Rising Anthills: African And African American Writing On Female Genital Excision, 1960?2000

Paperback | August 5, 2010

byElisabeth Bekers

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Female genital excision, or the ritual of cutting the external genitals of girls and women, is undoubtedly one of the most heavily and widely debated cultural traditions of our time. By looking at how writers of African descent have presented the practice in their literary work, Elisabeth Bekers shows how the debate on female genital excision evolved over the last four decades of the twentieth century, in response to changing attitudes about ethnicity, nationalism, colonialism, feminism, and human rights.
    Rising Anthills (the title refers to a Dogon myth) analyzes works in English, French, and Arabic by African and African American writers, both women and men, from different parts of the African continent and the diaspora. Attending closely to the nuances of language and the complexities of the issue, Bekers explores lesser-known writers side by side with such recognizable names as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Flora Nwapa, Nawal El Saadawi, Ahmadou Kourouma, Calixthe Beyala, Alice Walker, and Gloria Naylor. Following their literary discussions of female genital excision, she discerns a gradual evolution—from the 1960s, when writers mindful of its communal significance carefully “wrote around” the physical operation, through the 1970s and 1980s, when they began to speak out against the practice and their societies’ gender politics, to the late 1990s, when they situated their denunciations of female genital excision in a much broader, international context of women’s oppression and the struggle for women’s rights.

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From the Publisher

Female genital excision, or the ritual of cutting the external genitals of girls and women, is undoubtedly one of the most heavily and widely debated cultural traditions of our time. By looking at how writers of African descent have presented the practice in their literary work, Elisabeth Bekers shows how the debate on female genital e...

Elisabeth Bekers is lecturer in British and postcolonial literatures at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and research affiliate at the University of Antwerp.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:274 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:August 5, 2010Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299234940

ISBN - 13:9780299234942

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface       
Analyzed Works       

Introduction: Writing Women's Rites and Rights   
    Dissecting Anthills of Insurrection       
    Traditional Discourses of Female Genital Excision       
    Colonial and Anticolonial Discourses of Female Genital Excision       
    Feminist and Human Rights Discourses of Female Genital Excision       
    Postcolonial Discourses of Female Genital Excision       
    Three "Generations" of Literary "Dissections" of Female Genital Excision       
Chapter 1: Denunciations of Colonization and Hesitant Feminist Criticism in Early Literary "Circumscriptions" of Female Genital Excision (1963–1974)       
    From Gender Scripts to Pamphlets of Ethnicity: Reconstructions of Excised Women's Bodies in the Kenyan Struggle for Independence       
    Two Exceptional Women's Alternative Gender Scripts       
    The First Generation: Cultural Ambassadors, Cautious Critics       
Chapter 2: Growing Feminist Disenchantment in Literary Explorations of Female Genital Excision around the UN Decade for Women (1968–1988)       
    The Immobile Women's Moving Narratives of Kourouma, Farah, El Saadawi, and Maïga Ka       
    The Captive/ating Women Warriors of Farah, El Saadawi, Beyala, and Rifaat       
    The Second Generation: Resistance against National and Gender Oppression       
Chapter 3: The Globalization of the Literary Debate on Female Genital Excision at the Close of the Twentieth Century (1982–1998)       
    African American Women Writing Female Genital Excision       
    Other Women of African Descent Writing Female Genital Excision       
    The Third Generation: Affinities across the Diaspora . . . and through Time       

Conclusion   

Notes   
References   
Index   

Editorial Reviews

“A profound contribution to the task of complicating and problematizing the critical issue of female genital excision.”—Stanlie James and Aili Mari Tripp, Series Editors