Gender, Separatist Politics, and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon illuminates how issues of ideal womanhood shaped the Anglophone Cameroonian nationalist movement in the first decade of independence in Cameroon, a west-central African country. Drawing upon history, political science, gender studies, and feminist epistemologies, the book examines how formally educated women sought to protect the cultural values and the self-determination of the Anglophone Cameroonian state as Francophone Cameroon prepared to dismantle the federal republic. The book defines and uses the concept of embodied nationalism to illustrate the political importance of women’s everyday behavior—the clothes they wore, the foods they cooked, whether they gossiped, and their deference to their husbands. The result, in this fascinating approach, reveals that West Cameroon, which included English-speaking areas, was a progressive and autonomous nation. The author’s sources include oral interviews and archival records such as women’s newspaper advice columns, Cameroon’s first cooking book, and the first novel published by an Anglophone Cameroonian woman.
“Gender, Separatist Politics, and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon offers an engaging and provocative analysis that is attractive and accessible to undergraduate and graduate students. It is clear, lively, nicely spiced with humor, and seasoned with a good mix of clear-eyed analysis and warm empathy. Good cookery for the mind.”
—Judith Van Allen, Cornell University
“Mougoué makes significant contributions to the history of Cameroon, to our understanding of the potential emergence of secessionist movements in Africa, to the way in which gender relations play a role in such historical developments, and to the history of women and girls in Anglophone Africa. Gender, Separatist Politics, and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon is excellent; it is a joy to read.”
—Gretchen Bauer, University of Delaware