Transformations in gendered divisions of labor and in women's access to resources are fundamental to understanding contemporary African societies. We explore how African women have created contexts for productivity using strategies such as marriage, pledged female friendship, and voluntary dependency. We investigate the the loss of women's work of governing in the colonial period, and the consequences for women's wealth and productivity of incorporation into a global market economy. Our main texts will be recorded life histories from Tanzania in the 1890s, Nigeria in the 1940s, and South Africa in the 1960s. Fiction, film, and primary sources such as the testimony of participants in the Ibo Women's War of 1929 will also be used.
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