Chapter 20 A Response to Radical African Feminist Interpretations of Igbo Patriarchy 1

Jonathan Zilberg
It is not clear just what ‘faction,’ imaginative writing about real people in real places at real times, exactly comes to beyond clever coinage; but anthropology is going to have to find out if it is going to continue as an intellectual force in contemporary culture—if its mule condition (trumpeted scientific mother’s brother, disowned literary father) is not to lead to mule sterility. - Clifford Geertz, Works and Lives, 1988, 141.

Introduction
As Clifford Geertz wrote in his final chapter “Being Here: Whose Life Is It Anyway?” in Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author (1988), anthropology and the right to even write ethnography in the 1980s was at risk. There was an acute feeling of ambiguity in which contemporary scholars were seeking to distance themselves from the colonial origins of the discipline, a dire situation filled with “distracted cries of plight and crisis” and a loss of faith in representation.2 And yet, despite the “methodological soul-searching,” there was a “lingering affection for ‘facts, descriptions, inductions, and truth’ . . . .”3 Geertz concluded that though some anthropologists were indeed beset by “authorial self-doubt” and a “moral hypochondria that comes with practicing a profession inherited from contemporaries of Kipling and Lyautey,” it had probably only put them

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into temporary disarray.4 In this chapter, in engaging a deeply polemical contemporary debate in African feminism, and asserting Geertz’s tentative prediction about anthropology’s future, I show how anthropology has survived the crisis and been strengthened by it. It is by no means a sterile mule but a powerful and seminal intellectual practice of great relevance to understanding Africa’s past and contributing to its future. Geertz emphasized that ethnography for the main part has not and does not take liberties as charged of essentialized “make-believe” and that we will eventually get used to the “back to the facts table-thumping” and “will to power gauntlet throwing by its adversaries.”5 As Geertz put it, the task for anthropologists was then to demonstrate that the accounts provided of others’ lives are not imagined tales, not reducible to the “vulgar misconceptions” about the discipline and its history as Talal Asad clarifies for the record and future guidance in his afterword to Colonial Situations: Essays on the Contextualization of Ethnographic Knowledge (1991).6 It is in this larger anthropological context that the vitriolic debate between two Nigerian feminists, Nkiru Nzegwu and Ifi Amadiume concerning the study of gender, matriarchy, and patriarchy in Nigeria can be seen as one of the most disputed, if minor, topics in West African Studies today.7 In engaging Family Matters: Feminist Concepts in African Philosophy of Culture (2006) by Nkiru Uwechia Nzegwu, a contemporary feminist critique of African patriarchy,8 the chapter’s aim is to stimulate a return to a broader anthropological history of the study of gender and kinship that could temper this debate. What is needed amongst the next generation of graduate students interested in feminist anthropology in West Africa is a more widely informed and more empirically rather than ideologically grounded discussion than evidenced in these works. Towards that goal, I hope to entice those who have or will read the works of Nzegwu and Ifi Amadiume to do so against the grain of the enormous body of vital literature either recycled or to one degree or another dismissed by these authors as non-existent or discountable as mere imperialist racism. As a result the bibliography is necessarily lengthy considering the history and extent of the debate over matriliny in the anthropological study of African societies. It is a subject worthy of a separate chapter in and of itself. To begin with Nzegwu’s argument that “true” Igbo society is ungendered has an explicit political purpose. Few academics would contest her aim as important considering how Igboland is “imperiled by a culture of violence, brutality, political excesses, andgargantuan social problems.”9 However anthropologists, particularly those with any serious grounding in the disciplinary basics required to study the family
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in Africa, will object to her work on many levels. Some will contend her utopian solution to the crisis as naïve not so much because of her call for “breaking down reactionary dogmas that have arisen in response to the colonially imposed patriarchal structure”10 but because of the argument that this can only be done by imaginatively re-conceptualizing society so as to rid it of “fictive” ideologies and traditions.11 Thus her idealistic introduction concludes: “Once we know that fictive traditions reinforced the prevailing anti-female ideology in the culture, we need not hold onto the reactionary principles and specious traditions.”12 More importantly they will find the unawareness of, misrepresentation and lack of comparative and theoretical engagement with the relevant literature on the family and matriliny in Africa as elsewhere nothing short of extraordinary. Add to that the lurid charges by Amadiume that anthropology is an evil discipline that African intellectuals should be ashamed to participate in and one can immediately see how deeply conflicted this debate over patriarchy is in Nigeria. Beyond the local nature of the conflict, the debate has potentially broad relevance to debates about the family and feminism elsewhere in Africa and beyond. First we need to situate this conflict within African Studies and changes within the discipline in the American context in particular in recent decades considering the highly polemical way in which Nzegwu argues that the family has not been a subject of study in African Studies. For some, perhaps this book might be seen as prima facae evidence of just how much African Studies in America and Africa has changed in the last twenty years. While Jane I. Guyer wrote in African Studies in the United States: A Perspective (1996)13 that “third era” was one of civility, it was in fact fast becoming a deeply polarized community in the 1990’s. Nowhere was this more publically evidenced than in the Philip Curtin debate on affirmative action hiring in African history programs.14 And there we find that Funso Afolayan’s synthesis of Toyin Falola’s response to the debate is directly pertinent to issues in Nigerian feminism. Why? Because much of the vitriole in Nzegwu’s and Amadiume’s texts boils down to the issue of who “owns” African Studies and who has the right to speak for Africa and African women so as to provide the “correct” version of history and society. As Afolayan wrote: “Falola warned against a puerile but damaging debate that poses the wrong question: who owns African Studies . . . . The pursuit of knowledge should not be destroyed by ethnic and racial consideration” (2002: 37).15 Speaking then to the increasingly public nature of the express interacademic conflict characteristic of the fourth era in African Studies (the identity politics era), few texts capture these hostilities and evince the
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consequences better than those of Nzegwu’s and Amadiume’s. Moreover, contrary to Guyer’s pacific view, it was not unusual in the 1990’s and sometimes thereafter to witness intense vitriolic public antagonisms not only between African and Africanist academics but academy wide if one recalls the departmental cultural wars brewing in the 1970’s and erupting in full scale rhetorical war in the 1980’s. Consider in that larger global context then, Amadiume’s condemnation that all anthropological knowledge is irrelevant imperialist racism and eminent figures such as V. Y. Mudimbe and Kwesi Prah must be condemned as Uncle Toms.16 In responding to that charge, I argue that while Amadiume has urged feminist African scholars to throw out Adam Kuper’s evil baby out with the “dirty bathwater”17 one should read Kuper’s study Anthropology and Anthropologists (1983) far more carefully rather than abuse its content and intent so cavalierly. If anything, Kuper gives us productive pause to take a deeply informed overview of the evolution and diversity of the discipline and the ongoing relevance of the contributions of the Modern British School. In fact, Nzegwu, drawing heavily on Igbo anthropology returns us to these reviled classics despite her inexplicable exclusion of the works of J. A. Barnes and A. I. Jones.18 In the end then, when one takes a more measured view of the larger literature on the family, kinship and gender in Africa in particular, one might equally argue that this rich corpus is not reducible to a wholesale imperialist fiction invented for the purpose of the colonial domination of women in the name of patriarchy and the state. Indeed, a neo-classical position would argue that anthropology, specifically the comparative study of the kinship, social structure and the family, is not reducible to mere “clever coinage” or un-reflexive butterfly hunting as Edward Leach provides in his critique of Audrey Richard’s matrilineal “problem” as tautology in Rethinking Anthropology (1977: 4-5).19 In fact, the matrilineal problem and the nature of the family is a classic anthropological subject of fundamental and continuing importance to which I will return to further below and comment upon by way of conclusion. Thanks to Nzegwu and Amadiume then, we can productively return to a re-energized foundational anthropological debate which has by and large completely gone out of fashion.

