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Lynn M. Thomas
University of Washington (Seattle, WA 98105-6613)
Making the Modern Girl in Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa, 1930-1985

My book will examine debates over the modern girl in Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa to produce a transnational history of gender politics, sexuality, and consumption in twentieth-century Anglophone Africa. Modern girls were usually defined as school-educated unmarried young women who embraced a cosmopolitan look and professional careers while seeming to shun the roles of dutiful daughter, wife, and mother. While some contemporaries viewed modern girls as contributing to "racial uplift," others accused them of "prostituting" their sex and race. My book will explore how the modern girl emerged through shifting racial formations, and the imperial and transnational movement of commodities, cultural forms, and political ideologies.

Project fields:
African History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2005 – 6/30/2006