“A groundbreaking work of scholarship [that] contributes to a wide range of literatures. These include feminist scholarship on gender and militarism in Africa, the extensive historiography on African colonial militaries, and the historical literature of women’s roles in Western European armies.… Not only a significant and sophisticated contribution to the historical literature on the tirailleurs sénégalais and other African colonial armies but also to the growing literature on gender and militarism in Africa. Due to its temporal, geographic, and thematic scope, it will be of interest to scholars of African, global, and military history.”
Lennart Bolliger, author of Apartheid's Black Soldiers: Un-National Wars and Militaries in Southern Africa
“Militarizing Marriage’s focus on African soldiers’ conjugal unions, households, and trans-imperial sexual relationships adds exciting new dimensions to the historiography of colonial militaries and their roles in imperial conquest, occupation, as well as in the world wars.”
Michelle R. Moyd, author of Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa
“An original, significant contribution to the field of African history, Zimmerman’s thoroughly researched and insightful study on French colonial marital traditions discusses how the conjugal relationships between West African tirailleurs sénégalais soldiers and local women over Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia—and their resulting mixed-race children—represented a challenge to the French colonial racial hierarchy”
Tim Stapleton, author of Africa: War and Conflict in the Twentieth Century
Following tirailleurs sénégalais’ deployments in West Africa, Congo, Madagascar, North Africa, Syria-Lebanon, Vietnam, and Algeria from the 1880s to 1962, Militarizing Marriage historicizes how African servicemen advanced conjugal strategies with women at home and abroad. Sarah J. Zimmerman examines the evolution of women’s conjugal relationships with West African colonial soldiers to show how the sexuality, gender, and exploitation of women were fundamental to the violent colonial expansion and the everyday operation of colonial rule in modern French Empire.
These conjugal behaviors became military marital traditions that normalized the intimate manifestation of colonial power in social reproduction across the empire. Soldiers’ cross-colonial and interracial households formed at the intersection of race and sexuality outside the colonizer/colonized binary. Militarizing Marriage uses contemporary feminist scholarship on militarism and violence to portray how the subjugation of women was indispensable to military conquest and colonial rule.
Sarah J. Zimmerman is an associate professor in history at Western Washington University. Her research focuses on the experiences of women and the operation of gender in West Africa and French Empire. She has published articles in the International Journal of African Historical Studies and Les Temps modernes. More info →
Review in the International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 54, No. 1 (2021)Download
Save 20% ($27.96)
Save 20% ($64)
US and Canada only
Availability and price vary according to vendor.
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center
The askari, African soldiers recruited in the 1890s to fill the ranks of the German East African colonial army, occupy a unique space at the intersection of East African history, German colonial history, and military history.Lauded by Germans for their loyalty during the East Africa campaign of World War I, but reviled by Tanzanians for the violence they committed during the making of the colonial state between 1890 and 1918, the askari have been poorly understood as historical agents.
Conjugal Rights is a history of the role of marriage and other arrangements between men and women in Libreville, Gabon, during the French colonial era, from the mid–nineteenth century through 1960. Conventional historiography has depicted women as few in number and of limited influence in African colonial towns, but this book demonstrates that a sexual economy of emotional, social, legal, and physical relationships between men and women indelibly shaped urban life.Bridewealth
In Idi Amin’s Shadow is a rich social history examining Ugandan women’s complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship to Amin’s military state. Based on more than one hundred interviews with women who survived the regime, as well as a wide range of primary sources, this book reveals how the violence of Amin’s militarism resulted in both opportunities and challenges for women.
States of Marriage shows how throughout the colonial period in French Sudan (present-day Mali) the institution of marriage played a central role in how the empire defined its colonial subjects as gendered persons with certain attendant rights and privileges. The book is a modern history of the ideological debates surrounding the meaning of marriage, as well as the associated legal and sociopolitical practices in colonial and postcolonial Mali.
Sign up to be notified when new African Studies titles come out.
We will only use your email address to notify you of new titles in the subject area(s) you follow. We will never share your information with third parties.