Do Anthropology and History Have No Place in Feminist African Studies Except as Evidence of an Enduring European Racism?

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A Response to Radical African Feminist Interpretations of Igbo Patriarchy For the understanding of any aspect of social life of an African people – economic, political, or religious – it is essential to have a thorough knowledge of their system of kinships and marriage. This is so obvious to any field anthropologist that it hardly needs to be stated. But it is often ignored by those who concern themselves with problems relating to economics, health, nutrition, law, or administration of the peoples of Africa, and it is hoped that this book will be read not only by anthropologists but by some of those who are responsible for formulating or carrying out policies of colonial government in the African continent. - A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, African Systems of Kinship and Marriage, 1950, 1.

Amadiume provides a blistering indictment of all western anthropology and all non-’African’ history of Africa. Drawing on a highly selective and distorted reading of Adam Kuper (1988), she writes that the purpose of anthropology was to control African societies through acculturation:
The subject of anthropology was, therefore, racist from the start and was not intended to serve an African interest. Rather it was intended to humiliate and insult Africans by classifying them as primitive . . . . Africans are consequently correct in being ashamed of association with this subject.20

Then taking issue with male African authors, Amadiume assails Kwesi Prah’s “protest anthropology” by disavowing his call to avoid the “rejection syndrome,” that is, the call not to throw out all of anthropology. Instead, Amadiume argues that “legitimate” African anthropologists are not appendages of western scholarly traditions but speak from an independent ancient African tradition with no need of the gender bound racist terminologies implicated in imperialism. She specifically proposes that the term anthropology should be rejected, as with all anthropology, and replaced with the term African social history. Attacking Mudimbe above all for having fallen into the trap of the said “racist agenda inherent in American cultural sociology,” she charges that Mudimbe knows nothing of African history nor anything of African society, culture, and language. According to her, his voice is not that of a “real” African but of an Uncle Tom born of Michel Foucault and Claude Levi-Strauss.

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Amadiume adds that the problem is one of historical depth. She asks, “Why do European scholars insist that Africans confine themselves to the post-1945 period.”21 Apparently they do this because it serves racist European colonialist imperialism though I have never heard of this charge before nor see any evidence for it. She then rhetorically poses the question as to whether this explains why “anthropology gives African ethnography a post-1945 status dependent on the works of British social anthropologists, French spiritualists/philosophers and economic anthropologists and American cultural anthropologists?” Nzegwu, who makes a great deal of use of pre-1945 anthropology, delivers an equally vitriolic attack on Amadiume’s work charging that she had sold out to colonialism’s epistemologies. Yet it is arguable that Nzegwu herself has done so rather well in appropriating anthropological studies of Igbo society — again by way of emphasis — minus J. A. Barnes and A. I. Jones for some unexplained reason. Let us revisit then the arguably counter-intuitively synonymous aims of both of their studies in the hope that future Igbo scholars might find this debate of interest considering how the study of matriarchy takes us back to the roots of anthropology in the late 19th Century. According to the on-line flipcart description of Amadiume’s book Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in African Society (1987), its purpose is to challenge “the received orthodoxies of social anthropology ”22 It could be equally be a description of Nzegwu’s work except in that Nzegwu’s case she argues that Igbo society was un-gendered and thus not matriarchal:
Ifi Amadiume argues that in precolonial society, sex and gender did not necessarily coincide. Examining the structures that enabled women to achieve power, she shows that roles were neither rigidly masculinized nor feminized. Economic changes in colonial times undermined women’s status and reduced their political role and Dr. Amadiume maintains, patriarchal tendencies introduced by colonialism persist today, to the detriment of women. Critical of the chauvinist stereotypes established by colonial anthropology, the author stresses the importance of recognizing women’s economic activities as an essential basis of their power. She is also critical of those western feminists who, when relating to African women, tend to accept the same outmoded projections.23

Despite this common vision, Nzegwu is deeply critical of Amadiume as Biko Agozino points out in his useful review of Daughters of The
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Goddess, Daughters of Imperialism: African Women, Culture, Power and Democracy (2000) - “Between Divas And Dimpers” in Jenda: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies (2001). I. Agozino balances his criticism and praise well:
Nkiru Nzegwu sets tough (perhaps unnecessarily too tough in tone) new standards for the internal criticism of the work of fellow African scholars in her review of Ifi Amadiume’s Reinventing Africa: Matriarchy, Religion, Culture. It is difficult for someone to do justice to yet another book by Ifi Amadiume without demonstrating awareness of what Nzegwu has termed a ‘thorough reading’ for ‘a more effective critique’ in her response to Tola Olu Pearce’s appreciation of her initial intervention.24

Though the harsh tone of Nzegwu’s critique of Amadiume gets in the way, her argument is that if we start our analysis of African culture with gender as the central epistemological concept, we buy into the western metaphysics of inequality without realizing it. Agozino advances Amadiume’s stated rationale for her work as such
. . . she insists that any analysis of gender relations in Africa should recognize how much those relations were formed and transformed by the slave trade, colonialism, Christian missionaries (and by extension, Islamic clerics), and neocolonialism. She concluded that such historical specificity would make it possible to distinguish intrusive patriarchal traits from what is often represented as Matriarchal African cultures. She added that even in Igboland, the social construction of life differs from place to place, and differs substantially from the underlying assumptions of a matriarchal scheme, making it difficult to construe these societies as matriachal 25

Reading Nzegwu against Amadiume towards revisiting the Igbo literature in light of the anthropological literature on kinship and gender could thus be a productive and grounding intellectual experience for future graduate students interested in debates in Africa and elsewhere over feminism, matriarchy and patriarchy. But first the point has to be emphasized that outside of her search for “intrusive patriarchal traits” the rest of the statement about the historical specificity required in the study of gender in Africa has long since been axiomatic. Should we not reflect Nzegwu’s “new standards for the internal criticism of the work of fellow African scholars,”26 as well as Amadiume’s
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claims back on their own work? In order to do so, one would have to revisit the anthropological classics both Nzegwu and Amadiume powerfully exploit to their advantage as well as those they ignore. This is a topic best left to Igbo specialists to debate. If such an unlikely public debate were to transpire, it would be particularly interesting if any older male Igbo scholars from Victor Uchendu’s and Toyin Falola’s generations and intellectually oriented men and women Nigerian judges versed in history as well as respected elder authors such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka would weight into this feminist debate. That aside, future studies of gender and family matters in Africa surely require a more qualified recognition of the relevant explanatory value of the vast body of anthropological and historical literature on kinship and gender. In the following section then, taking up from Agozino’s discussion of the Nzegwu and Amadiume conflict, I consider the comparative relevance of Stephan Miescher’s deftly measured historical scholarship on gender in another West African context – Making Men in Ghana (2005).

