Even with a university education, the Igbo women of southeastern Nigeria face obstacles that prevent them from reaching their professional and personal potentials. Negotiating Power and Privilege is a study of their life choices and the embedded patriarchy and other obstacles in postcolonial Africa barring them from fulfillment.
Philomina E. Okeke recorded life-history interviews and discussions during the 1990s with educated women of differing ages and professions. Her interviews expose both familiar and surprising aspects of the women's experience—their victories and compromise—within their families, marriages, and workplaces. Okeke explores the many factors that have shaped women's access to sponsorship and promotion in their quest to join men as partners in nation building.
Negotiating Power and Privilege captures the voices of African female professionals and vividly portrays the women's continuous negotiation as wives, mothers, single women, and workers. It shows the inherent limitations of contemporary policies in developing nations that often prescribe secondary and advanced education for women as a panacea for every social ill. It is also an original and important contribution to African studies, gender studies, development studies, education policy, and sociology. This engagingly written book will appeal to a wide audience, ranging from undergraduate students to scholars and professionals.
Illinois State Historical Society Certificate of Excellence 2016
During the Great Migration of the 1920s and 1930s, southern African Americans flocked to the South Side Chicago community of Bronzeville, the cultural, political, social, and economic hub of African American life in the city, if not the Midwest. The area soon became the epicenter of community activism as working-class African Americans struggled for equality in housing and employment. In this study, Lionel Kimble Jr. demonstrates how these struggles led to much of the civil rights activism that occurred from 1935 to 1955 in Chicago and shows how this working-class activism and culture helped to ground the early civil rights movement. Despite the obstacles posed by the Depression, blue-collar African Americans worked with leftist organizations to counter job discrimination and made strong appeals to New Deal allies for access to public housing. Kimble details how growing federal intervention in local issues during World War II helped African Americans make significant inroads into Chicago’s war economy and how returning African American World War II veterans helped to continue the fight against discrimination in housing and employment after the war. The activism that appeared in Bronzeville was not simply motivated by the “class consciousness” rhetoric of the organized labor movement but instead grew out of everyday struggles for racial justice, citizenship rights, and improved economic and material conditions. With its focus on the role of working-class African Americans—as opposed to the middle-class leaders who have received the most attention from civil rights historians in the past—A New Deal for Bronzeville makes a significant contribution to the study of civil rights work in the Windy City and enriches our understanding of African American life in mid-twentieth-century Chicago.
This publication is partially funded by a grant from Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan fund.
On March 9, 1996, tens of thousands of readers of a daily newspaper in China’s Anhui province saw a photograph of two young women at a local long-distance bus station. Dressed in fashionable new winter coats and carrying luggage printed with Latin letters, the women were returning home from their jobs in one of China’s large cities. As the photo caption indicated, the image represented the “transformation of migrant women”; the women’s “transformation” was signaled by their status as consumers. New Masters, New Servants is an ethnography of class dynamics and the subject formation of migrant domestic workers. Based on her interviews with young women who migrated from China’s Anhui province to the city of Beijing to engage in domestic service for middle-class families, as well as interviews with employers, job placement agencies, and government officials, Yan Hairong explores what these migrant workers mean to the families that hire them, to urban economies, to rural provinces such as Anhui, and to the Chinese state. Above all, Yan focuses on the domestic workers’ self-conceptions, desires, and struggles.
Yan analyzes how the migrant women workers are subjected to, make sense of, and reflect on a range of state and neoliberal discourses about development, modernity, consumption, self-worth, quality, and individual and collective longing and struggle. She offers keen insight into the workers’ desire and efforts to achieve suzhi (quality) through self-improvement, the way workers are treated by their employers, and representations of migrant domestic workers on television and the Internet and in newspapers and magazines. In so doing, Yan demonstrates that contestations over the meanings of migrant workers raise broad questions about the nature of wage labor, market economy, sociality, and postsocialism in contemporary China.
The “invisible men” of sociologist Adia Harvey Wingfield’s urgent and timely No More Invisible Man are African American professionals who fall between extremely high status, high-profile black men and the urban underclass. Her compelling interview study considers middle-class, professional black men and the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities they encounter in white male–dominated occupations.
No More Invisible Man chronicles these men’s experiences as a tokenized minority in the workplace to show how issues of power and inequality exist—especially as they relate to promotion, mobility, and developing occupational networks. Wingfield’s intersectional analysis deftly charts the ways that gender, race, and class collectively shape black professional men’s work experiences.
In its examination of men’s interactions with women and other men, as well as men’s performances of masculinity and their emotional demeanors in these jobs, No More Invisible Man extends our understanding of racial- and gender-based dynamics in professional work.