Cite African Feminists: Some Readings

Awino Okech
Oct 4, 2018 · 9 min read

Jessica Horn asked me to publish my syllabus in response to a tweet about my African MA students privileging African feminist scholarship in their dissertations.

This was worth tweeting about because it matters who we cite. Citation as an academic practice of locating your work within a body of existing scholarship, is also about which gendered, racialised and classed scholars are acknowledged as contributors in a field. There are many studies today that point to the factors that compound the publishing track of women scholars, citation patterns as well as the privileging of scholarship in English and from particular regions and disciplines.

My political work as an African Feminist scholar is about ensuring students recognise the politics of knowledge production and transfer and challenge it through their citation practices.

I have extracted readings by African Feminist scholars that I include in the syllabi of the three courses I convene. These are postgraduate courses and they are not Africa specific. They focus on Gender Theories, Research Methods and Queer Politics. My syllabi cover Africa, Asia and the Middle East, which are SOAS areas of “specialisation”.

In crafting this list for a general audience, I have not highlighted specific articles from Feminist Africa and Agenda. Instead, I have noted the two journals as important sites for African and diasporan feminist scholarship and intellectual contributions. This also applies to Readers which include different contributions. These readings are not only assigned for classes that are focussed on Africa but are also part of other thematic issues covered in gender theories, queer politics and research methods.

This list focusses on African feminist (including organisations) scholarship and intellectual contributions that I have found relevant to specific thematic issues I cover in the courses I teach. There are many other African feminist scholars writing on subjects and themes I do not teach as well as on themes I teach. These are only a selection of many intellectual resources that exist. There is also Black feminist scholarship included in my syllabi. I have not included that scholarship here.

I am conscious that this list reflects a bias towards literature written and published in English. Institutions such as CODESRIA have contributed to mitigating (to some extent) the dominance of English language scholarship in Africa.