Counter-point: Family Matters in Nigeria and Making Men in Ghana
Stephan Miescher uses a very different approach to the study of gender in West Africa.27 In fact, the differences between these two studies highlight striking shifts that have taken place in the craft of philosophy, anthropology, and history in African studies in recent decades. In my view, the strengths of Miescher’s study and the wholly unintended consequences of Nzegwu’s explicitly ideological study are twofold: they return us to basics and they return us to the long established analytical power of the conjunction of history and anthropology. While one could take Nzegwu’s study as a starting point for revisiting feminism in Africa and the entire matriliny/patriliny debate going back to Bachofen, I prefer to first concentrate on the more problematic aspects of her study with Miescher’s deeply measured text in mind. Miescher’s work shows a far more nuanced understanding of gender and of the complexities of life histories in the colonial and post-colonial eras and his approach could probably be usefully applied to a historical study of women and the issue of the invention of patriliny and matriliny in Nigeria. It raises a whole range of prior studies of the family in Africa not considered by Nzegwu. For instance, as an acutely anthropologically minded historian, he astutely documents in a classical nonpolemical fashion that there are different and changing conceptions of fatherhood and male authority in Ghana. By doing so, he reveals the
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changing natures of their agencies as explored in more detail further below. It is worthy of emulation. The very strengths of Making Men in Ghana constitute the weaknesses of Family Matters. While the former is a testament to the value of a rigorous historical study focused on presenting and analyzing informant’s voices and assessing these against archival documentation, the latter is a ferociously polemical and experimental, almost visionary, attempt to deconstruct modern Igbo patriarchy as a “specious” tradition. Therein, while Family Matters will be of considerable interest to African feminists, and particularly to all those interested in the invention of tradition and the question of patriarchy, it arguably serves above all as a splendid example of just how politicized and polemical African Studies has become. Miescher’s study in contrast is entirely serene. It will provoke little controversy being a solid neo-classical study of much value to the way in which life histories and archival research can inform the anthropology of gender and gender relations. Family Matters on the other hand is a text book case of a ‘critical’ and controversial study. In my own opinion it is deeply compromised rather than advanced by the post-modernist representational tactics used in the final two chapters. Miescher could have explored the irony of gender and politics in terms of his personal orientations in contrast to the Ghanaian elders he writes about. From that angle, he could have provocatively engaged a very different and alternatively relevant literature on gender and sexuality and the author’s relations to one’s subject of study. Instead, he writes powerfully from within the canon. Nzegwu’s study, in contrast, is a canon busting experimental tour de force. In the final analysis however, or so I argue, it provides a classic case of the pleasures and pitfalls of postmodernist gambits in the manipulation of voice and experimentation with form and content.

A Golden Opportunity for Anthropology and History: Return to Origins
Reading Miescher against Nzegwu provides a golden opportunity for anthropologists and historians to re-center the next generation of Africanists. The contrast could serve to return them to a profound appreciation of the relevant history of anthropological debates over matriliny specifically and to the research on kinship and gender in general. Simply put, in order to be able to seriously engage the claims made against colonial and later period anthropology by Nzegwu and Amadiume, students will need a firm grounding in the discipline’s vast
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and rigorous analysis of social structure and ritual, law and land tenure, and kin-based politics, as well as the related scholarship on marriage and inheritance and thus family matters. To that end, this chapter includes an extensive bibliography of some of the literature that would be required reading to achieve such ends. With this qualification in mind, Nzegwu’s first chapters on “making” and “legalizing” patriarchy, and the third chapter on the plight of widows and daughters in inheritance disputes, make for powerful and highly challenging readings in their own rights. There are many issues in Family Matters that will elicit critical reactions. For instance, while Nzegwu’s arguments about the invention and manipulation of tradition in the service of one ideology or another are well taken, they are by no means new. They follow in a long established basic principle in anthropology and history. In this, her omission of any reference to The Invention of Tradition, edited by Eric Hobsbawn and T. O. Ranger (1983) which initiated this emergent literature, is extraordinary.28 Perhaps it shows how the debate over the invention of tradition has taken on a life of its own in the Nigerian context so much so that it has lost its intellectual and historical moorings. In addition, despite her engagement with critical post-modernism, she herself constructs a disembodied authorial voice out of the anthropological literature. Worse still, she disguises her own experience and voice through invented characters, thus falling prey to her own critique of colonial anthropology. This effectively compromises the post-structuralist principle of the value and requirements of self-reflexivity. It also highlights the point made by Frances Mascia-Lees, Colleen Cohen and Patricia Sharpe (1987/88) that feminist theory provides better grist-for-the-mill than post-modern theory should one want to explore new approaches to ethnography.29 While each of these issues could generate considerable debate, the most powerful part of the book is the “personal case study” of the court cases relating to the Nzegwu family dispute. If these materials do in fact refer to an autobiographical instance, then the use of the first person as an imagined person is not just strange but entirely problematic. The question here is why she does not make it clear, besides the one well buried reference to her divorce, that these was her own family’s court cases? Or were they not? Why is there not more explicit discussion of the all-important autobiographical components motivating and informing her work? Regardless, the chapter provides a highly accomplished analysis of a protracted legal dispute in which she deftly shows how kin manipulate custom to their relative advantage. There is even in here
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evidence for an unintended auto-critique of the notion that Nigerian male judges as a rule work unfairly to enforce patriarchy. In all this, the mere title of the book consistently speaks volumes. The fourth and fifth chapters of Family Matters are exercises in interpretive and tactical excess. Chapter Four is a Socratic play which brings varying western and African feminist views into conflict through the use of the crudest stereotypes. It is nonetheless a highly creative ‘docudrama.’ There Nzegwu pits Simone de Beauvoir (author of The Second Sex, 1990), Germaine Greer (author of The Female Eunuch, 1972), and the anthropologist Helen Henderson up against the resistance leader and leader of the Council of Mothers, Omu Nwagboka, Onuwu (her female prime minister), and Onyeamama. It seems that Onyeamama’s is Nzegwu’s own polemical voice. Or is her voice more that of the Omu? If staged as a play on a university campus, as Victor Turner did decades ago with similar materials on conflict and matrlineality amongst the Ndembu peoples of Zambia, the ‘docu-drama’ would make for a fascinating and hopefully controversial event. The same could be done with the puerile excess of the final chapter where she hypothetically reforms the U.S. government as a dual-sex system taking her interpretive liberty to its most hyperbolic and fantastic conclusion. Despite their problems, these two final chapters have the capacity to radically enliven any upper level undergraduate class on social structure. More compellingly, it would move what can be an arid and difficult discussion of kinship and gender into the realm of performance and political satire. Creative pedagogical opportunities aside, Meischer’s work brings us down to earth, and anthropology, though he is a historian. Miescher’s neo-classical study Making Men is notable for its sensitivity. It rigorously builds up an argument based on a range of Ghanaian men’s experiences. He shows how “to be a man is hard” and how men differently negotiate competing forms of masculinities namely “adult masculinity,” “senior masculinity,” and “big-man status.” These distinctions are critical for any discussion of gender and patriarchy in general and as regards the study of the family in Ghana, in particular, as they allow us to better understand the diversity and complexity of men’s experience. We thus arrive at a far more nuanced and methodical understanding of gender and the roles and responsibilities that both men and women take on at different times in their lives in the face of different challenges. Ultimately, Miescher’s singular contribution is to provide a detailed and personalized account of what he terms a “Presbyterian masculinity.” As this emergent modernist Christian identity stands in stark contrast to how Akan matriliny privileged patrilineal
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relations, Miescher’s study provides a remarkably complementary study to read against Nzegwu’s critique of patriarchy. Such comparisons are useful as they broaden the field for comparative purposes for instance to the Melanesian studies of big men, specifically to the anthropological debates in lineage theory concerning the similarities and differences in African and Melanesian social structures. We are thus returned to the foundational anthropological method of comparing structure and function in different societies. Staying focused on Miescher’s project for its comparative value for the study of gender, it is very much an exercise in oral history. Here the narrators’ accounts are not simply texts for analysis. They provide means and contexts for exploring subjectivity and the self in specific cultural and historical contexts. More than that, the book shows how individuals “earn” their personhood in the ethical arenas presented by life experience. It is exceedingly interesting how effectively he was able to enrich their autobiographical accounts through archival materials. In so doing, he arrived at a more realistic account of the tensions and challenges in their lives which as elders they purposively diminished. As a consequence, his study gives us a fine grained insight into the diversity of their lives and what it means to be a man in Ghana. One awaits a complementary study of men and women in Nigeria. Would applying Miescher’s degree of nuance and his relatively normative representational strategies to family conflicts in the Igbo communities, both for men and women, not enrich a study such as Family Matters? For instance, how might some women be using patriliny to their advantage by competing against other women’s interests through men. Future ethnographies and historiographies on Igbo gender issues could thus re-engage Nzegwu’s work. It could be fascinating if some enterprising student re-examined the court cases discussed in Nzegwu’s study in order to advance anthropological understandings of tensions between sisters and wives as pointed to in the next section on the imperative of engaging the appropriate literature which Nzegwu did not address. To recapitulate, Nzegwu’s work is very different to Miescher’s. His is a complex and wonderfully lucid analysis of individual African men’s life experiences in which he carefully presents their highly contextualized views on masculinity, growing up, education, employment, and marriage, sexuality, paternity, and power. Nzegwu’s is a passionate and highly motivated claim in which she argues that prior to colonialism Igbo society was not patriarchal but composed of a balanced dualgender system. Yet again, the notion that patriarchal traditions were invented and or consolidated in response to the conjoined interests of
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Christian mission, colonialism and emergent power elites, and middle class values is not at all new to anthropology nor to African studies in general. Nonetheless, this is not to diminish her contribution for her discussions of gender, history, and politics. For instance her discussion of the 1929 Women’s War recalls a topic previously well covered by others and most recently by Toyin Falola in his study Colonial Violence in Nigeria (2009).30 In this, Miescher’s measured work speaks quite by chance presciently to Nzegwu’s passion.  In returning to the classics, never mind to the creative likes of Elenor Smith Bowen’s (Laura Bohannan’s) Return to Laughter: An Anthropological Novel (1964) and her “Shakespeare in the bush”,31 Nkiru Nzegwu’s last chapters will generate different reactions. These will depend on one’s affinity for employing creative license and one’s gender, race, no less one’s intellectual orientation as regards varieties of feminism and feminist ethnography.32 But what is most important in my view is how reading Nzegwu’s study might impel a rigorous appreciation of the history of the constantly evolving anthropological debates on gender and kinship. Towards that goal, I briefly highlight some of the relevant relatively recent literature on the politics of gender, power and kin relations in African societies. African Studies students with an interest in anthropology who engage this debate on a comparative level might find themselves revisiting the likes of Onaiwu Ogbomo’s When Men and Women Mattered: A History of Gender Relations Among the Owan of Nigeria (1997)33 and reading the anthropological work on the southern African matrilineal belt. In fact, studying both the societies of the matrilineal belt and the very differently structured Bantu patrilineal societies of the region would be essential. extremely rich literature on gender, religion, ritual, law, and the family in Africa by earlier women anthropologists such as Miss Earthy, Audrey Richards and Eilen Krige to name a few, and to their contributions to scholarly genealogies connecting this classic debate back through Malinowski’s corrective to Junod, Frazer, Morgan and Maine keeping in mind Radcliffe-Brown’s critique of pseudo-histories of the primitive matriarchy theory. This matters as Nzegwu’s fine discussion of multiple forms of marriage amongst the Igbo speaks directly to Krige’s long predating work on woman-marriage amongst the Lovedu.34 Due attention to such work does not just broaden the relevance of the Nzegwu-Amadiume debate to the comparative historical study of gender in Africa. It is required scholarly practice. The requisite consideration of the predating anthropological knowledge and thought on gender can hardly be so

