Accepted paper:

Rose Chifaka: The Communion of black womanhood: Towards an Africa Centred Womanist theory


Ndèye Fatou Kane (Advanced School in Social Sciences)
Rosemary Chikafa-Chipiro (University of Zimbabwe)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

The paper stems from my PhD thesis which was a comparative analysis of representations of black womanhood in Ousmane Sembene and Tyler Perry's films. The impetus for the research was the 'fluidity' of African feminist theories which posits black women's race and sex in racial and gendered political discourses of power that render black womanhood's identities and subjectivities as more homogenous than heterogeneous. Through Hudson-Weems' Africana womanism, I argued that there are various nuances in the black woman experience wherein African feminist theory can coalesce to institute a semblance of a unity of concerns in diversity. The research concluded that the main challenge in the African feminist canon is that theories by their nature resist centring and closure and Africana womanist theory on its own cannot fully account for the diverse global black woman experience. In essence, black women's experiences are grounded in intersections that need to be engaged further as a way of re-discoursing and re-theorising the black woman experience. Through the tag 'communion of black womanhood' I conflate black womanhood as an imagined community, with the continuous shifts in the canon, paying particular attention to the wide reaching affective cords and social struggles represented by African feminist theorisation. I seek to deconstruct the African feminist corpus with a view to reconfiguring it into a 'new' theoretical perspective that attempts to institute a holistic trajectory for African feminist theorisation that would necessarily speak more to a communion of African feminist solidarities than a number of competing theoretical postulations - Africa centred womanist theory.

panel Art10
African feminisms today: connections and disruptions