Mother Is Gold, Father Is Glass: Gender And Colonialism In A Yoruba Town

Paperback | November 29, 2010

byLorelle D. Semley

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Lorelle D. Semley explores the historical and political meanings of motherhood in West Africa and beyond, showing that the roles of women were far more complicated than previously thought. While in Kétu, Bénin, Semley discovered that women were treasurers, advisors, ritual specialists, and colonial agents in addition to their more familiar roles as queens, wives, and sisters. These women with special influence made it difficult for the French and others to enforce an ideal of subordinate women. As she traces how women gained prominence, Semley makes clear why powerful mother figures still exist in the symbols and rituals of everyday practices.

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Lorelle D. Semley explores the historical and political meanings of motherhood in West Africa and beyond, showing that the roles of women were far more complicated than previously thought. While in Kétu, Bénin, Semley discovered that women were treasurers, advisors, ritual specialists, and colonial agents in addition to their more fami...

Lorelle D. Semley is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Wesleyan University. Her work has been published in Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and she is a contributor to Crossing Memories: Slavery and African Diaspora (forthcoming).
Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.69 inPublished:November 29, 2010Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253222532

ISBN - 13:9780253222534

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Table of Contents

Preface. "You Must Be From Here": An Intellectual and Personal Journey
Acknowledgments
Note on Orthography and Language

Prologue. "Mother is gold, father is glass": Power and Vulnerability in Atlantic Africa
1. Founding Fathers and Metaphorical Mothers: History, Myth, and the Making of a Kingdom
2. How Kings Lost Their Mothers: Politics of the Atlantic Slave Trade
3. Giving Away Kétu's Secret: Wives on the Eve of War
4. "Where women really matter": The "Queens" of Kétu and the Challenge to French Imperialism
5. "Without family... there is no true colonization": Perspectives on Marriage
6. "The Opening of the Eyes": The Politics of Manhood on the Eve of Independence
7. Mothers and Fathers of an Atlantic World
Epilogue. A Rebirth of "Public Mothers" and Kings

Essay on Sources and Methodology
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Semley provides historical depth and historiographical sophistication to this study of Yoruba women in West Africa and the Atlantic World." -International Journal of African Historical Studies