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crudely dismissed as irrelevant for being merely the ideologically polluted work of European women or Western androcentric domination.35 In beginning to addressing the wider anthropological literature, no studies would be more important to begin with than Sisters and Wives: The Past and Future of Sexual Equality by Karen Sacks (1982) and Jane Fishburne Collier and Sylvia Junko Yanagisako’s edited volume Gender and Kinship: Essays Toward a Unified Analysis (1987).36 The reason in the former case is that Sacks provides a rigorous comparison of key issues in Nzegwu’s work as they relate to other African ethnic groups. Even more directly, Sacks devotes much of her final chapter (prior to the conclusion) to a comparison of the history and anthropology of sisters and wives in the case of the Igbo of the city of Onitsha and to the roles and statuses and power of women in the context of the rise of the related Dahomean state. In the latter case, Collier and Yanakisako and the contributors powerfully synthesized the study of kinship and gender so as to revitalize the theoretical core of anthropology in the late 1980’s. For Nzegwu, engaging such work and particularly Christine Ward Gailey’s study on gender hierarchy in Kinship to Kingship (1987).37 would have made for a very much stronger historical analysis. Doing so would have allowed her to better contribute to the anthropological literature on the diversity of marriage practices and conjugal relations, that is, to our understandings of family formations, gender relations, lineage and network theory and relations of production and power in Africa. Such critique aside however, Nzegwu’s study has great potential relevance to anthropology and history in that it could inadvertently bring some of the next generation of scholars in African Studies back to the study of gender, power and marriage in Africa. With a renewed and fecund respect for the constant evolution of analytic rigor and the ongoing developments in feminist theory brought together in Carol McCann and Seung Kyun Kim’s edited volume Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives (2009) the results should have productive if not reproductive powers. Consider thus how Sacks productively engaged Richard Henderson’s work on historical change in The King in Every Man: Evolutionary Trends in Onitsha Ibo Society and Culture (1972) and Kamene Okonjo’s work on the Igbo dual-sex system in the edited volume Women in Africa (1976). Based on Henderson’s and Okonjo’s work, Sacks hypothesizes that in the post-sixteenth century Igbo kingdoms, ruling classes increasingly subjugated the land-owning patrilineal corporate kin groups by exerting control over the means of production and consequently transforming women’s associations and limiting sisterly relations.38 She deftly condenses Okonjo and Henderson’s work
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so as to describe female power relations in terms of tensions between sisters and wives, and between sisterhood, wifehood, and motherhood in a dual-sex political system in which modes of production were by and large single sex systems, trading being for women and agriculture for men.39 Sacks emphasizes that the changes increasingly forced women in underclass families into subordinate positions as wives keeping in mind the fact that in this society women can have wives and that associations of sisters and wives held considerable powers.40 This is not at all to argue that pre-colonial Igbo society was un-gendered. The purpose of providing this cursory discussion of Sacks here is not so much to criticize Nzegwu’s radical critique, which argues that Igbo society was in reality un-gendered and determined instead by personal assertiveness and empowerment. Is this not a restatement of an axiom in feminist anthropology, structures of prestige as being the most important factors in the cultural construction of gender?41 The purpose here then is to emphasize to the uninitiated (or the willfully ignorant) the specific studies and the type of anthropological issues they will need to be able to engage in order to understand and appreciate Nzegwu’s study and Amadiume’s trenchant indictment of anthropology. Any serious reading of Nzegwu will force graduate students into reading the kind of anthropology too many appear to no longer have to read.42 They will need to carefully reassess Nzegwu’s work in the light of both the older and more recent relevant work by other Africanists continent wide, albeit in many cases by European women authors. Grappling with the expansive literature on social structure will provide them with a deep appreciation of the rigor which mitigates any wholesale dismissal of the colonial and post-colonial anthropological project Towards a greater appreciation for the contribution of anthropology and history to our understanding of change in African society, the purpose of this chapter has been then to comment upon the relative merits of these two very different contemporary studies of gender in Africa by Nzegwu and Miescher. They provide useful alternative models for undergraduate and particularly for graduate students to consider during their early academic training and during fieldwork and the writing process. Future students in African Studies should surely be well versed in this literature rather than merely taking at face value the critiques of those monographs as evil colonial handmaiden. In this, they would learn to appreciate just how complicated and rich is the debate over patriliny and matriliny and how deeply inflected it has become with changing issues in the study of gender and feminism. There we might find the perhaps unexpected scenario in which a fundamentally tradi475

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tional subject in anthropology re-emerges as a vital subfield in African Studies. This is counter-intuitive considering the significant movement over time away from interest in classical subjects such as kinship towards issues of the politics of representation in the 1980’s and 1990’s. We need to constantly return to basics, to origins, at the same time as to keeping abreast of the new. For West African studies of gender the value of holding a middle ground is inherent in the solid neo-classical examples of works such as Ogbomo’s When Men and Women Mattered (1997) and more recently Meischer’s Making Men (2005). They are leading examples for West Africa of the potential rewards and continuing imperative of such work.

