“Reconstructing Gender, Education and Cultural Transformation in Anglophone West Africa” investigates the impact of formal education on identity formation. Specifically it analyzes and compares the impact of Ghanaian and Nigerian formal education on the reconstitution of gendered identity by recording the extent to which indigenous cultural beliefs, practices, or norms change. The theoretical and research model for this work developed through of a series of ethnographic studies. These ethnographic studies from 1991 through 2005 in Ghana with Akan, Ewe, and Ga ethno-nationals and Nigeria with Igbo and Yoruba ethno-nationals collected primary data within the context of secondary schools and their local communities. Review of government and historical records and curriculum materials on the establishment and implementation of Anglophone formal education within the West African region was used to triangulate the ethnographic data. Through the comparison of these studies it is demonstrated that participation in Anglo formal education creates a Neo-colonial identity that may be viewed as diasporic in its commonalities across Anglophone West African communities. While the people have not been dispersed, the formal education system, through its historical and contemporary international connection with Britain, disperses significant cultural content that has a transformational effect on its participants. This Neo-colonial Anglo West African identity formation is identifiable through documentation of changes across multiple attributes, including gender, language, ethno-national or national identity, religion, and Afrocentric worldview. Incidents of these attributes, including cultural adaptation, resistance, and transformation, indicate the degree to which participants reclaim or maintain a West African ethno-national identity or reconstitute their identity to align with a Neo-colonial Anglophone Diaspora identity. A 2011 study on Jamaican education supports the development of an Anglophone West African diaspora. In this article documentation of gender change is primary, but tracking of other cultural attributes aided the triangulation of historical and ethnographic data.
|Keywords:||West Africa, Gender, Education, Neocolonial, Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Culture, Identity, Yoruba, Igbo, Ga, Akan, Ewe|
Associate Professor, History Department, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, USA
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