Anth09
Continuities and disruptions in 'doing fatherhood' in Africa

Convenors:
Carole Ammann (University of Bern)
Kristen McLean (Yale University)
Stream:
Social Anthropology
Location:
Appleton Tower, Seminar Room 2.05
Wednesday 12 June, 8:45-10:15
Wednesday 12 June, 10:45-12:15

Short abstract:

The stereotypical image of the African man focuses on the disruptive side of masculinities, presuming that men are violent and irresponsible fathers. In contrast, we focus on how African men are doing 'responsible' fatherhood in light of the continuities and disruptions in their lives.

Long abstract:

Within recent decades, research on men and masculinities in Africa has increased. However, the stereotypical image of the African man focuses on the disruptive side of masculinities, presuming that men are violent and irresponsible as husbands and fathers. Research on parenting in Africa has typically depicted caring mothers and disregarded the role of fathers, despite evidence that fathers—and men more generally—are important for healthy child development. In contrast, we focus on how African men are doing 'responsible' fatherhood in light of the continuities and disruptions in their lives. For example, while changing economic forces drive men away from their families in search of work, new communication technologies allow men to remain connected to home. In this panel, we ask how various forms of fatherhood (biological and social) are experienced, lived, and negotiated, both across and beyond Africa. We welcome contributions that address the following issues, as well as those that attend to masculinities in Africa more broadly: • How is becoming a father (or a grandfather) a pivotal moment in men's lives? • How does migration and mobility influence values and practices of fatherhood? • How does fatherhood change (or remain the same) over time? • What are men's reasons and strategies for denying or seeking out fatherhood? • How are people of various sexual orientations 'doing fatherhood'? • How do different marriage norms and family formations influence fatherhood? • How do researchers' own experiences of fatherhood influence fieldwork?