Back to Basics: Honor Thy Father and Mother
When I read Nzegwu, I find myself looking back on my training in the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s. And there I find that despite the frisson and excitement of the interpretive turn, it is the most classical works and difficult lectures by my professors which I hold today of the greatest value - my dog-eared copy of Radcliffe-Brown and Forde’s African Systems of Kinship and Marriage (1959/1967), my blood red bible The Elementary Structures of Kinship by Levi-Strauss dedicated to Lewis Morgan (1949/1969) and Robin Fox’s requisite purple Kinship and Marriage (1967/1983), my almost peuce copy of Kenneth Kensinger’s edited volume Marriage Practices in Lowland South America (1984) and my slowly browning copy of David Maybury-Lewis’ hard back edited tome Dialectical Societies (1979). These classics have a talismanic and intellectual value for me in a sense beyond Levi-Strauss’ The Raw and the Cooked (1969), Tristes Tropiques (1972) and all my books on “native” myth and religion around the world as sacred as I hold them - call me Orientalist if you will. Now many years later, thanks indeed to Nzegwu, I have found myself paging back through these books with the most intense pleasure, once again struggling through the complicated chapters and articles in those course packages and the lecture notes, returned to origins. I have not opened these books and materials for far too long. They involve topics abandoned as of no functional use to my anthropological career – or so I thought. How strange to find myself now asking: Did anthropologists really conflate matriarchy and matrilineality? Did we really never consider the family? Reacting thus with such passion to Nzegwu has returned me to most intimate anthropological treasures, to the chapters on the pervasive dualisms of the Ge and Bororo systems of Lowland South America, to Tom Zuidema’s slim salmon pink La
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Civilisation Inca au Cuzco (1986) and his extraordinary discussion of age classes and women’s organizations in the Inca kingdom, to Norman and Dorothea Whitten’s fascinating work on marriage and shamanism amongst the Canelos Quichua, to Alma Gottlieb’s acute and intriguing analysis of alliance models and her study of Beng identity and difference in Under the Kapok Tree (1992) as to the warm memories of Mahir Saul’s daunting lectures and his work on marriage and descent amongst the Bobo. Let us honor our “mothers” and “fathers”, our intellectual lineages. It was Nkiru Nzegwu who reminded me how the most challenging part of graduate school by far, and thus in some sense the most valuable, were the readings in kinship theory. They are our foundational science as it were, like it or not today. So give me back my disciplines’ bones—if you would consider it dead and buried. Should some of tomorrow’s students in African Studies not think about beginning their apprenticeship in the magic of anthropology by returning to J. J. Bachofen’s Das Muutterrecht (1861) translated by Ralph Mannheim as Myth, Religion and Mother Right: Selected Writings of J. J. Bachofen (1967) and to The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Frederick Engels (1891)? If they have an interest in gender and economy why not consider starting at the beginning and working all the way up to Nzegwu, with C. G. Hartley’s The Position of Women in Primitive Society: A Study of A Matriarchy (1914), J. S. Harris’ article “The Position of Women in a Nigerian Society” (1940) and E. E. Pritchard’s Some Aspects of Marriage and the Family Among the Nuer (1945) as well as his edited volume The Position of Women in Primitive Societies and Other Essays (1965) to name a few of the earlier works requiring consultation. Would it not be better to do that instead of simply reading the critiques of such works? Better they know of the Bott Hypothesis, of Elisabeth Bott’s Family and Social Network (1957)? How about the likes of C. Matiasson’s edited collection Many Sisters (1974) or R. Reiter’s edited Towards an Anthropology of Women (1975) and the subsequent critiques of that work so as to understand developments in the anthropological study of gender and second wave feminism since the 1970’s. Why not begin with Christine Ward Gailey’s excruciatingly potent study From Kinship to Kingship (1987) before moving to Alejandro Lugo and Bill Maurer’s interesting edited volume Gender Matters: Rereading Michelle Z. Rosaldo (2000) with Ana Maria Alonso’s closing reflections on the use and abuse of feminist theory?43 All of this constitutes a diverse and powerful intellectual heritage constantly evolving under the pressure of internal critique and new evidence, new positions and new theoretical perspectives.
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Finally then, going beyond issues of gender and feminism so as to return to Clifford Geertz’s predictions given in this chapter’s epigraph and the guiding logic of this chapter, why not watch John Comaroff ’s 2008 Jensen Memorial lecture, “The End of Anthropology?” on You Tube.44 Truly anthropology is not dead. Nor is it a sterile mule. It is alive and kicking. Is it not true that despite such work many students today and even recent generations of professors are typically unschooled in the classics of structuralism and functionalism and the enduring relevance of the study of kinship systems which have followed? Are those of us trained in the 1980’s and beyond not too often unaware of or uninterested in the rigorous anthropological debates over rights and duties and the complexities of these issues in changing African lineage systems as well as to their continuing importance in Africa as elsewhere? Do we not simply make do with second hand critiques as mantras of faith? Yet as an academic trained in the early post-modern era, I also must admit that my elementary understanding of kinship theory is hopelessly limited to my own great loss - but at least it is mitigated by that recognition and a respect for the rigor and intellectual elegance involved in the materials and the evolution of the various debates. Worse still, I myself have not yet read Bachofen and Engels on the origins of the family, or Maine and Morgan, but there is yet time. Moreover, this debate over gender and matriliny is now of personal and professional relevance considering that I live in and study a state undergoing dramatic change as regards gender, patriarchy, law and custom. Here, in a modern yet traditional matrilineal Minangkabau Muslim context in Indonesia, in my own domestic and public sphere, to be thoroughly post-modern, women most certainly wield the power.45 With all this in mind, I have found Nzegwu’s critical work on gender and feminism and Amadiume’s indictment of all of western scholarship of Africa uncommonly stimulating. I can only hope that the result of this engagement in this chapter might inadvertently simulate a more measured Meischer or Ogbomo-like return to anthropological studies of gender, kinship, and power in Africa. And towards that let me re-iterate one key point of this chapter. Nzegwu claims that “African Studies,” assumedly including anthropology past and present, has largely ignored the study of the family. It is simply not true. In fact, studying the nature of the family has always been an essential component of anthropology in Africa as elsewhere dating back to Morgan. Any argument to the contrary is a remarkable claim in and of itself. Lastly, for those of us with applied interests, perhaps the real potential of Nzegwu’s study would be these: How might the study of the Nzegwu vs. Nzegwus case in Nigerian law
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schools inform future legal decisions by Nigerian judges? How might Nzegwu’s study inspire future generations of African Studies students to be less judgmental and less polemical about claiming what is “correct” and who has the right to speak for and of “women”, never mind for “Africa”.

