the care of their children at a tender age to become wards of an Islamic teacher and study the Quran under his tutelage. Historically, families were still responsible for the upkeep of their children, however, with the increasing inability of parents to cater for their needs, communities stepped in to provide the children with clothing and food. Many of our homes had a large pot of food every night specifically for the Almajirai. It was a dignified and orderly system; we provided for young pupils as learners, who would one day themselves become Islamic scholars and teachers.


Today, the name Almajiri has become synonymous with seemingly abandoned children roaming the streets of our nation, seeking alms, begging, and sometimes engaging in criminal activity as a result of their basic survival needs not being met. And, Almajiranci – the act of being an Almajiri has become a perpetual situation for the children; evidence of pervasive societal neglect. They signify an abdication of our collective responsibility amidst waste and abuse of resources derived from our commonwealth, which allows the perpetuation of a system that no longer has basis in religion or culture.


The original intention of the Almajiri system of education cannot be faulted. Northern Nigeria is predominantly Muslim, and a Quranic education is a crucial feature of Islam, and was seen as a revered, parallel and analogous system to Western education. The initial failings of the system were akin to the failings of our non-Islamic schools; poor  infrastructure and pedagogy and an abysmal quality of formal education for the teachers resulting in high levels of illiteracy and ignorance. However, in tracing the collapse of the Almajiri system, external historical factors cannot be overlooked. Professor Idris A. AbdulQadir writes on the topic:* “…with the disposal of many Emirs and the defunding of religious schools by the British *[during the colonial era]*, formal control over the Almajiri system was lost. This is certainly the genesis of the predicament of the Almajiri system today.”* The failure of this system became more acute precisely because the institution was built on noble foundations tied to a paternalistic, humane and altruistic society that no longer exists. The schools, no longer maintained by the State, communities and parents, succumbed to the pressures of economic crises, particularly after the lost decades of the 1990s. The increased financial precarity of the post-Structural Adjustment era undermined the capacity of many citizens to maintain levels of hospitality and generosity in accordance with conventional religious and sociocultural expectations. 


Today, distorted governance, combined with a failed feudal system, and a rather clichéd and unfortunate approach to education for the masses continue to uphold an Almajiri system that has come to represent a dehumanising culture and the lack of care for the physical, mental and social wellbeing of our children. This situation is mirrored across the
nation as children are subjected daily to a combination of neglect and abuse, both physical and sexual. It was shocking to discover in September 2019, that 300 men and boys bearing the scars of beatings and chains, some of whom had apparently been sodomised, were rescued from a purported Islamic school building in Kaduna, Kaduna State in  Northwest Nigeria. Two months later, 259 men, women and children were rescued from a similar rehabilitation centre in Ibadan, Oyo State in Southwest Nigeria.


During a recent trip to Borno, driving from the airport to town, visiting IDP camps full of Boko Haram returnees and halfway houses for released Boko Haram detainees, it is clear that the most basic needs of food, shelter and education for our children is not a priority. This is the story from Kano to Zamfara, Katsina to Yola: the streets are teeming with destitute children waiting for random morsels of food, including from those whose wealth is ill-gotten, misappropriated from our collective patrimony. Our children have become down-trodden, destitute, and immiserated. A whole generation is locked into a cycle of poverty, having not a day of formal education; be it Western or Islamic, but are instead turned into beggars on the streets, in front of the very homes of those whose residents should hold their future and their hope in trust. The subjugation of and destitution of a generation of Nigerians is largely what has fuelled Boko Haram and other militant organisations. And as the epicentre of this endless conflict moves from the Northeast to the Northwest, the terrorists continue to kill old men, rape and kidnap women and children indiscriminately, using violence against the weak and vulnerable to terrorise and brutalise communities.
So, we write for two reasons:

1. As Nigerian mothers in protest – The psychological trauma of having our children’s innocence and dignity snatched away at such a young age is unacceptable. We protest the creation of a two-tier system in which certain children are privileged with access to succour, accommodation, education, possibilities of employment, undergirded by their parent’s wealth or position within society. Their lives are juxtaposed to the dire circumstances of others, who by virtue of the circumstances of their birth are forever sentenced to a life on the periphery of society, only able to look in but never partake. Children denied opportunities to self-actualise; they are abused, abandoned and their lives stunted, damned to drift in a haze of hunger and uncertainty.
We cannot hold our heads up while any of our children are being so debased. We as concerned mothers rally, and in the spirit of the courageous women of Nigeria; of Aba and Abeokuta; of Nana Asma’u of Sokoto, daughter of Usman Dan Fodio; renowned scholar, teacher, poet, diplomat and advisor of rulers; with sorrowful defiance, figuratively bare our breasts in protest at this collective shame!

We exhort our government to embark on an aggressive campaign and expose the ills of this institution which no longer has a basis in either logic or modernity. The institution must be radically overhauled. This is the second decade of the 21st century, so, we need to enter crisis mode to address the egregious problems produced by the socioeconomic crisis underway. A sustainable and holistic social rehabilitation and reorientation program is needed to deal with this scourge and its negative impact on our children and our society.

2. A symbol of admonition– We condemn without reservation the unparalleled misuse and abuse of our commonwealth in the face of the dire existential problems that our children are facing. The magnitude of corruption that we continue to see in Nigeria is tragic and must be denounced by all of us. 


