Womanhood and Girlhood in Twenty-First Century Middle Class Kenya: Disrupting Patri-centered Frameworks

Womanhood and Girlhood in Twenty-First Century Middle Class Kenya: Disrupting Patri-centered Frameworks

by Besi Brillian Muhonja


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This study of twenty first century girlhoods and womanhoods charts a new area of scholarship on Kenya. The chapters investigate questions related to how new rituals of girlhood and womanhood that materialize when religious, indigenous, and foreign worlds encounter each other are re-structuring family and society, recasting roles, and informing fresh conceptualizations of African girlhood and womanhood. The author’s interdisciplinary analysis and writing journeys through the different stages of girlhood and womanhood as ritualized by Kenya’s 21st century middle class, and teases out the implications of these peculiarities to identity (re)creation and the restructuring of societies’ organs, and traditionally gendered institutions.

Applying a critical African studies lens, the arguments in this book center women as originators of action and thought without inquiring into a male other. Essentially, this work disrupts patri-centered constructions and examinations of female bodies and identities. The resulting deductions inform on the substratum of Kenyan girls and women’s self-definitions as manifest through their experiences and ritualized practices, and articulate the impact of the performances of these bodies and identities on Kenyan and global societies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498534338
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 12/29/2017
Series: Critical African Studies in Gender and Sexuality Series
Pages: 130
Product dimensions: 6.27(w) x 9.34(h) x 0.68(d)

About the Author

Besi Brillian Muhonja is associate professor at James Madison University.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Elective Lone Parenting, New Matrilines and Matriarchies

Chapter 2: Usichana wa Ubabi
Erasures of Ritual and the Myth of Independence

Chapter 3: The Production of Bridehood

Chapter 4: Wifing Bodies (Re)negotiating Selfhood

Chapter 5: New Spaces, New Identities, New Languages

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