Conclusion
Ifi Amadiume rejects all of the western anthropology and history of Africa. Apparently none of it has any analytical or theoretical value, all of it is mere reproduction of a racist colonial agenda and what is needed is proper, that is indigenous, African feminist studies by “real” Africans un-perverted by Western evils. Why even bother to respond. Nevertheless, Nkiru Nzegwu, the next major Nigerian feminist radical, does respond to Amadiume’s virulent Africanist matriarchal orthodoxy and proposes that matriarchal powers were diminished by colonialism and capitalist modes of production and that this resulted in the rise of patriarchy. In turn, responding here to Nzegwu, I emphasize that anthropologists and historians do not argue against this and in fact have consistently shown how social change has taken place in response to economic and political change in Africa and elsewhere. Just as seriously, while Nzegwu, is concerned with critiquing the invention and manipulation of tradition both in the sphere of kinship and the law as well as in the disciplinary practices and understandings of anthropology itself, The fact of the matter is that this idea of the invention of tradition has long since been de-rigueur in anthropology and history.46 Nevertheless her argument that pre-colonial Igbo society was un-gendered and that Igbo patriliny is a myth that was invented by colonial anthropologists makes for useful debate if we better situate it within the literature on the invention of tradition, gender and kinship, labor and law. In attacking other Nigerian women scholars such as Ife Amadiume for their intellectual conformity (if inadvertent) with the anthropological and feminist literature and arguing that doing so evinces a “facile appreciation of the pernicious, deep-seated nature of colonialism”,47 Nzegwu has set the stage for a protracted and highly polemical battle in which she claims that Igbo men and duped Igbo women scholars have found a convergence of interest with western feminists who believe that African women lack agency. I cannot speak for the Igbo, but as for anthropologists and historians they have long been specifically concerned with documenting women’s agency in Africa and elsewhere. There is a substantial critical literature on the thesis of the universal subordination of women and an even more expansive literature on the
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relationship between gender, lineage, marriage, age, class and slavery, capitalist modes of production and the hegemonic apparatus of the modern state in the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras. More broadly for both West African scholarship and the study of gender in anthropology and history, Nzegwu’s study should be critically assessed in relation to the substantial literature on kinship, the family, inheritance, and law in Africa, both in terms that which she does and does not address. For instance, it is most certainly not true, as she claims, that anthropologists have not studied the family. Towards conclusion then Nzegwu’s guiding questions were these: “What is the correct conception of the Igbo family? Why did the maternal aspect atrophy? Why was there a move towards patriarchy?” Should we not however question the epistemological logic of Nzegwu’s first question? The very idea that there can be such a thing as a “correct” conception is akin to a search for an essentialist authenticity in light of the established fact that conceptions and traditions are constantly changing and constantly being invented. All the more reason then to return to Eric Hobsbawm and T. O. Ranger’s classic edited study The Invention of Tradition (1983) should one have dismissed tout court the likes of V. Y. Mudimbe and the works of women such as Karen Sacks and all those feminists and women anthropologists who came before her, especially those viciously trivialized in her “docu-drama.” We must surely ignore in advance the charge that to respect the scholarship of such men and women is specious because all their works are necessarily flawed, being so bound by the race and gender of the authors that they can have no explanatory value to a “correct” African history. To discount the likes of Hobsbawn and Ranger as irrelevant imperialists would be strange folly indeed. To exclude the relevance of the history of the work of European women scholars and men on gender in Africa for that matter is nothing but a rank racism surely not worthy of academia. It certainly gives pause though to revisit tensions in African Studies in the later 20th Century. In that light then consider Nzegwu’s classical goals:
I hope to avoid the flaws of past studies by centering the Igbo ontological and ethical scheme, as well as the consanguineal logic of family relations, in an understanding of the political nature of society, and the distribution of rights, duties, and entitlements in Igbo family and society . . . . Within Igbo family, all consanguineal kin are treated as persons with rights and powers who are engaged in dynamic interactions with each other. This epistemological standpoint is rooted in the view point that adult family members—both females and 480

A Response to Radical African Feminist Interpretations of Igbo Patriarchy males—have agency and clearly defined rights and powers within the Igbo social universe.48

For those social scientists who have read British Structural Functionalism in the original, they will see a perfect congruence here. The only difference is that Nzegwu has replaced the term duties with the final term “power.” The entire discussion above encapsulates, in fact, the explicit goal of orthodox traditional anthropology that Amadiume so resoundingly rejects. In either case, we thus have to return to the classics regardless of charges of their analyses and motivations as examples of the conjunction of social Darwinism, imperialism, and androcentrism at work in anthropology. For instance, Asad himself returns us to Radcliffe-Brown’s “jural element” in kin relations as defined by customary rights and duties mainly enforced by moral and religious rather than legal sanctions. Asad clarifies there that colonial anthropologists uncritically reproduced an “administrative-legal discourse” concerning the over-riding of customary law when “contrary to justice and morality” as defined by western enlightenment standards.49 The difficulties arose in terms of how social relations became overly conceptualized in terms of rights and duties so as to limit and reduce the complexity of society. By way of emphasis yet again, classical anthropology was all about the study of how societies define kin, essentially family to be deliberately unqualified with the use of the term. The discipline was in large part founded and developed on the study of how kinship systems work in terms of rights and duties, rituals, and inheritance and how these all impinge on legal conflicts particularly over land and property, as well as how they are expressed and mediated in the religious sphere. In this, though Nzegwu’s scholarly references run broad, the relevant gaps as regards the pertinent anthropological literature are extraordinary and some of her claims are simply wrong. To take one important instance, anthropologists have not uniformly collapsed patriliny and patriarchy, or for that matter matriliny and matriarchy, as Nzegwu argues, certainly not in recent decades. Consider then how though Nzegwu is vehemently opposed to colonial anthropology, her first three chapters are deeply anthropological, indeed rooted in the very anthropology she rejects. She copiously re-uses the work of the earliest and later post-independence ethnographers while ignoring the important works of the seminal anthropological authors working in the interim period, notably excluding any reference to G. I. Jones, Daryll Forde, and M. D. W. Jeffrey. She ignores much of the relevant structuralist functionalist literature and alliance theory
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and excises the substantial intervening literature on kinship and social structure never mind the network theory of the Manchester School and developments thereafter. Nevertheless, a close reading of her first chapters on patriarchy and patriliny would provide a useful opportunity to stimulate future graduate students in anthropology to return to the entire literature on the Igbo. What we need now is to recalibrate Igbo kinship studies in light of the Nzegwu-Amadiume conflict. When and if anyone does so, they will be forced to carefully re-consider the kinship issues Nzegwu raises, particularly in her footnotes. In this Nzegwu does us a great favor indeed. Lastly, future students in African Studies should be encouraged to embrace a more measured respect for disciplinary knowledge and its construction rather than to follow Nzegwu’s experimental literary politics in her experimental chapters or to follow in Amadiume’s naïve feminism and reactionary essentialism. Miescher’s Making Men in Ghana (2005) and Ogbomo’s When Men and Women Mattered (1997) in contrast provide textbook case studies for why the measured and careful combination of anthropology and history continues to matter. Certainly Meischer will not be controversial unless he is charged as being a mere harbinger of neo-colonial sexist racism and agent of the subjugation and subordination of Ghanaian women, which is barely conceivable, though anything is possible. Family Matters, on the other hand, should cause considerable unease in anthropological and historical circles. If it is ever read more broadly it will be sure to generate substantial controversy amongst Igbo scholars themselves across the disciplines. Above all, for her fellow Igbo women scholars and particularly for western feminists of the first through fourth waves—all of whom are similarly portrayed as dupes to patriarchy, and hence collectively and forthrightly dismissed as irrelevant to African feminist scholarship—it will most surely be incendiary. Though Family Matters: Feminist Concepts in African Philosophy of Culture is a radical addition to African studies in terms of its interpretive and creative excess, there is another kind of problem in play here as noted earlier in this chapter. The author appears to have inserted personal legal experience into the text, assuming that the court case in this book is her own. If this is the case, then she has substituted the first person with the third. Perhaps future debate in Nigeria will clarify such issues. Certainly, in terms of the experimental post-modernist combination of law, fiction, and literary gambits we need to know if the two all-important court cases that she refers to, Nzegwu v. Nzegwus (1986) and Nzegwus v. Nzegwu (1997), are in fact the legal documents referring to her own divorce proceedings. If they do, then it would be
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de-rigueur in post-modernist theory for the author to have to self-consciously interrogate her relationship to her subject. We need to know to what degree her interpretations are consciously and unconsciously ideological, driven by deeply personal agendas, and thereafter universalized for all Igbo women and culture, present and past. Regardless of that confirmation and future introspection on her part, Nzegwu’s book is very much a form of personal legitimation, an interesting form of feminist politics as advanced rather differently by Michelle Fine in Disruptive Voices: The Possibilities of Feminist Research (1992). Nzegwu has arguably projected her personal and legal struggle into an imagined “correct” past so as to call for future empowerment of women struggling against patriarchy. One wonders what the former husband’s response might be should he be of intellectual and/or legal orientation, never mind the women members of the family taking antipodal positions on the conflict. Now there is an interesting post post-modern dissertation worth embarking on. To return to this chapter’s epigraph and opening discussion, I take Clifford Geertz’s advice as words from the wise. He advises that we should seek to “enlarge the possibility of intelligible discourse between people quite different from one another in interest, outlook, wealth, and power, and yet contained in a world where, tumbled as they are into endless connection, it is increasingly difficult to get out of each other’s way.”50 There, V. Y. Mudimbe elegantly demonstrates the validity of this view. Referring to anthropology’s relevance and commenting upon the perilous future of discourses about African systems, norms, and rules he highlights and points “to the delicate validity of patient translations and interpretations of regional cultural economies.”51 As Geertz would have it, the challenge is how to negotiate, respect and validate the different translations of culture given by Nzegwu and Amadiume - considering that we cannot get out of each other’s way. To conclude, by having set up Nzegwu against Amadiume and Miescher in this way I hope to have persuaded those more familiar with the likes of Geertz and Mudimbe to return to our classics, to the vast relevant literature on gender in relation to kinship, law and ritual political economy and the state. On a more prescriptive note, should it not be mandatory in African Studies to take at least one graduate seminar on African kinship? This is by no means to argue that anthropology has not been immensely enriched by the opening up of its subject and the critiques of the discipline at a time of a consistent lessening of interest in kinship studies. It seems then when all is said and done that the service these two Nigerian feminists may end up inadvertently serving to the
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anthropological and historical study of Africa is to stimulate a qualified return to disciplinary origins and a revitalization of the conjunction of the study of kinship and gender. There, in the intersecting realms of labor and law, religion and politics, it is analytic rigor and empirical data will stand the test of interpretation over time. And there Kuper concludes: “I predict that the immediate future lies with the methodologists, formalists and ethnographers; and that regional comparison will provide the normal context of model building.”52 Almost thirty years later I find myself to my surprise in complete concurrence. I would add however that it is both regional and inter-regional comparisons which should return us to the debates about “the matrilineal problem” contextualized by Victor Turner in terms of the efficacy of ritual symbolism in social dramas.53 Perhaps it is in such a return to classics that tomorrow’s most fertile discussions about gender and power in Africa might well lie.

