The Curse of Nakedness and Women’s Nonviolent Protest Movements in Africa
Presenter: Emily Maiden
PHD Political Science and Peace Studies and Gender Studies Graduate Minor
December 4, 2015
Noon – 339 O’Shaughnessy
Using evidence from a number of African countries, this project demonstrates one way that the human body can be used as a tool for political protest. In particular, it reveals how and when the naked body is utilized by African women’s organizations as an effective nonviolent protest tool. It looks at a number of women’s organizations that employed the strategic use of anasyrma or “the deliberate exposing of part or all of the naked body” as a form of protest performance. This is most commonly referred to across sub-Saharan Africa as the “curse of nakedness.” Drawing on feminist institutionalism, I argue that across Africa the use of nakedness by African women as a form of protest performance challenges dominant institutionalized gender ideologies that define these women as weak and powerless.
Emily Maiden is a PhD student in Political Science and Peace Studies working on a Gender Studies minor, focusing on comparative political conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa. Her studies and research focus primarily on the integration of marginalized groups—particularly females—into peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations, including disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR). More recently, Emily’s research has focused on evaluating women’s social movements in Central and Southern Africa. Her work has been published in the Journal of International Peacekeeping and the Gendered Perspectives of International Development Resource Bulletin. Emily holds an M.A. in Political Science (2014) and a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy (2011), both from the University of Louisville. She also has a Diploma in Asian Studies (2010) from Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan.
In order to advance the program’s commitment to inter-disciplinary research and inquiry into the subject of gender, the Gender Studies Program is pleased to announce an upcoming series of research workshops. The events will include presentations by advanced undergraduates majoring in Gender Studies as well as graduate students and faculty members from a variety of departments who work in the area of gender and sexuality. The workshop will begin with the week’s presenter giving a brief lecture on his or her current research in the field, followed by a seminar-style discussion.
Workshops are held on Fridays from 12:00 – 1:00 pm in 339 O’Shaughnessy.