“An original, significant contribution to the field of African history, Zimmerman’s thoroughly researched and insightful study on French colonial marital traditions discusses how the conjugal relationships between West African tirailleurs sénégalais soldiers and local women over Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia—and their resulting mixed-race children—represented a challenge to the French colonial racial hierarchy”
Tim Stapleton, author of Africa: War and Conflict in the Twentieth Century
“Militarizing Marriage’s focus on African soldiers’ conjugal unions, households, and trans-imperial sexual relationships adds exciting new dimensions to the historiography of colonial militaries and their roles in imperial conquest, occupation, as well as in the world wars.”
Michelle R. Moyd, author of Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa
Sarah J. Zimmerman is associate professor in the History Department at Western Washington University. Her research focuses on the experiences of women and the operation of gender in West Africa and French Empire. She has published articles in the International Journal of African Historical Studies and Les Temps modernes. More info →
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The askari, African soldiers recruited in the 1890s to fill the ranks of the German East African colonial army, occupy a unique space at the intersection of East African history, German colonial history, and military history.Lauded by Germans for their loyalty during the East Africa campaign of World War I, but reviled by Tanzanians for the violence they committed during the making of the colonial state between 1890 and 1918, the askari have been poorly understood as historical agents.
Conjugal Rights is a history of the role of marriage and other arrangements between men and women in Libreville, Gabon, during the French colonial era, from the mid–nineteenth century through 1960. Conventional historiography has depicted women as few in number and of limited influence in African colonial towns, but this book demonstrates that a sexual economy of emotional, social, legal, and physical relationships between men and women indelibly shaped urban life.Bridewealth
In Idi Amin’s Shadow is a rich social history examining Ugandan women’s complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship to Amin’s military state. Based on more than one hundred interviews with women who survived the regime, as well as a wide range of primary sources, this book reveals how the violence of Amin’s militarism resulted in both opportunities and challenges for women.
States of Marriage shows how throughout the colonial period in French Sudan (present-day Mali) the institution of marriage played a central role in how the empire defined its colonial subjects as gendered persons with certain attendant rights and privileges. The book is a modern history of the ideological debates surrounding the meaning of marriage, as well as the associated legal and sociopolitical practices in colonial and postcolonial Mali.
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