Notes
1. The original title for this article was “Give Me Back My Discipline’s Bones: An Anthropologist Responds to Nkiru Nzegwu’s and Ifi Amadiume’s Radical African Feminist Interpretations of Igbo Patriarchy.” It has been changed for reasons of focus and because anthropology and the study of kinship never died in the first place. The original title referred to Kenn Harper, Give Me My Father’s Body: The Story of Minik, the New York Eskimo (Hannover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2000), an extraordinary account of the cruel conjunction of colonialism and anthropology. I thank Bennetta Jules-Rosette for bringing Harper’s study to my attention. Clifford Geertz; Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), 135. Ibid., 137. Ibid., 138. Ibid., 138. Talal Asad, “Afterword: From the History of Colonial Anthropology to the Anthropology of Western Hegemony,” in George W. Stocking, Jr., ed., Colonial Situations: Essays on the Contextualization of Ethnographic Knowledge. History of Anthropology, Volume 7 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press; 1991), 314-24. More recently John Comaroff reiterates this point forcefully in his “The End of Anthropology, Again? Some Thoughts on Disciplinary Futures,” American Anthropologist Vol. 112, No. 4 (2010):524-38. See Nkiru Uwechia Nzegwu, Family Matters: Feminist Concepts in African Philosophy of Culture (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006), Ifi Amadiume, Male Daughter, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in 484

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7.

A Response to Radical African Feminist Interpretations of Igbo Patriarchy African Society (London: Zed Books, 1987), Reinventing Africa: Matriarchy, Religion, Culture (London: Zed, 1998), and Daughters of the Godess, Daughters of Imperialism: African Women Struggle For Culture, Power and Democracy (London: Zed Books, 2000). See Nkiru Nzegwu; “Gender Equality in Dual Sex System: The Case of Onitsha,” Jenda, Vol. 1, available at http://www.jendajournal.com/jenda/ vol1.1/index1.1.html, Accessed May 1, 2010. Ifi Amadiume, Daughters of the Goddess, Daughters of Imperialism, 20. On violence in Nigeria, see Toyin Falola, Violence in Nigeria: The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies, Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora (Rochester: Rochester University Press, 1998); and “Toyin Falola, “Gendered Violence,” Colonialism and Violence in Nigeria (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2009), 108-30. Ibid. For similar views for the hypothesized history of patriarchy and western civilization see Cristina Biaggi, ed., The Rule of Mars: Readings on the Origins, History and Impact of Patriarchy (Manchester, CT: Knowledges, Ideas, and Trends, 2005); and Jonathan Zilberg “Review of The Rule of Mars: Readings on the Origins, History and Impact of Patriarchy,” Leonardo (2011), http://leonardo.info/reviews/june2011/zilberg.php., Accessed date?? Nzegwu, Family Matters, 21. See Jane I. Guyer, African Studies in the United States: A Perspective (Atlanta: African Studies Association Press, 1996), 78. Philip Curtin, “Ghettoizing African History,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 3, 1995, see http://concernedafricascholars.org/docs/ acasbulletin46.pdf, accessed April 6, 2012. Funso Afolayan “Exploring Unchartered Frontiers in African Studies: Toyin Falola and His Works”,” in A. Oyebade, ed., The Transformation of Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Toyin Falola. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2002, pp. 3-46. See Kwesi Prah, 1991. Amadiume, Daughters of the Goddess, Daughters of Imperialism, 2. On the limitations of theories of lineage, see Adam Kuper, “Lineage Theory: A critical retrospect,” Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 11 (1982a):71-95. Edmund Leach, Rethinking Anthropology (London: Athlone Press, 1977), 4-5. Amadiume, Reinventing Africa, 2. Amadiume, Daughters of the Goddess, Daughters of Imperialism, 4. See http://www.flipkart.com/male-daughters-female-husbands-0862325 951/p/itmdyyqvwyt6cung?pid=9780862325954, accessed April 6, 2012.

8. 9.

10. 11.