  1. Abbas, Hakima and Ekine, Sokari. 2013. (Eds.): Queer African Reader. Oxford. Pambazuka Press.
  2. Abosede George. 2018. “Saving Nigerian Girls: A Critical Reflection on Girl-Saving Campaigns in the Colonial and Neoliberal Eras.” Meridians 1; 17 (2): 309–324. doi:
  3. Abrahams, Yvette. 2000. “Colonialism, Disjuncture and Dysfunction: Sarah Baartman’s Resistance”. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  4. Adeleye-Fayemi, Bisi. 2000. “Creating and sustaining feminist space in Africa: Local Global challenges in the 21st Century” paper prepared for the 4th Annual Dame Nita Barrow Lecture Toronto, November 2000.
  5. African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET). 2013. “The Africa We Want: FEMNET Position Paper on Post 2015 Development Agenda”, Nairobi. FEMNET
  6. Agenda (Various issues).
  7. Aidid, Safia, n.d. “Can the Somali Speak #Cadaan Studies”
  8. Alaga, Ecoma, 2011. “Security Sector Reform and the Women’s Peace Activism Nexus in Liberia” in Olonisakin, ‘Funmi and Okech, A. (eds.) Women and Security Governance in Africa. Oxford: Pambazuka Press
  9. Amadiume, Ifi. 1987. Male Daughters Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in an African Society. London. Zed Books
  10. Amadiume. I. 2017. “Gender Field Experience, Method and Theory”. Journal of West African History, Volume 3, Number 2, Fall 2017, pp. 131–138
  11. Armisen, Mariam. 2014. “We Exist: Mapping LGBT*Q Organizing in West Africa”.
  12. Bakare-Yusuf, Bibi, 2004. ‘Yorubas Don’t Do gender: A Critical Review of Oyeronke Oyewumi’s The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses’ in CODESRIA, African Gender Scholarship: Concepts, Methodologies and Paradigms. Dakar, CODESRIA
  13. Bennett Jane and Pereira, Charmaine (eds). 2013. Jacketed Women: Qualitative Research Methodologies on Sexualities and Gender in Africa. Cape Town. University of Cape Town Press.
  14. Dosekun, Simidele. 2015. “For Western Girls Only? Post-Feminism as Transnational Culture.” Feminist Media Studies 15 (6): 960–975.
  15. Akwaeke, Emezi. 2018. “My friends and family Know I am not a woman”.
  16. John, Elnathan. 2015.” In a Time of Boko Haram”. Chronic.
  17. Feminist Africa (various issues).
  18. Gbowee, Leymah. 2009. “Effecting Change through Women’s Activism in Liberia”, IDS Bulletin, Volume 40, №2, p50,
  19. Hendricks, Cheryl. 2015. “Women, Peace and Security in Africa”. African Security Review. Vol. 24: 364–375
  20. Hendricks, Cheryl. 2011. “Gender and Security in Africa: An Overview. Uppsala. Nordiskafrikainstitutet.
  21. Horn Jessica. 2013. Gender and Social Movements Overview Report. Brighton, Institute of Development Studies.
  22. Imam, Ayesha. Amina Mama, & Fatou Sow. 1999. Engendering African Social Sciences. Dakar. CODESRIA.
  23. Judge, Melanie. 2014. “For better or worse? Same-sex marriage and the (re)making of hegemonic masculinities and femininities in South Africa” in Agenda, 67–73.
  24. Kaoma, Kapya. 2009. ‘Globalizing the Culture Wars: US Conservatives, African Churches, & Homophobia’ (Political Research Associates, Somerville, MA.
  25. Lazreg, Marnia. 1994. The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question. New York: Routledge.
  26. Lewis, Desiree. 2004. ‘African gender research and post-coloniality: Legacies and challenges in CODESRIA. African Gender Scholarship: Concepts, Methodologies and Paradigms. Dakar: CODESRIA.
  27. Lewis. Desiree. 2008. Discursive Challenges for African Feminisms”. QUEST: An African Journal of Philosophy / Revue Africaine de Philosophie XX: 77–96
  28. Ligaga, Dina. 2016. “Presence, Agency and Popularity: Kenyan “Socialites”, Femininities and Digital Media”, Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies, 2:3–4, 111–123, DOI: 10.1080/23277408.2016.1272184
  29. Ligaga, Dina. 2017. “Thinking around Genre: The Moral Narrative and Femininity in Kenyan Popular Media”, The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, 4(2), pp 222–236. doi:10.1017/pli.2017.16
  30. Mama, Amina, 2019. “African Feminist Thought”. Oxford Research Encyclopedias. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.013.504.
  31. Mama, Amina. 2011. “The Challenges of Feminism: Gender, Ethics and Responsible Academic Freedom in African Universities”. JHEA/RESA Vol. 9, Nos. 1 & 2: 1–23
