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WHAT GENDER IS MOTHERHOOD?: Changing Yoruba Ideals of Power, Procreation, and Identity in the Age of Modernity
WHAT GENDER IS MOTHERHOOD?: Changing Yoruba Ideals of Power, Procreation, and Identity in the Age of Modernity
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Manufacturer Number: 978-1137538772
Manufacturer Name: Palgrave Macmillan

An indexing project commissioned to AMVPS in 2015 by the author, Prof. Oyeronke Oyewumi of State University of New York, Stony Brook. The volume is available for order on the website of the publishers, Palgrave Macmillan ( as from the release date of December 9 2015 and will also be available for order on all major online retail stores including


From The Back Cover blurb

In this book, Oyewumi extends her path-breaking thesis that in Yoruba society, construction of gender is a colonial development since the culture exhibited no gender divisions in its original form. Taking seriously indigenous modes and categories of knowledge, she applies her finding of a non-gendered ontology to the social institutions of Ifa, motherhood, marriage, family and naming practices. Oyewumi insists that contemporary assertions of male dominance must be understood, in part, as the work of local intellectuals who took marching orders from Euro/American mentors and colleagues. In exposing the depth of the coloniality of power, Oyewumi challenges us to look at the worlds we inhabit, anew.


"Oyewumi continues to proffer formidable power-knowledge moves beyond gendered concepts of 'woman'. She tasks us with radical, matripotent comprehensions of the institutions and practices of Ifa, motherhood, marriage, and family, as charted through Yoruba categories of knowledge. Consequently, Oyewumi provides considerable contribution to critical feminist and womanist scholarship"

 - Epifania A. Amoo-Adare, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany


"What Gender is Motherhood?' is a beginning rather than an ending, as it poses an important challenge to feminist history and theory that projects the world in hegemonic ways. Oyewumi's contemporary examples of the chilling effect, on scholarship, of widespread acceptance of a natural male-dominated ethos among the Yoruba are disconcerting to say the least. Let's get this book out there and keep the discourse invigorated."

- Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Provost Emerita, Professor, History, Dominican University, USA


"The central question asked in this book - 'what is the gender of motherhood?' - will set all readers thinking anew about sexuality, reproduction, and natality. Oyewumi's original thinking about these issues will provoke reconsiderations of many axioms of knowing about the history of genders."

- Adeleke Adeeko, Humanities Distinguished Professor, The Ohio State University, USA


About the Author

Oyeronke Oyewumi is Associate Professor of Sociology at SUNY Stony Brook, USA. She was born in Nigeria and educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and the University of California at Berkeley, USA. Her monograph, The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses won the 1998 Distinguished Book Award of the Sex and Gender Section of the American Sociological Association, and was a finalist for the Herskovitts Prize of the African Studies Association in the same year.


Series: Gender and Cultural Studies in Africa and the Diaspora

Hardcover: 280 pages

Publishers: Palgrave Macmillan (December 9, 2015)