12. 13. 14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

485

The Power of Gender, the Gender of Power 23. Ibid., http://www.flipkart.com/male-daughters-female-husbands-086232 5951/p/itmdyyqvwyt6cung?pid=9780862325954, accessed April 6, 2012. 24. Agozino, Biko. “Between Divas and Dimpers: A Review of Ifi Amadiume’s Daughters of the Goddess, Daughters of Imperialism: African Women, Culture, Power & Democracy”. Jenda. Available at: http://www.jendajournal.com/jenda/vol1.1/index1.1.htm. Accessed November 5, 2010. 25. Ibid, http://www.jendajournal.com/jenda/vol1.1/index1.1.htm. Accessed November 5, 2010. 26. Ibid, http://www.jendajournal.com/jenda/vol1.1/index1.1.htm. Accessed November 5, 2010. 27. Stephan F. Meischer, Making Men in Ghana (Indiana and Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005). 28. See Eric Hobsbawm and Terence O. Ranger eds. The Invention of Tradition. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). 29. See Mascia-Lees, Francis E., Patricia Sharpe and Colleen Ballerino Cohen, “The Postmodern Turn in Anthropology: Cautions from a Feminist Perspective” in Paul J. Benson ed. Conversations in Anthropology: Anthropology and Literature 1987-88, Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society 17, 1 and 2: 251-282. 30. See, Toyin Falola. Colonialism and Violence in Nigeria (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009). 31. See, Elenor Bowen, Return to Laughter: An Anthropological Novel (New York: Doubleday, 1964). Also see Laura Bohannan, “Shakespeare in the bush,” in J. P. Spradley and D. W. McCurdy eds. Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology (New York: Little, Brown, 1984), 22-32. 32. See Kamala Visweswara, Fictions of Feminist Ethnography (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1994). 33. See Onaiwu Ogbomo, When Men and Women Mattered: A History of Gender Relations Among the Owan of Nigeria (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1997). 34. Towards the kind of literature that future Nigerian scholars could turn to consider the following studies on gender as it concerns initiation complexes and rights and duties relating to fertility and the control of reproductive rights and kin, see Renee Devisch, Weaving the Threads of Life: The Khita Gyn-Eco-Logical Healing Cult Among the Yaka (Chicago: London: Chicago University Press. 1993); G. Geisler, “Women are Women or How to Please Your Husband: Initiation Ceremonies and The Politics of ‘Tradition’ in Southern Africa,” African Anthropologist, Vol. 4, No. 1 (1995):92-124; C. Matthiasson, Many Sisters (New York: The Free Press, 1974); H. L. Moore, T. Sanders, and B. Kaore, eds., Those Who Play With Fire: Gender, Fertility and Transformation in Eastern and Southern Africa, (London and New Jersey: The Athlone Press, 2004); Thera Raising, The Bush Burnt, the Stones Remain: Female Initiation Rites in Urban Africa 486

A Response to Radical African Feminist Interpretations of Igbo Patriarchy (London: African Studies Centre, 2001); and Audrey Richards, Chisungu: A Girls Initiation Ceremony in Northern Rhodesia (London: Faber and Faber, 1956). Naturally Amadiume dismisses this entire literature as racist and irrelevant to the reality of African social history, see Reinventing Africa, 2. For two early discussions on women-women marriage, see Melville J. Herskovits, “A Note on ‘Women Marriage’ in Dahomey,” Africa, Vol. 10 (1937):335-41; and Elizabeth J. Krige, “Women-Women Marriage, with Special Reference to the Lovedu: Its Significance for the Definition of Marriage,” Africa, Vol. 44 (1974):11-35. See Karen Sacks, Sisters and Wives: The Past and Future of Sexual Equality, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982) and Jane Fishburne Collier and Sylvia Junko Yanagisako, (eds), Gender and Kinship: Essays Toward a Unified Analysis (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987). See Christine Ward Gailey, Kinship to Kingship” Gender Heirarchy and State Formation in the Tongan Islands (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987). Sacks, Sisters and Wives, 217-18. Ibid., 219-27. See Bruce Kapferrer, “Social Network and Conjugal Role in Urban Zambia: Towards a Reformulation of the Bott Hypothesis,” in J. Boissevain and J. C. Mitchell, eds., Network Analysis: Studies in Human Interaction (The Hague: Mouton, 1973), 83-111. See Sylvia Junko Yanagisako and Jane Fishburn Collier, “Towards a Unified Analysis,” in J. F. Collier and S. J. Yanagisako Gender and Kinship: Essays Towards a Unified Analysis (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987), 26. Some of the required reading alongside these would be A. R. RadcliffeBrown and Darryl Forde, eds., African Systems of Kinship and Marriage (London: Oxford University Press, 1950); A. R. Radcliiffe-Brown, Structure and Function in Primitive Society: Essays and Addresses (New York: The Free Press, 1952); Robin Fox, Kinship and Marriage: An Anthropological Perspective (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1967); Adam Kuper, Wives for Cattle (London: Routledge, Kegan and Paul, 1982); and Adam Kuper, Anthropology and Anthropologists: The Modern British School (London and New York: Routledge, revised edition, 1983). Equally important to read alongside the above would be the three volumes in the series more usually read since the 1980’s History of Anthropology edited by George Stocking, namely: Observers Observed: Essays on Ethnographic Fieldwork; History of Anthropology Volume 1 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983); Romantic Motives: Essays on Anthropological Sensibility, History of Anthropology Volume 6 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989); and Colonial Situations: Essays on the Contextualization of Ethnographic Knowledge, Volume 7 (Madison, WI: University 487

35.

36.

37. 38. 39. 40.

41.

42.

The Power of Gender, the Gender of Power of Wisconsin Press, 1991). Instead, of receiving a solid grounding in the classics and the related work thereafter, several generations of graduate students have now been reared on the likes of Nicholas B. Dirks, Colonialism and Culture; The Comparative Studies in Society and History Book Series (Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 1992); Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman, eds., Colonial Discourse and PostColonial Theory: A Reader (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994); and George E. Marcus, ed., Rereading Cultural Anthropology (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1992). See Anna Maria Alonso, “The Use and Abuse of Feminist Theory: Fear, Dust and Commensality,” in Alejandro Lugo and Bill Maurer, eds., Gender Matters: Rereading Michelle Z. Rosaldo (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2000), 221-231. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbWgFUK_do0. See Peggy Reeves Sanday, Women at the Center: Life in a Modern Matriarchy (New York: Cornell University Press, 2002) and “Antigone in Sumatra: Matriarchal Values in a Patriarchal Context,” in Cristina Biaggi ed., The Rule of Mars: Readings on the Origins, History and Impact of Patriarchy (Manchester, CT: Knowledge, Ideas and Trends, 2005), 95-110. Also see Jeffrey Hadler, Muslim and Matriarchs: Cultural Resilience in Indonesia through Jihad and Colonialism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008). On the invention of tradition, see Eric Hobsbawn and T. O. Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). Also see, Vincent. Y. Mudimbe, The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy, and the Order of Knowledge (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press; London: James Currey, 1988). On the politics of tradition and gender, see Gisela G. Geisler, “Women are Women or How to Please Your Husband: Initiation Ceremonies and The Politics of ‘Tradition’ in Southern Africa,” African Anthropologist, Vol. 4, No. 1 (1995), 92-124. Nzegwu, Family Matters, 13. Nzgewu, Family Matters, 6-7. Asad, “Afterword: From the History of Colonial Anthropology to the Anthropology of Western Hegemony,” in George W. Stocking Jr. (ed.). Colonial Situations: Essays on the Contextualization of Ethnographic Knowledge. History of Anthropology, Volume 7 (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1991), 321-22. Geertz, Works and Lives, 147 Ibid., 199. Adam Kuper, Anthropology and Anthropologists: The Modern British School (London: Routledge, 1983), 205. See A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, “Introduction,” in A. R. Radcliffe-Brown and Daryll Forde eds., African Systems of Kinship and Marriage (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), 1-85, A. I. Richards “Some Types of 488

43.

44. 45.

46.

47. 48. 49.

50. 51. 52. 53.

A Response to Radical African Feminist Interpretations of Igbo Patriarchy Family Structure Amongst the Central Bantu” ibid, 207-251 and Victor Turner, The Forest of Symbols (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967).

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