Call for Papers
Workshop: Gender in the production and reception of the press in Africa
Conference of the Réseau des études africaines en France (REAF)
7-10 July 2020, Aix-Marseille
This workshop will explore the production and reception of newspapers, bulletins, magazines and journals distributed across Africa since the end of the 19th century (following approaches such as Baron, 1994 ; Peterson, Hunter, Newell, 2016 ; Yousef, 2017). In contexts usually characterized by dynamics of exclusion of women from the public sphere – and from the historiography -, the workshop invites to study the place of both women and men contributors within print media outlets that are often collective and short lived objects.
To what extent and in which particular moments do the social and material conditions of their production, and their often polyphonic contents comfort or subvert gender relations? How do gender representations participate in the construction of norms and social roles, and even to dynamics of socialisation, and how are these representations articulated to other patterns of colonial and postcolonial differentiation such as class and race? Can we unearth feminine, feminist or nego-feminist (Nnaemeka, 2004) genealogies of African and pan African print media? Particular attention will be paid to the positions of these outlets within local, national and/or transnational spaces that are marked by strong tensions, and to their relations to the literary and political fields (relations to the power arena, political parties, activists, trade unions). There will also be a focus on both the shape and the contents of sections of the publications that tackle issues such as intimacy and morality, such as love letters (courrier du coeur) and letters to the editor from sometimes-fictitious audiences, which can all have a very social and political meaning.
The organisers will consider in particular contributions based on first hand empirical data and on a cross-analysis of sources (such as public and private archives, interviews, corpus of publications which may be in a digitised form or not). They particularly welcome contributions that aim at reconstituting the social trajectories of male and female readers, of writers (whether occasional or professional journalists), at an individual level (single portraits, comparative biographies) or at a collective one (prosopography), and especially those that would mobilise the methodology of social history (Fall, 2002 ; Barber, 2006).
The workshop aims at encouraging a dialogue between various academic traditions (history, literature, sociology, political science) while underlining the importance of analyzing the content of this press, both in terms of texts and illustrations.
The abstracts (500 words maximum) should include indications about the type of empirical material that will be used.
Beth Baron, The Women’s Awakening in Egypt: Culture, Society, and the Press, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1994, 2010.
Karin Barber (ed.), Africa’s Hidden Histories: Everyday Literacy and Making the Self, Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press, 2006.
Babacar Fall, Social History in French West Africa: Forced Labour, Labor Market, Women and Politics, Amsterdam, Sephis, 2002.
Obioma Nnaemeka, « Nego-Feminism : Theorizing, Practicing, and Pruning Africa’s Way », Signs, Vol. 29, n°2, 2004, pp. 357-385.
Derek R. Peterson, Emma Hunter, Stephanie Newell (eds.), African Print Cultures. Newspapers and Their Publics in the Twentieth Century, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2016.
Hoda A. Yousef, Composing Egypt: Reading, Writing, and the Emergence of a Modern Nation, 1870-1930, Stanford, Standford University Press, 2017.