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Chasing Shadows: The Misplaced Search for Matriarchy

Nkiru Nzegwu


The vast majority of scholars in African studies today utilize the explanatory categories of Europe to promote an understanding of Africa, its histories, social and political institutions, and cultures. In a series of essays, lectures and books, Cheikh Anta Diop's correctly argued against this approach, contending that it is inimical to the elucidation of the specific character of Africa's material culture, and the deeper philosophical structure of its intellectual traditions. The recent crop of literature inspired by Diop's methodological intervention is striving to displace the centrality of Europe and its categories in the production of knowledge about Africa. It is in this tradition of Africa-centered, culturally grounded, explanatory framework that Reinventing Africa: Matriarchy, Religion, Culture, by the Nigerian anthropologist Ifi Amadiume, fits in.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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