So, through this medium we are launching the *Allah Ya Isa Campaign*, so that those of our leaders who do not feel that they need God’s favour, will certainly fear His wrath. This unparalleled poverty and neglect in the midst of such plenty must stop. We are therefore affirming God as the final arbiter of all human situations. And, we ask that from today, every
Nigerian demand accountability for our commonwealth, from our leaders and all those to whom we have given our mandate. We must stand up to them openly and without apprehension or fear, that for every Kobo they steal, misappropriate or misuse, and a Nigerian child is deprived of that meal, that bed, or access to that classroom; *Allah Ya Isa*.
We hope and pray that this letter serves as a clarion call to all Nigerian mothers and to every man, woman and child of conscience. Let today be the beginning of a new dawn for Nigeria’s children of every “tribe and tongue.”
It is time that we wake up to the realisation of the imminent danger that is before us if we do not deliver our children the promise of our sacrosanct Constitution; protection “against any exploitation whatsoever and against moral and material neglect,” in the words of our revered National Anthem; “with love, and strength and faith.”


Signed:
1. Aisha Muhammed- Oyebode – CEO Murtala Muhammed Foundation
2. Fatima Akilu – CEO Neem Foundation
3. Aisha Waziri- Umar – Founder /CEO Inara Foundation
4. Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome – Professor of Political Science, African & Women's Studies Brooklyn College, City University of NY
5. Ada Ngozi Maduakoh – Founder/ CEO Lotachi Foundation
6. Modupe Oni – Executive Director Standard Bearers School, Home of the Handsout App



*#AllahYaIsa, **#OlorunADaSeria, #TuoEgwuIweChukwu, #FearTheWrathOfGod*

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Special issue: Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration

Eni Ori yo O di'le by Gbolade Omidiran

To usher in the new year, Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration published a special issue featuring just one poem: “Migrations,” by Dr. Emman Shehu who’s based in Abuja, and my brief editorial.

Eni Ori yo O di'le by Gbolade Omidiran


Make it a great year. Support immigrants.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

THE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES TO RESCUE THE CHIBOK GIRLS



 October 11, 2019 – International Day of the Girl Child


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
+2348057799777 (Abuja); +2347087784788 (Lagos); +19175046204 (NY); +12022887866 (DC)

THE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES TO RESCUE THE CHIBOK GIRLS

Saturday, October 5, 2019 marked 2,000 Days since 276 schoolgirls were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram. 
§  57 girls escaped in the first 24 hours. 
§  In the last 5 years, 107 of the 219 girls held captive either escaped; were released after negotiations; or were found after the army liberated the areas where they were being held. 
§  To date, 112 Chibok Girls remain captives of the terrorists.
The Bring Back Our Girls movement decided to meet daily at the Unity Fountain in Abuja after the first protest on April 30th because we believed we needed to put consistent pressure on the President Goodluck Jonathan government to find and rescue the Chibok Girls. Our initial engagements and responses received had clearly indicated that the abduction was not taken seriously.
Our perception was confirmed in the investigative piece published by the Wall Street Journal in December 2017. Some excerpts from the article:
To the surprise of Obama’s Africa team, the abduction of an entire student body barely registered in the press at home or abroad. In Nigeria, the reaction was muffled by military leaders who informed their president the kidnapping seemed to be a hoax.
‘We knew this was going to be big,’ said Grant T. Harris, Obama’s Africa director. “But it was initially met with a deafening silence.’”
“The first lady’s photo (May 7) would front nearly every Nigerian newspaper, blindsiding President Goodluck Jonathan, whose military still suspected the kidnapping had never happened. Facing an unprecedented form of public pressure from his most powerful ally, Jonathan had few options. He accepted the White House’s request to launch a rescue effort.”
“’We gave them a hammer, but they never picked it up,’ an American officer said. ‘There wasn’t enough political will.’”
“The #BringBackOurGirls campaign had made Nigeria a magnet for reward chasers and have-a-go heroes. The government fuelled the chaos by paying millions of dollars for information that led nowhere. Reuben Abati, President Jonathan’s spokesman at the time, acknowledged the search became a gold rush. ‘There were too many actors working at cross-purposes,’ he said.”

In his memoir, For the Record, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron wrote that at the time of the abduction, British troops traced the location of some of the girls and offered to help, but former President Goodluck Jonathan refused. Even though Mr Cameron’s book was published on September 19, 2019, this part of the book was highlighted as family, friends and concerned citizens painfully marked 2,000 Days of the abduction.
In his words, “As ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign spread across the world, we embedded a team of military and intelligence experts in Nigeria and sent spy planes and Tornadoes with thermal imaging to search for the missing girls. And, amazingly, from the skies above a forest three times the size of Wales, we managed to locate some of them. … But Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, seemed to be asleep at the wheel. When he eventually made a statement, it was to accuse the campaigners of politicizing the tragedy. And absolutely crucially, when we offered to help rescue the girls we had located, he refused.”
However, in a swift response, former President Jonathan issued a statement asserting that Mr Cameron’s claims are inaccurate. He says, “In his book, Mr. Cameron failed to mention that I wrote him requesting his help on Chibok. Why did he suppress that information? I remind him that copies of that letter exist at the State Houses in Nigeria and London. He never called me on the phone to offer any help. On the contrary, I am the one that reached out to him.”
He also stated, “I also authorized the secret deployment of troops from the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel as a result of the Chibok incident, so how Mr. Cameron could say this with a straight face beats me.”

