The Modern and the Traditional African Women and Colonial Morality

Rabah Omer


The meanings of modernity have radically shifted over time, yet interestingly, the modern continues to be the modern and the traditional is still the traditional. I address this observation by asking: what is the modern and what is the traditional, how are they identified, by whom, when and according to what premises? I examine one cultural component: women and sexual morality. I focus on women-men relationships, dress, and dance to examine as cultural themes. I focus on African women and colonial morality and I bring examples across different eras and and different regions to discuss the contours of the changing notion of modernity. The signs of modernity have been inconsistent over time and across regions but modernity have always been consistent on particular features that makes it a fluid biased concept.

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