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Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA 17837-2005)
Catherine Cymone Fourshey (Project Director: December 2015 to present)
Rhonda M. Gonzalez (Co Project Director: February 2016 to present)
Christine A. Saidi (Co Project Director: February 2016 to present)
Expressions and Transformations of Gender, Family, and Status in Eastern and Central Africa 500-1800 CE

Collection, analysis, digital mapping, and interpretation of historical linguistic data relating to 55 societies across Bantu-speaking Africa, and co-authoring a book about social life and gender roles in precolonial Africa.

This collaboration is centered on questions about lineage and gender as dimensions of authority, identity, belonging, and worldview historically. It builds on the esteemed work of colleagues who have undertaken historical studies of gender in Africa to interrogate epistemological assumptions. Words are a portal into how people lived in past societies. We study the history and meanings of words people spoke to understand what they did, produced, and valued. We will collect a new set of linguistic data focused on spheres related to the above inquiries for approximately 55 societies across Zambia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mozambique. Our aim is to produce a monograph examining how historically matrilineages underpinned the way communities determined organization, inheritance, and social authority. We leverage our prior individual work in Africa for a comparative trans-regional analysis and expand the geographic and linguistic scope.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African History; Gender Studies

Collaborative Research

Research Programs

$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2016 – 9/30/2019