Women Palavers: Marriage and Gender Struggles in Colonial Abeokuta, Southwestern Nigeria

Arts 315 and online via Zoom (Hybrid event)
Wednesday 25 October 2023 (13:00-15:00)

This event is organized by the Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA), in collaboration with the Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC). 

Speaker: Morenikeji Asaaju

(Hybrid Event)

Dr Morenikeji Asaaju, Cadbury Postdoctoral Fellow in African Studies, will explore the dynamics of marriage and gender in colonial Southwestern Nigeria. Her talk explores the struggles over ‘‘women palavers’’ as it was waged between generations of Egba citizens, between women and men, and between them and the colonial state. I argue that one of the primary terrains of the contest, the power to conceptualise, codify and administer customary marriage law in the native courts, exacerbated ‘‘women palavers.’’ However, despite the negative connotations associated with ‘‘women palavers,’’ women used the new circumstances to redefine marriage, inserting modifications reflective of women’s choices and preferences, as evidenced through their claims collected from the court records.