Reconstructing Gender, Education and Cultural Transformation in Anglophone West Africa

By Jamaine M. Abidogun.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

“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

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 793.579KB).

Dr. Jamaine M. Abidogun

Associate Professor, History Department, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, USA

Dr. Jamaine M. Abidogun is currently an Associate Professor in History at Missouri State University at Springfield. She has also served as their Director of Secondary Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in Secondary Education with a minor in African and African-American studies from the University of Kansas. She has published culture and education studies focusing on both domestic issues in the United States and on international issues in West Africa. Of these publications, her article, “Western Education’s Impact on Northern Igbo Gender Roles in Nsukka, Nigeria,” in Africa Today was developed through a Fulbright Scholar Award. She is a registered member of the Fulbright Academy and an active member of the African Studies Association (ASA), Yoruba Women’s Studies Association, and the Mid-America Association for African Studies (MAAAS). Dr. Abidogun has taught African history courses at Missouri State University and at the University of Nigeria–Nsukka.

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