A Nigeria Senator at the time of the abduction has also supported Mr Cameron, stating that his interaction with President Jonathan in the company of nine other Senators and senior government officials showed clearly that the abduction was not being taken seriously. In his words, “…We met him at the First Lady’s meeting room. His service chiefs, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Inspector General of Police (IGP), Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) were also there. Pius Anyim, the then SGF. President Jonathan made us believe all through the meeting that the Chibok story was not real. It was staged. That it was politics. He tried very hard to convince us. This was his mindset and he made no apologies about it.”

Our perceptions, the Wall Street Journal article, a serving Senator’s recollections, that have not been debunked, clearly support Mr Cameron’s assertions.
In describing the fate of the Chibok Girls, Mr Cameron said, “Some of the girls have managed to escape over the following four years, and others have been released, but over a hundred are still missing. Once again. the combination of Islamist extremism and bad governance proved fatal.”
The deadly combination of bad governance and terrorism has been at the heart of our cry to Bring Back Our Girls for over five years because if the government’s disposition to security and human dignity is not reprogrammed, our girls will not return and more of our children will continue to be abducted.
As a citizens-led movement, we are committed to reminding the government of the day of its constitutional responsibility to make the security and welfare of Nigerian citizens its priority. Today, our core demand remains the same, relevant today as it has been on each of the over 2,000 days we have turned up in Abuja, Lagos, London, New York, Washington, DC and all around the world, pressuring two consecutive Presidents of Nigeria to rescue the remaining 112 Chibok Girls, Leah Sharibu and thousands of others that remain in captivity.
For as long as they remain in captivity, we shall continue to carry them in our hearts and make our voices resound and reecho our cries of five years: “Mr President, #BringBackOurGirls now and alive!”
What are we demanding?
#BringBackOurGirls Now & Alive

What are we asking?
The truth, nothing but the truth!

What do we want?
Our girls back now and alive!

When shall we stop?
Not until our girls are back and alive! Not without our daughters!

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Signed:

For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls Abuja Family
Florence Ozor
Gapani Yanga
Nifemi Onifade

For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls Lagos Family
Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi
Aisha Oyebode
Ayo Obe
Babasola Olalere
F.T. Adebayo
Habiba Balogun
Monday Ojon
Ngozi Iwere
‘Yemi Adamolekun
Yemisi Ransome-Kuti

For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls New York Family
Debbie Almontaser
Dionne Boissiere
Donald Robotham
Iman Drammeh-Nur
Laurie Cumbo (New York City Council)
Marcia Fingal
Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome
Naomi Less
Pat Sellers
R. Evon Benson-Idahosa
Rodneyse Bichotte (New York State Assembly)
Ruth Messinger
Shahara Jackson
Sherrie Russell-Brown
Tania Darbouze
Tehilah Eisenstadt

For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls Washington DC Family
Omolola Adele-Oso

Sunday, September 29, 2019

AFRICAN WOMEN AND FEMINISM SYLLABUS, 2012

iconic photo of Sudanese women dubbed "Kandake" (Queen) led protest that culminated in fall of Omar el Bashir regime

