“A clear and concise introduction to the woman and to the domestic and international politics that have shaped her personally and professionally.”
Peace A. Medie, Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, University of Ghana
In this timely addition to the Ohio Short Histories of Africa series, Pamela Scully takes us from the 1938 birth of Nobel Peace Prize winner and two-time Liberian president Ellen Johnson through the Ebola epidemic of 2014–15. Charting her childhood and adolescence, the book covers Sirleaf’s relationship with her indigenous grandmother and urban parents, her early marriage, her years studying in the United States, and her career in international development and finance, where she developed her skill as a technocrat. The later chapters cover her years in and out of formal Liberian politics, her support for women’s rights, and the Ebola outbreak.
Sirleaf’s story speaks to many of the key themes of the twenty-first century. Among these are the growing power of women in the arenas of international politics and human rights; the ravaging civil wars in which sexual violence is used as a weapon; and the challenges of transitional justice in building postconflict societies. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is an astute examination of the life of a pioneering feminist politician.
Pamela Scully is professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and of African studies at Emory University. Her most recent book is the coauthored biography Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography. More info →
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A penetrating, accessible portrait of the activist whose execution galvanized the world. Hanged by the Nigerian government on November 10, 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa became a martyr for the Ogoni people and for human rights activists, as well as a symbol of modern Africans’ struggle against military dictatorship, corporate power, and environmental exploitation.
Thomas Sankara, often called the African Che Guevara, was president of Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa, until his assassination during the military coup that brought down his government. Although his tenure in office was relatively short, Sankara left an indelible mark on his country’s history and development.
First formed in the early twentieth century, the ANC Women’s League has grown into a leading organization in the women’s movement in South Africa. The league has been at the forefront of the nation’s century-long transition from an authoritarian state to a democracy that espouses gender equality as a core constitutional value.