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Introduction

  • Elinami Veraeli Swai
Chapter
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Abstract

This book is about women’s knowledge systems as contained in the stories of ordinary women in Africa. The book is also about new interpretation of women’s knowledge systems in Africa as legitimate centers of power. It is about knowledge systems that have sustained the continent for many years despite being sidestepped and undermined by colonial and postcolonial projects. Throughout this study, my contention is that these stories by women are not only intimate and painful but also rational and philosophical. The stories are important because they show how women make meaning of who they are and what is expected of them in modern society. The stories are situated in rural communities of Tanzania, and they illuminate women’s everyday life situations that the majority of scholars have not cared to explore. The stories also reveal the separate worlds that women inhabit but are unacknowledged and unsupported. The stories debunk and deconstruct the way modern society is structured, where knowledge systems from women’s everyday lives have been illegitimated, invalidated, and constructed as “indigenous,” “local” or “informal,” “domestic,” and “private.” My contention is that these stories are not only important sources of knowledge but are useful signposts in understanding the lives of women in rural areas and important in contributing to education and development projects.

Keywords

Knowledge System African Woman Modern Education Cultural Historical Activity Theorist Indigenous Knowledge System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    See Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses,” in Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader, ed. R. Lewis and S. Mills (New York: Routledge, 2003), 49–74.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Otto Peiper, “Über Säuglingssterblichkeit und Säuglingsernährung im Bezirke Kilwa (Deutsch-Ostafrika)”, Archiv für Schiffs und Tropenhygiene 14(8): 233–59.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    See David Clyde, History of the Medical Services of Tanganyika (Dar es Salaam: Government Press, 1962), 120–43.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    For more on this, see Maria Nzomo, “African Women in the Public Sector: Status and Strategies for Women’s Advancement,” in Managing Development in Africa: Past Experience, Emerging Challenges, Future Priorities, ed. Sadig Rasheed (New York: Macmillan, 1994)Google Scholar
  5. “Engendering Democratization and Empowerment: Women’s Struggles against Political Exclusion and Discrimination in East Africa,” The Encyclopedia of Third World Women, ed. N. P. Stromsquist (New York: Garland, 1996)Google Scholar
  6. “The Impact of the African Crisis on Women,” in African Women: States of Crisis, ed. G. Mikell (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    See Amanda Ellis et al., Gender and Economic Growth in Tanzania: Creating Opportunities for Women (Washington, DC: World Bank, 1998).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Elinami Veraeli Swai 2010

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  • Elinami Veraeli Swai

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