'I Would Not Bear My Mother's Name As Surname': Colonial Anthroponomy and Gender Identity in a Former Slave-Trading Society

Prof. Ugo Nwokeji, African American Studies

Click here to play: 

By virtue of being an aspect of language, naming expresses power and social change. From this perspective, systems of surnames in precolonial Africa and their transformation during the colonial period is a narrative of power relations in precolonial Africa on the one hand and between empire and its colonial/postcolonial subjects on the other.

By virtue of being an aspect of language, naming expresses power and social change. From this perspective, systems of surnames in precolonial Africa and their transformation during the colonial period is a narrative of power relations in precolonial Africa on the one hand and between empire and its colonial/postcolonial subjects on the other. The broader issues concern gender relations and identity in precolonial Africa, imperial culture, cultural imperialism, as well as the priorities of social science and its widespread misunderstandings of the manner by which Africans adopt Western ways.