BROOKLYN COLLEGE

DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

SPRING 2012

POLITICAL SCIENCE 3412 / AFRICANA STUDIES 3365/

WOMEN’S STUDIES 3447:  AFRICAN WOMEN AND FEMINISM

Wednesday 12:50-03:30PM; 2611 JAMES HALL

Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome, Ph.D.,
3413 James Hall
Phone:  (718) 951-5000, ext. 1742; fax:  (718) 951-4833
email: 
mokome@brooklyn.cuny.edu, mojubaolu@gmail.com
Office Hours:  Mondays & Wednesdays, 4-5pm and by appointment
**When sending email, please write “African Women and Feminism in the subject line so that I can prioritize answering your email. Preferred Email address: mojubaolu@gmail.com
COURSE DESCRIPTION
Feminists assume that there are commonalities shared by all women in the world, which arise from the exercise of patriarchy. As a critical movement, feminism brought a great deal of necessary awareness to the injustices of a social system that privileged some people based on their gender, and oppressed others based on their being less than the norm - the male. However, the feminist movement, in its universalization of the principles of gender analysis, itself developed a hierarchical structure which privileged western bodies of thought and experiences over all others. This course would present the various critiques of feminism that have emerged from African women scholars, and the consequences of this debate to gender relations on the continent.  Our goal is to inquire into the relationship between politics and power.  In doing so, we will consider the underlying assumptions and methods that shape ideas and thought in economic, social, and political life.   
      This course will engage in the analysis of various schools of feminism, resistance to Western feminist thought, proposal of alternative conceptions of feminism and women’s power, particular focus on critiques and alternative theories by African women scholars and activists.    
      A critical pedagogical method will be employed.  This involves meticulous examination of authors' statements to reveal the social and cultural values of the society, the assumptions, presuppositions and implicit arguments of the readings.  The elements involved in this approach are logic, analysis, debate, resourcefulness and initiative.
Conceptual Goals
The primary conceptual goal for this course is to develop an awareness the various strands of feminist analysis particularly African discourses on feminism and women’s power and contestations between African women scholars who embrace feminism and those who reject it.  Students should also grasp the nature of structural inequality and hegemonic control in scholarship on feminism, as well as in African societies.  It is also important to understand how these unequal relations have shaped the form and content of analysis on African women.  These unequal relations have also affected how African women live their lives.  Critical thinking is crucial for us to succeed in improving our level of understanding.   A critical thinker* is someone who:
·    Raises vital questions and problems;
·    Gathers and assess relevant information to interpret them effectively;
·    Comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions;
·    Thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, being cognizant of your own assumptions and their implications for thinking; and
·    Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.
(Richard Paul and Linda Elder. 1999. The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts & Tools.  The Foundation for Critical Thinking, 1.)
Measurable Objectives
     Students should be able to conduct a socio-political analysis on African women and their lives.  They should be able to demonstrate how scholarly discourse and broad social forces have shaped our understanding of who African women are and how they fit into society over time.  Using material from the text, class discussion and lecture material, students should also be able to show how the social locations of African women produce different experiences of privilege and disadvantage in society, while the positioning of people within families creates variations in the empowerment and disempowerment of individuals in social, political and economic life.  Evidence of the ability to do a socio-political analysis will be assessed through a series of low and high stakes assignments and two examinations.  Critical thinking will be developed in a number of ways.  Each week we will pose important questions relevant to understanding diversity in family life.  The assigned readings and lectures will provide the background material necessary for students to develop reasoned responses to these questions.  Online discussion groups will allow students to communicate with one another, questioning their thinking about the material from the course.  Exams and a term paper will provide opportunities to demonstrate critical thinking in written form.
Required Textbooks
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Purple Hibiscus Random House
Sefi Atta Everything Good Will Come Interlink Books, 2001
Mariama Ba So Long a Letter. Heinemann, 1989.
Tsitsi Dangarembga Nervous Conditions 
Online Course packet of selected articles and essays available at the course’s Blackboard site.
Recommended texts
Mama, Amina Fatou Sow & Ayesha Imam, eds. Engendering African Social Sciences Dakar, Codesria, 1997
Mikell, Gwendolyn, ed. African Feminism: The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997.
Narayan, Uma Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions and 3rd World Feminism N.Y: Routledge, 1997.
Oyewumi, Oyeronke ed. African Women and Feminism: Reflecting on the Politics of Sisterhood. NJ: Africa World Press, 2003
Oyewumi, Oyeronke The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1997.
Amadiume, Ifi Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in An African Society.  London:  Zed Books, 1987
Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn, Sharon Harley & Andrea Benton Rushing, eds. Women in Africa and the African Diaspora Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1989
Grading Policy
Grades for this course will be determined as follows:
Participation in all classes is required.  One half point will be taken off for each case of non-participation. Only medical reasons and other serious emergencies will be accepted.
How is class participation measured?  Students are expected to complete all assigned readings and to participate in all classroom discussions.   (Note that this component, which is mandatory, consists of attendance, up to date reading of all assigned materials. and articulate, well-reasoned discussion. The appropriateness and relevance of your participation is taken very seriously.  (15%)
·    Pay attention to each week’s Learning Objectives.  This will let you know what you should be able to do after finishing the work for the week.  It might be a good idea for you to read the learning objectives before reading the assigned chapter.  However, you should do the assigned reading before continuing on to the lecture.
·    Also, you are given some hints and tasks for your Term Paper.  As a “term” paper, you will be doing this over the entire term (vs. the week before it is due). 
In addition to these weekly activities, there will be two exams and a term paper.
Each exam will count for 30% of your course grade (or cumulatively 60%).  Exams will be made up of a series of essay questions. 
MIDTERM: 30%
FINAL EXAM: 30%
TERM PAPER:  A ten-page paper is required.  25%
Due date:  May 11th
NOTE:  Students must submit their topics/subjects for approval by the fourth week of classes – March 23rd   
·       Term Paper    Over the course of the term, students will be exploring some aspect of feminism, womanism, and women’s empowerment in Africa in some detail.  You are asked to think about women’s empowerment in terms of the political, economic and social challenges and opportunities that African women confront.  The readings in the first week help to situate these concerns).  For example, disparities in social standing, economic and political power present several challenges to African women that prevent them from rising to the top in all these spheres.  The fact that some women are able to surmount these challenges and attain positions of power also means that there are some opportunities.  As a political scientist, you are asked to address these issues in a paper that will have three parts.  In addition, there will four checkpoints in the term where I will ask you to submit material from your paper.  The project will unfold as follows:
Part One
What is the problem?  In this part of the paper you will address your problem by defining what it is and why it’s a problem.  For example, you might choose political participation.  You would need to do some research to focus in on what is meant by political participation, how it is measured, and how prevalent it is.  You might begin with a search in Academic Search Premier, J-Stor, Project Muse, and selected newspaper articles.  You might even check the index of your textbook and look ahead to how we have written about the subject.  The primary point, however, is to engage in political analysis in how you conceptualize the problem.  All paper topics must be approved before the end of the fourth week of class
Part Two
How is this problem related to issues of gender, ethnicity, social class, social status, and/or age.  You will have read enough material in class by the third week to understand the issues of ethnic diversity, and power disparity.  You can now focus more in your reference searches using our library's online full-text databases.  You are welcome, and encouraged, to extend beyond Academic Search Premier.  J-Stor, Project Muse, and selected newspaper articles and other library databases should be explored as sources of scholarly, peer reviewed articles for your paper.  For books, search in World Catalog.  Do not depend on search engines like Google, and if you are inclined to do so, email me first.  Your paper must be based on scholarly, peer-reviewed sources. 
Part Three
How can this problem be addressed?  Now that you have a clear understanding of what the problem is, and how it is experienced differently across groups, what are some ways to address the problem?  How can we institute social change? 
Checkpoints:
o  End of week two:  start thinking about paper topics.
o  End of week four:  paper topic must be approved.  Begin working on the outline of paper and references
o  End of week seven: updated outline and references gathered “so far.”, and a thesis statement.
o  End of week nine:  Annotated bibliography.  An annotated bibliography gives a brief summary of each source that you would use for your paper in at least three paragraphs and also what the source would contribute to your paper.
Papers will be evaluated using the following criteria:
Ideas and content
The writer brings to bear her or his own ideas and sees them in relation to the question being raised on issues relevant to the class.  This means you should show good socio-political imagination.
Organization and development
·        The essay has a thesis, and the writing goes on at sufficient length to accommodate extended thought and the development of the idea (10 pages of 12 point roman text). 
·        The writing reflects a coherent plan of development.
Use of source material
·        The writer uses quotations, details, and examples from texts appropriately in support of his or her interpretations. 
§  Sources can include our textbook, academic articles, and minor use of media sources (the latter used only to establish that the topic is noteworthy for because it has attracted media attention).
Revising and editing
·        The essay is relatively free from minor errors such as those in spelling, sentence structure, and grammar, so as to allow for relatively unimpeded reading.

