“When Women Wear Slacks”: Gender and Embodied Nationalism in Africa
February 25 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Dr. Jacqueline Mougoué will participate in Michigan State University’s Eye on Africa speaker series.
Mougoué’s talk, “‘When Women Wear Slacks’: Gender and Embodied Nationalism in Africa,” illuminates how issues of ideal womanhood shaped the Anglophone Cameroonian nationalist movement in 1960s Cameroon, a west-central African country that was at the time newly independent. Drawing upon history, political science, gender studies, and feminist epistemologies, Mougoué discusses how the employment of the concept of “embodied nationalism” illustrates the political importance of women’s everyday behavior—the clothes they wore, such as slacks, the foods they cooked, whether they gossiped, and their deference to husbands who engaged in extramarital affairs—even as they increasingly entered the formal workforce. Mougoué explains how politically elite and formally educated women connected women’s behavior to the cultural values and the self-determination of the Anglophone Cameroonian state within a Francophone Cameroonian dominated republic. In highlighting the strategies Anglophone Cameroonians used to navigate a turbulent political setting, the research findings of the talk provide a useful background to the long-standing Anglophone Cameroonian separatist/secessionist movement specifically and useful entrée to understanding women’s roles in separatist and secessionist projects across the world, such as in Canada (Quebec), the United States (Puerto Rico), and China (Hong Kong).