HIST 4291 Marriage and Divorce in the African Context (also ASRC 4291, FGSS 4291, FGSS 6291, HIST 6291) (GB) (HA-AS) (HNU) (HGS)
Professor Judith Byfield
Marriage was the widely expected norm within African societies. The institution was an important marker of adulthood, linking individuals and lineages in a network of mutual cooperation and support. Marriage practices and the concomitant gender expectations varied significantly between societies, and over time. As a result, marriage and divorce are especially rich terrain for exploring social history, women's agency, discursive constructions of 'women', masculinity and gender relations of power. This course explores some of the newest scholarship on marriage by Africanist scholars. The readings demonstrate the wide cultural variety in marriage as well as the dynamic relationship between marriage and historical change. They especially highlight women's roles and expectations in marriage, masculinity and the ways men and women negotiated the rules and boundaries of marriage.
Photo source: Nigerian Wedding (Photo Credit J.A. Byfield, Permission granted by Mrs. Ronke Doherty, Abeokuta (Nigeria) 1988).