IMPORTANT DATES:  See Last page.
LIBRARY TOUR AND EFFECTIVE USE OF ELECTRONIC DATABASES Room 120, Library:  DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED.   
Grades will be assigned as follows: 
92-100%
=
A
  
72-77%
=
C
90-91%
=
A-
  
70-71%
=
C-
88-89%
=
B+
  
68-69%
=
D+
82-87%
=
B
  
62-67%
=
D
80-81%
=
B-
  
60-61%
=
D-
78-79%
=
C+
  
0-59%
=
F
There will be no extra credit allowed for this course.
Policy on Student Conduct
Students are expected to conduct themselves in the classroom (e.g., on discussion boards) in compliance with the university's regulations regarding civility.  Students are expected to comply with all regulations pertaining to academic honesty as well.  For further information, visit Http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/pub/documents/academicintegritypolicy.pdf
Statement Regarding Disabilities
Students with documented disabilities who may need accommodations, who have any emergency medical information that I should know, or who need special arrangements in the event of evacuation, should make an appointment with me as early as possible, no later than the first Week of the term.  Students seeking accommodations should be registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. Also see: http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/about/offices/disability.php
Outline of Course and Due Dates
Week and Topic
Reading Assignments
Discussion Prompt for Color Boards
Term Paper-related tasks.
WEEK 1 Introduction to the Course:  Week 1: Issue:  Framing the issues  Establishing what is involved in this approach. 
GENDER, FEMINISM OR FEMINISMS: RELEVANCE TO AFRICA?
  1. Mohanty, Chandra Talpade “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses” Feminist Review NO : 30 Autumn, 1988 PP : 61-88
  2. King, Deborah K.Multiple Jeopardy, “Multiple Consciousness: The Context of a Black Feminist Ideology” Signs VO : 14 NO : 1 Autumn, 1988, PP : 42-72
  1. Dube, M. (1999). Searching for the Lost Needle: Double Colonization & Poscolonial African Feminisms. Studies in World Christianity, 5(2), 213.

