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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:At the crossroads of identity and power: contested discourses of ethnicity and gender in early colonial Rwanda
Author:Vervust, PetraISNI
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue annuelle d'histoire africaine = Annual Journal of African History (ISSN 0850-3079)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Rwanda
East Africa
Subjects:ethnic identity
gender inequality
colonial period
History, Archaeology
Gender identity
Abstract:This article discusses contested discourses of ethnic and gendered identities in relationship to unequal power relations in early colonial Rwanda, i.e. the period around 1900. Starting from a social, relational and situational perspective on identity, Tutsi, Hutu and Twa men and women are studied in terms of their representations by insiders and outsiders. The article focuses on two case studies. In the first case contested discourses of ethnic inequality are at stake in representations of manners, morals and sexual decency. The second case deals with the relationship between gendered and other forms of inequality by looking at instances of female agency in a male-dominated society. The article argues that representations of ethnic and gender identities have to be situated in their historical contexts which makes it possible to distinguish between differing speaking subjects. In this way, deviant representations of ethnicity, for example regarding Twa morals or Tutsi superiority, can be explained by referring to their authors. The article further argues that oversimplified binary oppositions, such as Europeans versus Africans, Tutsi versus Hutu, men versus women, should be avoided. Moreover, the entanglement between ethnicity and gender, as well as other criteria for hierarchization, such as class and regional affiliation, have to be accounted for. Bibliogr., sum, in English and French. [ASC Leiden abstract]