cover of book

Our New Husbands Are Here: Households, Gender, and Politics in a West African State from the Slave Trade to Colonial Rule
by Emily Lynn Osborn and Emily Lynn Osborn
Ohio University Press, 2011
eISBN: 978-0-8214-4397-2 | Paper: 978-0-8214-1983-0
Library of Congress Classification DT543.9.K35O73 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 966.52


In Our New Husbands Are Here, Emily Lynn Osborn investigates a central puzzle of power and politics in West African history: Why do women figure frequently in the political narratives of the precolonial period, and then vanish altogether with colonization? Osborn addresses this question by exploring the relationship of the household to the state. By analyzing the history of statecraft in the interior savannas of West Africa (in present-day Guinea-Conakry), Osborn shows that the household, and women within it, played a critical role in the pacifist Islamic state of Kankan-Baté, enabling it to endure the predations of the transatlantic slave trade and become a major trading center in the nineteenth century. But French colonization introduced a radical new method of statecraft to the region, one that separated the household from the state and depoliticized women’s domestic roles. This book will be of interest to scholars of politics, gender, the household, slavery, and Islam in African history.

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