  1. Badejo, D. (1998, Summer). African feminism: Mythical and social power of women of African descent. Research in African Literatures, 29(2), 94.
  2. Begin reading Tsitsi Dangarembga Nervous Conditions
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes.
Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by Mohanty, King, and Badejo. What is their position on feminism?
Search Academic Search Premier.  J-Stor, Project Muse, and other databases in the Library’s electronic database list.  selected newspaper articles, and other library databases should be explored as sources of scholarly, peer reviewed articles for your paper.  For books, search in World Catalog to get ideas on course project
Week 2
Issue: Understanding the roots, history, and strands of feminism.  
FEMINISM, WOMANISM, ACTIVISM: POSTCOLONIAL, EMERGENT, AND INDIGENOUS FEMINISMS 
1.  Owomoyela, Oyekan “With Friends like These... A Critique of Pervasive Anti-Africanisms in Current African Studies Epistemology and Methodology” African Studies Review VO: 37 NO: 3 Dec., 1994, PP : 77-101
2.  Phillips, Layli; McCaskill, Barbara “Who's Schooling Who? Black Women and the Bringing of the Everyday into Academe, or Why We Started "The Womanist" SignsVO : 20 NO : 4, Summer, 1995 PP : 1007-1018
3.  Reed, P. (2001, September). Africana Womanism and African Feminism: A Philosophical, Literary, and Cosmological Dialectic on Family. Western Journal of Black Studies, 25(3), 168.
4.  Margaret Snyder  “African Contributions to the Global Women’s  Movement” Lecture at University of Wisconsin, April 9, 2003.     (available on Blackboard)
5.  Filomina Chioma Steady “An Investigative Framework For Gender Research In Africa In The New Millennium” http://www.codesria.org/Links/conferences/gender/STEADY.pdf
Epstein, Barbara “The Successes And Failures Of Feminism” Journal of Women's History 7/31/2002 V.14; N.2 118
6.  Ginzberg, Lori D. “Re-Viewing the First Wave” Feminist Studies, VO : 28 , NO : 2, Summer, 2002,  PP : 418-434 Second Wave Feminism in the United States
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student
Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by Layli et al.,  Snyder, and Steady.  What is each scholar’s position on feminism? How are these positions similar or different?
*Begin thinking about a topic for your term paper.  Topics must be approved
Choose the topic for research paper and begin library research. 
Writing assignment: hand in one page with topic of research paper,
Assignment - answer the question, what is feminism? Who is a feminist?  Students will edit and re-write the paper as a homework assignment, which will be kept in a portfolio.
Week 3
Issue:  What are the grounds of dispute between feminists?
WOMEN’S ACTIVISM, WOMEN’S POWER: CHALLENGING ESSENTIALISM
1.    Amina Mama,  “Gender Studies for Africa’s Transformation” Paper Presented at CODESRIA 30th Anniversary Grand Finale 12th Dec 2003 http://www.codesria.org/Links/conferences/dakar/amina.pdf
2.  Chi-Chi Uchendu “Proper” Women or Preconceived Notions?: The Impact of Gender and Cultural Differences Upon Development Policy” http://www.umbc.edu/llc/PDFfiles/properwomen.pdf
3. Bibi Bakare-Yusuf “Beyond Determinism: The Phenomenology of African Female Existence”  Feminist Africa, Issue 2, 2003 http://www.feministafrica.org/2level.html
4.  Azuonye, C. (2006, April). Feminist or Simply Feminine?: Reflections on the Works of Nana Asmā'u, a Nineteenth-Century West African Woman Poet, Intellectual, and Social Activist. Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, 6(2), 54-77. Retrieved January 28, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.
5.  Makan, Vainola “Women in Africa: Women's Movements and the State” Agenda Celebrating 10 Years NO: 34, 1997, PP : 80-88
6.  Tripp, Aili Mari “Rethinking Difference: Comparative Perspectives from Africa” Signs
VO : 25 NO : 3, Spring, 2000 PP : 649-675.
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes. Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?
Writing assignment:  In at least three paragraphs, identify what you consider to be the position taken by these scholars.  Re-write this paper as a homework assignment.  Keep it in your portfolio. The goal of your writing is to make the case that there are different scholarly perspectives on the same issue:  Women’s empowerment and feminism in the African continent.
Week 4
Issue: examining the hoary problems of feminism 

