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Women’s Authority and Society in East-Central Africa. By Christine Saidi. Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, Rochester University Press, Rochester, 2010, xiv+187 pp. ISBN 978-1-58046-327-0. £ 50.00 (Hardcover).

Women’s Authority and Society in East-Central Africa. By Christine Saidi. Rochester Studies in... Spanning the second millennium BC to the 19th century, this volume addresses the place and role of women in societies of East-Central Africa, primarily Zambia and Malawi, but also including southern parts of DRC and Tanzania. Using multi-disciplinary sources, including historical linguistics, archaeology and ethnography, Saidi has woven together a narrative that integrates topics as diverse as female sexuality and ceramic production. The primary impetus behind this volume is the perceived androcentric bias of colonial observers, which, Saidi argues, has shaped subsequent historical research, and denied a voice to female agency (Chapter 1). In particular, Saidi highlights the introduction of western stereotypes that framed how African society was understood. Thus the nuclear family is regarded as `natural', whilst women are principally regarded as wives, rather than mothers or sisters. These structuring principles governed early observers, and have, as Saidi argues, seeped into historical reconstructions as well, thus denying or overlooking the multi-faceted role of female authority in the region, and instead emphasising patrilineal descent. This volume is therefore a challenge to this accepted history, and a rejection of stereotype. In Chapter 2 Saidi presents her re-evaluation of the linguistic and archaeological data, arguing for example, that proto-Sabi was http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

Women’s Authority and Society in East-Central Africa. By Christine Saidi. Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, Rochester University Press, Rochester, 2010, xiv+187 pp. ISBN 978-1-58046-327-0. £ 50.00 (Hardcover).

Journal of African Archaeology , Volume 9 (1): 121 – Oct 25, 2011

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2011 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.3213/2191-5784-10173
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Spanning the second millennium BC to the 19th century, this volume addresses the place and role of women in societies of East-Central Africa, primarily Zambia and Malawi, but also including southern parts of DRC and Tanzania. Using multi-disciplinary sources, including historical linguistics, archaeology and ethnography, Saidi has woven together a narrative that integrates topics as diverse as female sexuality and ceramic production. The primary impetus behind this volume is the perceived androcentric bias of colonial observers, which, Saidi argues, has shaped subsequent historical research, and denied a voice to female agency (Chapter 1). In particular, Saidi highlights the introduction of western stereotypes that framed how African society was understood. Thus the nuclear family is regarded as `natural', whilst women are principally regarded as wives, rather than mothers or sisters. These structuring principles governed early observers, and have, as Saidi argues, seeped into historical reconstructions as well, thus denying or overlooking the multi-faceted role of female authority in the region, and instead emphasising patrilineal descent. This volume is therefore a challenge to this accepted history, and a rejection of stereotype. In Chapter 2 Saidi presents her re-evaluation of the linguistic and archaeological data, arguing for example, that proto-Sabi was

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Oct 25, 2011

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