2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

African Women and Empire:The Untold Story of Colonialism
Ifeanyi J. Elechi
Dr. Linda Seidel, Faculty Mentor

There are widespread misconceptions today that colonialism liberated Africa from the shackles of misogyny and savagery. It is not uncommon to hear of practices during pre-colonial times being described as extremely barbaric and inconceivably brutal. The heroes are the Europeans whose mission is depicted as nothing short of altruistic and behind whose every intention was to salvage Africa from gruesome practices that kept them in the dark. However, through thorough enquiry, there are stunning revelations that colonialism caused more harm that good. Often paled into insignificance are the devastating effects of colonialism brought upon Africa from the patriarchal institutions and the disruption of the agricultural system which guaranteed women rights in mainstream agriculture. Little mention is made today of how exportation and the commercialization of agriculture served the selfish interests of colonizers. By unreservedly exposing these truths, the fallacious portrayal of the ‘messianic role’ of westernization in Africa is brought to the fore.

Keywords: African Women, Colonialism, Misogyny, savagery, agriculture, liberation


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 37-2
Location: VH 1304
Time: 1:30

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