FAMILY ENTANGLEMENTS:  GENDER IN AN AFRICAN FAMILY
1.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Purple Hibiscus Random House
2.  Nzegwu, Nkiru. "Iyoba Idia:  The Hidden Oba of Benin." JENDA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies Issue 9: 2006 http://www.jendajournal.com/issue9/nzegwu.html
3. Judith van Allen "Sitting on a Man": Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, Vol. 6, No. 2, Special Issue: The Roles of African Women: Past, Present and Future. (1972), pp. 165-181.
4.  Judith Van Allen “ ‘Aba Riots’ or Igbo ‘Women’s War’?  Ideology, Stratification, and the Invisibility of Women.” In Nancy J. Hafkin and Edna G. Bay, Women in Africa:  Studies in Social and Economic Change.  Stanford, CA:  Stanford University Press, 1976, pp. 59-85.
NOTE:  Term Paper Topic Due
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes. Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?
Continue writing.
*Turn in outline and references accessed to date.
Questions: If the author of Purple Hibiscus were available, what questions would you ask her? 
What is Nzegwu’s argument?  What is Van Allen’s argument?
Week 5   
Issue:  Enumerate the gender issues identified in the text for analyses in class.
COMMENTARIES AND ESSAYS ABOUT FEMINISM, GENDER, ORGANIZING, SOCIAL CHANGE AND MEANING
1.  Charmaine Pereira “Between Knowing and Imagining: What Space for Feminism in Scholarship on Africa?” http://www.feministafrica.org/fa%201/2level.html
2.  Amory, Deborah P. "Homosexuality" in Africa: Issues and Debates” Issue: A Journal of Opinion VO : 25 NO : 1, 1997 PP : 5-10
3.  O'Barr, Jean F.; Tinker, Irene; Hultman, Tami; Gaidzanwa, Rudo; Guy-Sheftall, Beverly; Callaway, Helen; Basu, Amrita; Bernstein, Alison “Reflections on Forum '85 in Nairobi, Kenya: Voices from the International Women's Studies Community” Signs VO: 11 NO : 3 Spring, 1986 PP : 584-608
4.  Hendessi, Mandana “Fourteen Thousand Women Meet: Report from Nairobi, July 1985” Feminist Review
Socialist-Feminism: Out of the Blue, NO : 23, Socialist-Feminism: Out of the Blue Summer, 1986, PP : 147-156
5.   Chow, Esther Ngan-ling “Conference Reports; Reflections on the Fourth World Conference on Women and NGO Forum '95: Making Waves, Moving Mountains: Reflections on Beijing '95 and beyond” Signs VO: 22 NO: 1 Autumn, 1996 PP : 185-192
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes. Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?
Continue research and writing.  Identify the arguments made by these scholars.  On what points do they agree?  On what points do they disagree?  This assignment will be rewritten, and will evolve into the two- page opinion paper on African feminism.  Continue writing. Writing assignment: thesis statement of research paper, and two annotated bibliographic sources
Week 6
Issue: Enumerate the gender issues identified in the text for analyses 
WOMEN’S RIGHTS: CONCEPTS, STRUGGLES, DISCOURSE
1.  Molara Ogundipe-Leslie “Invite Tyrants to Commit Suicide:  Gender Violence, Human Rights, and African Women in Contemporary African Nation States.”  In Gender Violence and Women’s Human Rights in Africa. Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University, 1994, pp. 1-8.
2.  Gawaya, R., & Mukasa, R. (2005, November). The African women’s protocol: a new dimension for women’s rights in Africa. Gender & Development, 13(3), 42-50.
3.  Geisler, Gisela 'Parliament is Another Terrain of Struggle': Women, Men and Politics in South Africa”  The Journal of Modern African Studies VO: 38 NO : 4 Dec., 2000 PP : 605-630
4.  Doezema, Jo “Ouch!: Western Feminists' 'Wounded Attachment' to the 'Third World Prostitute'” Feminist Review NO : 67, Spring, 2001, PP : 16-38
5.  Berkovitch, Nitza; Bradley, Karen “The Globalization of Women's Status: Consensus/Dissensus in the World Polity” Sociological Perspectives VO: 42 NO: 3 Autumn, 1999, PP : 481-498
6.  McDowell, Linda “Doing Gender: Feminism, Feminists and Research Methods in Human Geography”  Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers VO: 17 NO: 4 , 1992, PP: 399-416
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes.
Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?
.   
*Expanded outline and references due. 
*Corrected thesis statement and research questions due.. 
Week 7
Issue:  Enumerate the gender issues identified in the text for analyses in class. 
FEMINISM, RACE, ETHNICITY, DEVELOPMENT AND GENDER
1.  Nettles, Kimberly D.; Patton, Venetria K. “Seen but Not Heard: The Racial Gap between Feminist Discourse and Practice” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies VO : 21
NO : 3, Identity and the Academy 2000, PP : 64-81
2.  Achola Pala Okeyo “Women and Africa:  Reflections on Development Myths” Africa Report, March-April 1981, pp.  7-10.
3.  Ransby, Barbara “Black Feminism at Twenty-One: Reflections on the Evolution of a National Community” Signs VO : 25 NO : 4, Summer, 2000 PP : 1215-1221
4.  duCille, Ann The Occult of True Black Womanhood: Critical Demeanor and Black Feminist Studies  Signs VO : 19 NO : 3 Spring, 1994, PP : 591-629
5.  Booth, Karen M. “Internationalism and Women's Welfare - National Mother, Global Whore, and Transnational Femocrats: The Politics of AIDS and the Construction of Women at the World Health Organization” Feminist Studies VO : 24 NO : 1, Spring, 1998
PP : 115-139

Midterm exam 
MIDTERM EXAMINATION
Week 8
Issue:  Enumerate the gender issues identified in the text for analyses in class. 
CONSTRUCTING MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE ON DIFFERENCE: FEMINISM WOMEN’S POWER, AND POSTMODERNISM IN WOMEN’S STUDIES AND THE ACADEMY
1.  Radford-Hill, Sheila Keepin' It Real: A Generational Commentary on Kimberly Springer's "Third Wave Black Feminism?" Signs VO : 27 NO : 4 Summer, 2002 PP : 1083-1089
2.  Brouwer, Ruth Compton “Books for Africans: Margaret Wrong and the Gendering of African Writing, 1929-1963” The International Journal of African Historical Studies VO : 31
NO : 1, 1998, PP : 53-71
3.  Friedman, Susan Stanford “Beyond White and Other: Relationality and Narratives of Race in Feminist Discourse” Signs VO : 21 NO : 1 Autumn, 1995, PP : 1-49
4.  Monga, Yvette Djachechi “Dollars and Lipstick: The United States through the Eyes of African Women” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute VO : 70, NO : 2, 2000 PP : 192-208
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes.  Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?
Continue writing and research.   
Writing assignment: four more annotated bibliographic sources. 
Week 9  
Issue: Enumerate the gender issues identified in the text for analyses in class. 
POSITIONALITY, PERSPECTIVE, RACE AND GENDER
1.   Maher, Frances A.; Tetreault, Mary Kay, “Frames of Positionality: Constructing Meaningful Dialogues about Gender and Race” Anthropological Quarterly VO : 66 NO : 3, Jul., 1993, PP : 118-126
2.  Ware, Vron “Moments of Danger: Race, Gender, and Memories of Empire” History and Theory VO : 31 NO : 4, Dec., 1992, PP : 116-137
3. Kanyoro, Musimbi,Engendered Communal Theology: African Women's Contribution to Theology in the Twenty-First Century. By: Feminist Theology: The Journal of the Britain & Ireland School of Feminist Theology, May 2001, Issue 27
4.  Steegstra, Marijke,'A Mighty Obstacle To The Gospel': Basel Missionaries, Krobo Women, And Conflicting Ideas Of Gender And Sexuality. Journal of Religion in Africa, 2002, Vol. 32, Issue 2
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes.  Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?
Draft research paper due.  
Week 10
Issue:  Understanding the issues in the construction of African women’s history. 
ECONOMIC INFLUENCES ON THE POLITICAL
1.  Mbilinyi, Marjorie, “Women Studies and the Crisis in Africa” Social Scientist VO : 13
NO : 10/11, Oct. - Nov., 1985, PP : 72-85
2.  McFadden, P. (2005). “Becoming Postcolonial: African Women Changing the Meaning of Citizenship”. (pp. 1-18). Indiana University Press.
3.  Readings:  Mikell, G. (1995, Summer). African feminism: Toward a new politics of representation. Feminist Studies, 21(2), 405.

