Professor Allman, Director of the Center for African Studies and Professor of History at UIUC, explores the connections between dress, gender, nation, and power in Nkrumah's Ghana, particularly the public/nationalist discourse surrounding dress and "Ghanaian-ness" during the early and often heady years of African liberation.
Based on government documentation, newspaper coverage and interviews with those involved in Ghana's "anti-nudity campaigns," this presentation explores the connections between dress, gender, nation, and power in Nkrumah's Ghana from 1957-1966. Its primary concern is with the public/nationalist discourse surrounding dress and "Ghanaian-ness" during the early and often heady years of African liberation. This discourse was certainly nationalist, Pan-Africanist, and at moments, womanist or feminist in its vision. Yet it also embraced, in very specific ways, a colonial/missionary grammar of the "primitive," the "tribe," and the "down-trodden," as it articulated powerful hegemonic pulses from the southern Akan areas of the nation aimed at transforming so-called "northerners" into proper "Ghanaians" through dress.
Professor Allman is Professor of African History and Director of the Center for African Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Jean Allman’s area of specialization is West Africa, with an ongoing research focus on Ghana. Her first book, The Quills of the Porcupine: Asante Nationalism in an Emergent Ghana (Wisconsin, 1993), explored the social history of Asante politics in the 1950s. Her recent work focuses on gender and colonialism in West Africa and has appeared in Gender and History, the Journal of African History, History Workshop Journal, Africa and several edited anthologies. In 2000, she published with Victoria Tashjian, I Will Not Eat Stone: A Women’s History of Colonial Asante (Heinemann, 2000), and in 2002 co-edited and introduced with Susan Geiger and Nakanyike Musisi, an anthology on Women in African Colonial Histories (Indiana University Press). Her edited collection, Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress will appear in spring, 2004 (Indiana University Press). Allman’s current research is on labor migration and changing religious beliefs in northern Ghana. She also co-edits, with Allen Isaacman, the Social History of Africa series, Heinemann Press. In July 2004, she and Antoinette will begin their joint co-editorship of the Journal of Women’s History. Allman earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1987 and came to the University of Illinois in spring, 2001 from the University of Minnesota.” -- www.history.uiuc.edu/fac_dir/Allman/allman.htm
Date: Monday, May 24, 2004
Time: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10367 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free and open to the public; parking is available for $7 in lot #3.
James S. Coleman African Studies Center
Sponsor(s): African Studies Center