The author discusses the wide range of women’s positions (slavery, peasant, chief) in Africa’s diverse societies throughout the continent, noting that African women’s lives differed from those of Western women. Organized by sections: “Nineteenth Century,” “Colonization to Independence,” and “Modern Life,” selected topics include prostitution, politics, and sexuality. Originally published in French as Les africaines: Histoire des femmes d’Afrique noire du XIX au XX siècle (Paris: Éditions Desjonquères, 1994), then reissued as Les africaines: Histoire des femmes d’Afrique subsaharienne du XIXe au XXe siècle (Paris: La Découverte, 2012).
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In light of the heated debates on globalization and multiculturalism in recent years, new, heterogeneous inter- and cross-cultural approaches to fluid, migrant, hybrid, transcultural worlds have emerged. In this respect, the question of Otherness is vital to the quests that arise as a result of their emergence: How do we approach these new intersubjective and dialogical perspectives of identity-seeking, self-definition, indeed, community cohesion in such a milieu? In a world increasingly global yet local, uniform yet diversified, how do these perspectives complicate relations to and understandings of others and Otherness? How is the relationship between dominant and peripheral cultures, self and other, reflexively re-negotiated? In the following articles we will consider a surprisingly vast array of topics: most recurrent being embodiment, representation, participation, différance, act and reflection, and also methods of approach: ranging from theoretical analysis to essay-manifesto and performance-as-research methodology. This open and loosely waved narrative, offering philosophical, socio-cultural and artistic insights, also induces a series of quests related to Performing Arts being challenged with regards to its genre, role, socio-cultural-political involvement and responsivity/responsibility.