4.  Felicia I. Ekejiuba “Down to Fundamentals:  Women-centered Hearth-holds in Rural West Africa.”  In In Nancy J. Hafkin and Edna G. Bay, Women in Africa:  Studies in Social and Economic Change.  Stanford, CA:  Stanford University Press, 1976, pp. 47-61
5.  Hoppe, Kirk “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?: Issues of Representation in Life Narrative Texts of African Women” The International Journal of African Historical Studies” VO : 26 NO : 3 1993 PP : 623-636
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes.  Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?
Individual conference with each student on necessary corrections to research paper.    

 
Week 11 
Issue:  Making Commitments: Cohabitation and Singlehood
Identify the key issues and arguments.  

NUPTIALITY, DOMESTICITY AND FAMILY
1.  Nakanyike B. Musisi, “Colonial and Missionary Education:  Women and Domesticity in Uganda, 1900-1945, in Karen Tranberg Hansen, ed.  African Encounters With Domesticity.  New Brunswick:  NJ:  Rutgers University Press, pp.  172-194.
2.  Thérèse Locoh “Social Change and Marriage Arrangements:  New Types of Union in Lomé, Togo, in Catherine Bledsoe and Gilles Pison, eds.  Nuptiality in Sub-Saharan Africa:  Contemporary Anthropological and Demographic Perspectives.  Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1994, pp. 215-230.s
3.  Mariama Ba So Long a Letter. Heinemann, 1989.
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes.  Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?

WORK ON TERM PAPER.  MAKE CORRECTIONS.  DO MORE RESEARCH IF NEEDED. 
What are the three most important points made by Musisi and Locoh?
If the author of were available, So Long a Letter what questions would you ask her?
Week 12
Issue:  Outline the argument and the basis of critique.  
GENDER, COLONIALITY AND POST-COLONIALITY
2.  Ogunyemi, Chikwenye Okonjo Womanism: “The Dynamics of the Contemporary Black Female Novel in English” Signs VO : 11 NO : 1, Autumn, 1985, PP : 63-80
3.  Parmar, Pratibha; Minh-ha, Trinh T., “Woman, Native, Other”, Feminist Review NO : 36 Autumn, 1990, PP : 65-74

NOTE: NOV 26-29:  COLLEGE CLOSED-THANKSGIVING RECESS
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes.  Focus of class discussion:  identify three main issues raised by each author.  How are the perspectives similar?  How are they different?
In-class writing assignment:  What is Dangarembga argument?  What is Okonjo-Ogunyemi’s argument? What do Parmar and Minh-ha argue? What are their critiques of Western Feminism? 
TERM PAPER DUE
Week 13
Issue:  Outline the argument and critiques of feminism. 
FEMALE CIRCUMCISION
2.  Okome, Mojubaolu "What Women, Whose Development? A Critical Analysis of Reformist Feminist Evangelism on African Women in Oyeronke Oyewumi, ed. African Women and Feminism: Responses to the Politics of Sisterhood Trenton: Africa World Press, 2003.
2.  Leslye A. Obiora "The Little Foxes that Spoil the Vine: Re-visiting the Feminist Critique of Female Circumcision," Canadian Journal of Women & Law, 9, 46 (1996). Reprinted in African Women and Feminism: Responses to the Politics of Sisterhood, ed., Oyeronke Oyewumi (Trenton, NJ.: Africa World Press, 2003).
3.  Fuambai Ahmadu
Ahmadu, F. (2007) “Ain’t I a woman too?: challenging myths of sexual dysfunction in circumcised women." From "Transcultural Bodies: Female Genital Cutting in Global Context." Y. Hernlund and B. Shell-Duncan (eds). Rutgers University Press, pp 278-310
4.  Ahmadu, F. (2000) "Rites and wrongs: excision and power among Kono women of Sierra Leone." From "Female 'Circumcision': Culture, Controversy, and Change." B. Shell-Duncan and Y. Hernlund (eds). Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp 283-312
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes
Compare and Contrast Okome Obiora & Ahmadu’s arguments.
Week 14 CONCLUSION
COMING OF AGE IN URBAN AFRICA:  A FICTIONAL ACCOUNT
Sefi Atta Everything Good Will Come Interlink Books, 2001
All students
contribute to framing the issues. One student summarizes board
What is the perspective presented by Atta in this book?
FINAL Exams 
You will choose two out of five essay questions.  You are expected to draw on the readings, lectures and class discussions.
FINAL EXAMINATION



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