We are pleased to announce that Abosede George is the recipient of this year’s Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize. Dr. George’s book Making Modern Girls: A History of Girlhood, Labor and Social Development in Colonial Lagos is published in Ohio University Press’s New African Series. In Making Modern Girls, Dr. George examines how European and African forces in colonial Lagos constructed girlhood in relation to girls’ lives and labor, with the girl hawker as the work’s primary focus. Innovatively intertwining accounts of elite Lagos women (mostly Yoruba), British welfare officials, and girl hawkers, Dr. George shows how girlhood was instrumentalized for different and often contradictory political purposes, namely, racialized colonial development objectives, on the one hand, and local and elitist nationalist purposes, on the other. Her work calls for scholars to re-think and reimagine how girlhood has been central to colonialist and nationalist projects. Her idea of the “salvationist gaze” suggests ways for re-viewing how the figure of the “poor African child” continues to be instrumentalized locally and internationally in ways that ignore the agency and exigencies of lives structurally impoverished.
Please join us as we present Dr. Abosede George, an Associate Professor at Barnard College, with the award at the Women’s Caucus Luncheon on Saturday, November 21st at the annual African Studies Association conference in San Diego. We are excited to recognize this important publication and hope many of you will attend to help us celebrate her work.
We would also like to recognize the work of Jennie E. Burnet, Associate Professor at Georgia State University. Dr. Burnet’s book, Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory and Silence in Rwanda, published by the University of Wisconsin Press was selected by the Aidoo-Snyder committee for Honorable Mention. Genocide Lives in Us is an exceptionally well written and moving account of how the colonial making of “Hutu” and “Tutsi” and the 1994 genocide that followed were played out through the lives and bodies of Rwandan women. Based on more than a decade of ethnographic work, Dr. Burnet’s work is instructional, showing the ability of the intersubjective to heal, whether this be between Dr. Burnet and the women with whom she worked or between genocide survivors, including perpetrators. Most importantly, perhaps, Dr. Burnet shows how silence and memory are equally part of navigating the painful process of dealing with genocide’s aftermath: that revealing is not necessarily healing. Instead, healing happens through painful lives and stories being held and heard, holding likewise involving women’s decision to deal with their experiences on their own terms.
Congratulations to both of these women for their important work!