Descriptions of Masculinity in African Women's Creative Writing: Mariama Ba, Philomeme, Delphine Zanga Tsogo, Calixthe Beyala, Aminata Sow Fall

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The first and only study on how female authors from Africa depict masculinity in their novels. Some criticisms of genetic explanations of gender are given. In addition to being an explication of literary representations the author also offers sociological explanations of male identity in Africa. Five female authors are studied, and their views are not seen as representational of all African male archetypes, but rather provide a starting point for future research in this area. This is one of the first books to give African scholars a place to start including masculinity into gender studies.

There have been numerous studies showing how men behave in relation to women, but none showing how men are depicted by female authors in Africa. This will bridge the gap in the literature by giving information on how masculinity functions on its own.


“the author’s courageous new work of analysis takes African literary and cultural studies in a direction they must go: intercultural, interdisciplinary analysis of Sub-Saharan gender relations as depicted in Francophone and Anglophone women’s literature.”

-Prof. Alexis Brooks de Vita,
Texas Southern University

“The volume offers richly woven and compelling analyses of works by important female African writers whose names many readers may already know.”

-Prof. Elizabeth Chesney Zegura,
University of Arizona

Table of Contents

Foreword by Alexis Brooks de Vita

Part 1: Introduction

1. Purpose and Significance of the Study
2. Scope of the Study
3. Conceptual and Theoretical Framework
i. Defining Masculinity
ii. Approaches to Masculinity
a. Biological Perspective
b. Anthropological Perspective
c. Psychological Perspective
d. Sociological Perspective

iii. Masculinities in Africa
iv. Selected Authors and Texts
v. Organization of the Study

Notes Part II: Historical Overview of Francophone African Women’s Writing

4. Absence of Women Writers
5. Male Writers Representation of Women
6. Subverting Male Writers’ Representation of Women

Part III: Patriarchy, Sexism, and Hegemonic Masculinity

7. ‘Don’t blame me, blame destiny’: Manipulating Religion and Tradition in So Long a Letter and Scarlet Song by Mariama Bâ
8. ‘A woman must be kept in Check’: Patriarchy and Control of Female Sexuality in La Tache de sang by Philomène Bassek
9. ‘Abide by my rule’: Masculinity and Sexual Exploitation in
Vies de femmes
by Delphine Zanga Tsogo
10. ‘Give them hell’: Masculinity and Sexual Violence in The Sun Hath Looked Upon Me and Your Name Shall Be Tanga by Calixthe Beyala
11. ‘I am the Big Man’: Masculinity and Power in The Beggars’ Strike by Aminata Sow Fall

Part IV: Alternative Masculinities

12. Ambiguous Male Characters
13. The ‘Soft Man’: Exemplary Husband, Caring Father

Part V: Conclusion

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