  32. Mama Amina. 2007. “Is It Ethical to Study Africa? Preliminary Thoughts on Scholarship and Freedom”. African Studies Review, 50: 1–26
  33. Mama, Amina. 2001. “Sheroes and Villains: Conceptualizing Colonial and Contemporary Violence Against Women in Africa”. In: M. Jacqui Alexander & Chandra Talpade Mohanty: Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies & Democratic Futures. New York & London: Routledge, pp. 46–62.
  34. Mama, Amina. 2001. ‘Challenging subjects: Gender and power in African contexts.’ In S. Diagne et al. (eds). Identity and Beyond: Rethinking Africanity. Discussion Paper №12. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, pp. 9–18.
  35. Mama, Amina. 1996. ‘Women’s Studies and Studies of Women in Africa During the 1990s.”. Working Paper Series 5/96. Dakar. CODESRIA
  36. Macharia, Keguro. 2015. Archive and method in Queer African Studies, Agenda, 29:1, 140–146, DOI: 10.1080/10130950.2015.1010294
  37. Macharia, Keguro. 2016. 5 Reflections on Trans* & Taxonomy (with Neo Musangi), Critical Arts, 30:4, 495–506,DOI: 10.1080/02560046.2016.1232773
  38. Matebeni, Zethu & Thabo Msibi. 2015. Vocabularies of the non-normative, Agenda, 29:1, 3–9, DOI: 10.1080/10130950.2015.1025500
  39. Matebeni, Zethu. 2009. Feminizing Lesbians, Degendering Transgender Men: A Model for Building Lesbian Feminist Thinkers and Leaders in Africa?, Souls, 11:3, 347–354, DOI: 10.1080/10999940903088978
  40. Matebeni, Zethu. 2014. Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities. Cape Town. Modjaji Books.
  41. Matebeni, Zethu. 2013. “Intimacy, Queerness, Race.” Cultural Studies, Vol. 27, №3, 404417
  42. Mgbako, Chi and Laura Smith. 2011. “Sex Work and Human Rights in Africa” Fordham International Law Journal. Volume 33,Issue 4 (2) 1178–1220
  43. Mbilinyi, M. 1989. “I’d have been a man”: Politics and the labor process in producing personal narratives.’ In Personal Narratives Group (eds). Interpreting Women’s Lives: Feminist Theory and Personal Narratives. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  44. McFadden, Pat. 2005. “Becoming Postcolonial: African Women Changing the Meaning of Citizenship”. In: Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism. 6 (1), pp. 1–18.
  45. McFadden, Pat. 2002. “Contemporary African Feminism: Conceptual Challenges and Transformational Prospects in Buwa, Open Society Southern Africa.
  46. McLean, N. and Mugo, T. K. 2015. “The Digital Age: A Feminist Future for the Queer African Woman”. IDS Bulletin, 46: 97–100. doi:10.1111/1759–5436.12163.
  47. Medie, P.A. and Kang, A.J. 2018. Power, knowledge and the politics of gender in the Global South, European Journal of Politics and Gender, vol 1, no 1–2, 37–54, DOI: 10.1332/251510818X15272520831157
  48. Mekgwe, Pinkie. 2008. ‘Theorizing African feminism(s): The “colonial question”.’ QUEST: An African Journal of Philosophy/Revue Africaine de Philosophie 20: 11–22
  49. Mougoué. Jacqueline-Bethel . 2019. Gender, Separatist Politics, and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon. University of Michigan Press.
  50. Muholi, Zanele. 2012. “South African Queer History: A Critical Reflection”. http://www.transnational–queer–
  51. Mupotsa, Danai. 2011. “From Nation to Family: Researching Gender and Sexuality” in Christopher Cramer, Laura Hammond, Johan Pottier (eds) Researching violence in Africa: ethical and methodological challenges. Brill.
  52. Mupotsa, Danai. 2010. “If I could write this in Fire/African Feminist Ethics for Research in Africa” in postamble 6 (1) 1–18
  53. Musangi, Neo Sinoxolo. 2018. Homing with My Mother / How Women in My Family Married Women. Meridians 1 17 (2): 401–414. doi:
  54. Nkenkana, Akhona. 2015 “No African Futures without the liberation of women: A Decolonial Perspective”. Africa Development, Volume XL, №3, 2015, pp. 41–57.
  55. Nyanzi, Stella & Andrew Karamagi. 2015. “The social-political dynamics of the anti-homosexuality legislation in Uganda”, Agenda, 29:1, 24-38, DOI: 10.1080/10130950.2015.1024917
  56. Nyanzi, Stella. 2013. “Dismantling reified African culture through localised homosexualities in Uganda”. Journal of Culture, Health and Sexuality. Vol. 15(8): 952 -967
  57. Okech, Awino. 2019. Gender and state-building conversations: the discursive production of gender identity in Kenya and Rwanda. Conflict Security and Development.
