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Women and gender in the Horn of Africa : constructions and social dynamics

This sub-axe gathers researchers from different fields whose main research focus is on women in the Horn of Africa, studied in any context and during any period of time.In countries of the Horn of Africa, Women’s History and Gender Studies are two academic fields that share several specificities in common. Since they are fields that recently developed, their historiography is quite poor. Considering the current dynamism of Gender Studies in Europe and northern America, the CFEE wants to gather the few researchers working on issues related to this topic in the Horn of Africa. Gender Studies have somehow marginalised Women’s History in the course of their development, though the latter is an older domain. While History has often been written ‘without women’, a gender-related History of the world in now being produced. In Ethiopia, independent Gender Studies Departments have emerged in universities. This is supported by the government, international organisations, and NGOs. Besides, a Women’s History class has been added to the curriculum of History Departments since 2012 (a class that does not exist in the curriculum of Gender Studies Departments).

This research sub-axe intends to go beyond this division in order to, on the one hand, analyse the trajectories of women and the social construction of the role of women in contemporary dynamics of the region and, on the other hand, make the historical perspective available to sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists working on Gender Studies in the Horn of Africa. Both the modes of action and social construction of roles and the room for manoeuvre and negotiation of women must be documented. Our research notably intends to retrace individual or collective itineraries and understand the relationships of some women or groups of women with political, religious, or economic powers. It also intends to underline the partnership and rallying abilities of women, in the past as well as in the present.

Some contemporary phenomena affecting the Horn of Africa deserve particular attention : changes in and construction of Nation-States, socio-economic transformations and rapid urbanisation, public health policies, regional and inter-regional migrations, environmental and climate changes, and so on. These researches thus wants to act as a driving force at the crossroad of other scientific activities and research axes of the CFEE. It has brought Women and Gender Studies to all sorts of events organised by the CFEE since January 2015 (on the link between public health and culture, migrations from/in the Horn of Africa, and responses to environmental and climate changes in the Horn of Africa, for instance).


Follow the news of this sub-axe on the blog of the CFEE

Bibliography (since 2016)

Ahmed Hassen Omer (2016). Profile of Aster Ayyana and Berqnäsh Käbbädä : Two pioneer nurses in the third kagnew during the Korean peace keeping mission of 1953/1954. Annales d’Éthiopie, 30, p. 335-356.

Fusari, V. (2016). Emigrants of God. Comboni Missionary Sisters in Eritrea (1914-2014). Annales d’Éthiopie 30, p. 45-70.

Guindeuil, T., Herman, M. (dir.), 2017, dossier "A Social History of Women in Ethiopia. The Dynamics of Emancipation and Social Control”, numéro thématique, Northeast African Studies.

Herman, M. (2016). Figures féminines chrétiennes, exaltation de la dignité de roi et émancipation politique des reines (Éthiopie, XVe-XVIIIe siècle). Annales d’Éthiopie, 30, p. 71-118.

Herman, M. (2016). Rethinking the royal matrimonial practices in the 16th century and its consequences on the status of queen. in E. Ficquet, Ahmed Hassen Omer, T. Osmond (dir.). Movements in Ethiopia, Ethiopia in Movement : Proceedings of the 18th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (vol. 1, p. 149-162). Addis-Abeba, Los Angeles : CFEE / AAU / Tsehai.

Ishihara, M. (2016). The Role of Women in Tijāniya : From Three Oromo Religious Centers in Western Ethiopia. Annales d’Éthiopie, 30, p. 21-44.

Meron Zeleke Eresso, Bruzzi, S. (dir.) (2016). Introduction au dossier spécial “Women, Gender and Religion in the Horn of Africa”. Annales d’Éthiopie, 30, p. 11-19.

Mjaaland, T. (2016). Whose Authority ? The Religious Conditioning of Decision-Making in the Context of Right to Reproductive Choice in North-Western Tigray, Ethiopia. Annales d’Éthiopie, 30, p. 153-173.

Tsehai Berhane-Selassie, Müller, A. M. (2016). Women in the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahedo Church : Gender and irregularities at holy water sites. Annales d’Éthiopie, 30, p. 119-152.