African Feminism(s): Contemporary Standpoints and Sites of Interpretation

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Josephine BEOKU-BETTS, Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA
Debates in the field of African feminisms have grown exponentially over the past three decades and interpreted from multiple and shifting sites. These debates are not mutually exclusive. They share common goals of empowering women to realize their full potential, share concerns about poverty, illiteracy, health, reproductive rights, political participation, and many recognize the importance of addressing issues of race, class, ethnicity, religion, and bodily and sexual integrity in their analysis of issues affecting women’s empowerment in Africa. African feminisms are also informed by local and global geo-economic, political, and cultural processes, and by engagement with transnational and regional feminist movements.

This presentation will critically examine commonalities and variations in African feminist dialogues, ranging from neoliberal feminism, “sociocentric” feminism, “negofeminism” or indigenous African feminism, to transformatory models informed by scholarship and activism and an open commitment to the goals of global and African feminist dialogues. In addition, I will discuss some of the distinctions between African feminist and women’s movements, collaborations between activists and scholars, dialogues on women’s empowerment and emergence of increasingly politicized and ideological feminist agendas which are informed by critical theory and praxis.