Afrika Kolloquium: Tara me pacu-gi (the beacons of their households)

15.11.2022 17:15

A talk with Joe Abell, doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham

Chair: Daniela Waldburger, Rémi Tchokothe

Groups of young women from a village near Lira in Northern Uganda were involved in an HIV prevention which was based around a training program. This program, on paper, stressed increased agency through assertiveness. However, the women reported that the project had taught them how to ‘woro cwari’ (respect your husband) which seemed the opposite of the project’s intention. Through four case studies which focus on four different women, I want to examine the attitudes held by these women to ‘woro’ and to marriage and relationships with men more generally. I will then argue that despite appearances this project did in fact give these women a sense of their own agency - by means of a shift in perspective which revealed to them their central role in keeping the institution of marriage alive, an institution at the heart of a particular way of life.

Joe Abell first got interested in Africa after spending two years in Northern Cameroon teaching English. A few years later he did an MA in World History and looked at responses to HIV in Kenya for his thesis. A while later still, after a six month stay in Ethiopia that didn’t go quite to plan, he started his PhD. He ended up living in northern Uganda for a little over two years and his research focus drifted from HIV prevention to relationships and marriage. He is now a doctoral researcher at the Department of African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Birmingham.

Tuesday, 15. November 2022, 5:15pm
Department of African Studies - Seminar room 1

University Campus, Court 5.1.,  Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Vienna,