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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Separating the Men from the Boys: Constructions of Gender, Sexuality, and Terrorism in Central Kenya, 1939-1959
Author:White, LuiseISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:gender relations
Mau Mau
History and Exploration
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/219979
Abstract:This essay uses the memoirs of men who participated in, or were jailed for, the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s in Kenya not only to gender men, but also to bring Mau Mau participants into the academic debate on Mau Mau. What is remarkable about Mau Mau autobiographies is that in them men wrote, among other things, about being men, about being husbands, lovers, and fathers, gender roles that were an integral part of their political struggles. The study shows that, as the State attempted to manufacture class and kinship out of the grim dormitories of their urban work force, Africans themselves began to rethink and restructure the gender categories so designed. The skilled men of family housing and the unskilled men of official bedspaces joined ranks, but they retained the distinctions between them. The revolt of these men and women articulated and debated the nature of that distinction; their revolt was about marriage, about the allocation of domestic chores. The complicated and seemingly inappropriate nature of the British 'cure' for Mau Mau had little to do with resuscitating colonial values, as the cynical memoirs of detainees make clear, but with reconstructing men and women, through the process of domestic work, for a social order created and compromised by a British vision of calm and productive African families. Notes, ref.