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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Writing African Women's History with Male Sources: Possibilities and Limitations
Author:Schler, Lynn
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic terms:Cameroon
Subjects:pregnant women
medical research
medical history
Women's Issues
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4128530
Abstract:This paper examines colonial research and documentation of African women's birthing practices to illustrate both the potential for using colonial sources to understand some basic elements of women's experiences, and the limitations of this source material in providing accurate insights into African women's history. The paper examines two studies of birthing practices in colonial Cameroon: a report published in 1945 by two French doctors employed by the colonial administration and working in the area around Yaounde, Georges Olivier and Louis Aujoulat; and a study published in 1947 by a western-educated Duala man, Stephane Ekalle. These texts are ultimately more reflective of the biases of their authors than of women's experiences. The report of the French doctors mirrors the racism and paternalism of the colonial endeavour, as well as a close-minded arrogance of Western science; in the article by Ekalle, the patriarchal views of Duala male elites dominate the assumptions and conclusions. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]