  58. Okech, Awino and Musindarwezo, Dinah. 2019. “Building Transnational Feminist Alliances: Reflections on the Post-2015 Development Agenda”. Contexto InternacionalVol. 41(2) May/Aug 2019: 255–273
  59. Okech, Awino. 2018. Boundary anxieties and infrastructures of violence: Somali identity in post-Westgate Kenya, Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, DOI: 10.1080/23802014.2018.1502048
  60. Okech, Awino. 2017. “On Feminist Futures and Movement Imperatives” in Development.
  61. Okech, Awino. 2016. “Statecraft and Pursuing Women’s Rights in Africa”. Accra. AWDF.
  62. Okech, Awino. 2015. “Dealing with Asymmetrical Conflict: Lessons from Kenya” in Special Issue of Strategic Review of Southern Africa, 1/2015
  63. Okech, Awino. 2013. “Researching discourses on widow inheritance: feminist questions about ‘talk’ as methodology” in Bennett Jane and Pereira, Charmaine (eds). 2013. Jacketed Women: Qualitative Research Methodologies on Sexualities and Gender in Africa. Cape Town. University of Cape Town Press.
  64. Okech, Awino. 2013, “Gendered security: Between ethno-nationalism and constitution making in Kenya” in Olonisakin, ‘Funmi, Hendricks, Cheryl and Okech, Awino (eds), 2013. Africa Peace and Conflict Journal. UPEACE
  65. Olonisakin, ’Funmi, Cheryl Hendricks, and Awino Okech. 2015. “The Convergence and Divergence of Three Pillars of Influence in Gender and Security.” African Security Review 24: 376–89.
  66. Olonisakin, ‘Funmi, Awino Okech, and Cheryl Hendricks. 2013. “Reconceptualising Gender, Peace and Security in Africa.” Africa Peace and Conflict Journal.
  67. Oyěwùmí, Oyèrónkẹ́. 2005. (ed.): African Gender Studies. A Reader. New York: Palgrave
  68. Oyewumi, Oyèrónkẹ́. 1997. The Invention of Women. Making An African Sense of Western Gender Discourses. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.
  69. Pereira, Charmaine. 2014. “Changing Narratives of Sexuality” in Changing Narratives of Sexuality: Contestations, Compliance and Women’s Empowerment. London. Zed Books.
  70. Ramtohul, Ramola. 2014. “Globalisation and Gendered Citizenship: The Mauritian Scenario” in Laroussi, Amri & Ramtohul, R. Gender and Citizenship in the Global Age. Dakar. CODESRIA.
  71. Ramtohul, Ramola. 2012. “Academic Freedom in a State-Sponsored African University: The Case of the University of Mauritius”. Journal of Academic Freedom. Vol. 3. 1–21
  72. Ratele, Kopano. 2014. “Hegemonic African Masculinities and Men’s Heterosexual Lives: Some Uses for Homophobia” African Studies Review / Volume 57 / Issue 02 / September 2014, pp 115–130.
  73. Salo, Elaine. 2004. Respectable Mothers, Tough Men and Good Daughters. Making Persons in Manenberg Township, South Africa. Doctoral dissertation submitted to the Anthropology Department, Emory University.
  74. Salo, Elaine. 2005. Mans is Ma Soe. Ganging Practices in Manenberg South Africa and the Ideologies of Masculinity, Gender and Generational relations. A paper prepared for the Criminal Justice Conference. 7- 8 February.
  75. Tadros, Mariz. 2016. Resistance, Revolt, and Gender Justice in Egypt. New York. Syracuse University Press
  76. Tamale, Sylvia. 2008. ‘The right to culture and the culture of rights: A critical perspective on women’s sexual rights in Africa.’ Feminist Legal Studies, 16: 47–69.
  77. Tamale, Sylvia (ed). 2011. African Sexualities: A Reader. Oxford. Pambazuka Press
  78. The Other Foundation. 2016. “Canaries in the Coal Mines: An Analysis of Spaces for LGBTI Activism in Southern Africa”.
  79. Tripp, Aili Mari, and Hughes, Melanie. 2018. “Methods, Methodologies and Epistemologies in the Study of Gender and Politics.” European Journal of Politics and Gender, 1 (1–2): 241–257
  80. Win, Everjoice. 2013. “Between Jesus, the Generals and the Invisibles: Mapping the Terrain for Feminist Movement Building & Organising for Women’s Human Rights”. A report commissioned by Just Associates Southern Africa.
  81. Win, Everjoice. 2004. ‘Not very poor, powerless or pregnant: the African woman forgotten by development’. IDS Bulletin, 35(4): 61–65.
  91. Also see this list that was initially co-curated on Twitter in 2016 by Danai Mupotsa and I. It ended up drawing contributions from many people. This is a much broader set of interdisciplinary recommendations and is not focussed on African feminist scholarship but on scholarship by African women

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