“This brilliant, insightful, and accessible work by a highly gifted historian superbly maps a continent-wide articulation of women’s power, influence, and authority in Africa. Achebe’s African-centered and culturally grounded work mandates a rethinking of African historiography and unveils a deeper understanding of the gender question in Africa.”
Obioma Nnaemeka, Chancellor’s Professor, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, and author of Sisterhood, Feminisms and Power: From Africa to the Diaspora
“Achebe has provided students of African and world history with an invaluable guide to the roles played by African women in politics, economics, and religion, past and present. She has done much to fill the gap left in African studies by the shortage of accessible studies such as this one.”
Jonathan T. Reynolds, Regents Professor, Northern Kentucky University, and author of Sovereignty and Struggle: Africa and Africans in the Era of the Cold War, 1945–1994
An unapologetically African-centered monograph that reveals physical and spiritual forms and systems of female power and leadership in African cultures.
Nwando Achebe’s unparalleled study documents elite females, female principles, and female spiritual entities across the African continent, from the ancient past to the present. Achebe breaks from Western perspectives, research methods, and their consequently incomplete, skewed accounts, to demonstrate the critical importance of distinctly African source materials and world views to any comprehensible African history. This means accounting for the two realities of African cosmology: the physical world of humans and the invisible realm of spiritual gods and forces. That interconnected universe allows biological men and women to become female-gendered males and male-gendered females. This phenomenon empowers the existence of particular African beings, such as female husbands, male priestesses, female kings, and female pharaohs. Achebe portrays their combined power, influence, and authority in a sweeping, African-centric narrative that leads to an analogous consideration of contemporary African women as heads of state, government officials, religious leaders, and prominent entrepreneurs.
Nwando Achebe, the Jack and Margaret Sweet Endowed Professor of History at Michigan State University, is the award-winning author of six books, including Farmers, Traders, Warriors, and Kings: Female Power and Authority in Northern Igboland, 1900–1960 and The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe. More info →
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This omnibus edition brings together concise and up-to-date biographies of Steve Biko, Emperor Haile Selassie, Patrice Lumumba, and Thomas Sankara. African Leaders of the Twentieth Century will complement courses in history and political science and serve as a useful collection for the general reader.Steve Biko, by Lindy Wilson Steve Biko inspired a generation of black South Africans to claim their true identity and refuse to be a part of their own oppression.
In this concise biography, Scully shows us how the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner and two-time Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf 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 of the post–Cold War era in which sexual violence is used as a weapon; and the challenges of transitional justice in building postconflict societies.
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