About the talk:
African anti-colonial movements often invoked a New Woman—free, educated, and politically conscious—who would emerge from the rubble of colonialism. This talk examines how this figure emerges in the midst of several historical currents: the rise of Third World feminism, the Marxist-Leninist turn of African anti-colonial struggles, and consumer culture which marketed a transnational aesthetic befitting the New African Woman. Using Zimbabwe as a case study, Mudiwa explores the New African Woman’s circulation in Pan-African media, party propaganda, and fiction. She argues that through this figure and the attempt to resignify black womanhood, we see the problems and contradictions of decolonization being worked out.

About the speaker:
Rudo Mudiwa’s scholarship focuses on the promise that decolonization movements held for women across Africa. She is an assistant professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of California, Irvine. At present, she is at work on a manuscript titled A Nation of Prostitutes: Gender, Urban Space, and the Invention of Zimbabwe. This book will examine how the prostitute--a symbol of the mobile and transgressive black woman--mediated anxieties regarding the challenge of remaking urban space, policing, and gender relations in the wake of colonial rule. This research was supported by the Social Science Research Council and the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship at Princeton. In addition to her academic work, Mudiwa has published essays in Transition, Chimurenga, New Frame, Ebony, and Africa is a Country.

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