Prof. Sylvia Tamale Awarded FTGS 2022 Book Prize
On Wednesday 23rd February, 2022, Prof. Sylvia Tamale, School of Law, Makerere University was awarded the Feminist Theory and Gender Section (FTGS) 2022 Book Prize for her book titled “Decolonization and Afro-Feminism” (Daraja Press). Her book was nominated by Dr. Toni Haastrup and Dr. Yolande Bouka.
The FTGS book committee found her book to be outstanding and a significant contribution to the ongoing work, a section on decolonising international relations.
The good news was presented to her by Prof. Roberta Guerrina, Director of the Gender Research Centre, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol. She is also Co-editor of the Journal of Common Market Studies Annual Review and served as Chair of the Feminist Theory and Gender Section ISA (2020-21).
The discussion of the committee is summarised below:
“SYLVIA TAMALE’S DECOLONIZATION AND AFRO-FEMINISM MAKES A COMPELLING CASE FOR UNLEARNING IMPERIAL POWER RELATIONS BY “SHAKINGOFF” THE COLONIAL FILTERS THROUGH WHICH WE VIEW THE WORLD. THIS PROCESS, SHE ARGUES IS A PROCESS OF RELEARNING THAT RE-ENVISIONS PAN AFRICANISM AS A MORE INCLUSIVE DECOLONIZING/DECOLONIAL MOVEMENT THAT EMBRACES AFRO-FEMINIST POLITICS. TAMALE ALSO CHALLENGES THE TRADITIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS PARADIGM AND ITS CONCOMITANT IDEA OF “GENDER EQUALITY,” FLAGGING INSTEAD, THE AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY OF UBUNTU AS A SERIOUS ALTERNATIVE FOR REINVIGORATING AFRICAN NOTIONS OF SOCIAL JUSTICE.
DECOLONISATION AND AFRO-FEMINISM IS OUTSTANDING IN TERMS OF ORIGINALITY, SIGNIFICANCE AND CONTRIBUTION TO THE FTGS MISSION. IT PROVIDES AN IMPORTANT ALTERNATIVE TO THE HIERARCHIES, SO EASILY REPRODUCED BY INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORIES. IT IS A BOK THAT ENCOURAGES US TO THINK BEYOND BINARIES TO IMAGINE A DIFFERENT FUTURE IN WHICH THE ORIENTALIST WESTERN GAZE IS REPLACED BY A DEEP SENSE OF OWNERSHIP FOR A RADICAL FUTURE. AS TAMALE POINTS OUT IN THE INTRODUCTION, THIS BOOK IS “MY HUMBLE CONTRIBUTION IN THE EFFORTS TO CONSTRUCT A COUNTER-HEGEMONIC FEMINIST NARRATIVE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. IT IS PART OF THE NARRATIVE THAT DOES NOT SIMPLY COMMIT TO THE STRUGGLE FOR DECOLONIALIZATION, BUT ALSO RECOGNIZES THE DYNAMICS OF GENDER WITHIN THE STRUGGLE FOR NEW WAYS OF BEING” (TAMALE, 2020: 10). IT IS A BOOK ABOUT HOPE, TRANSFORMATION, INCLUSION AND PARTICIPATION IN A MOVEMENT ROOTED IN THE ETHICS OF AFRO-FEMINISM.
THIS BOOK STANDS OUT IN A FIELD IN WHICH GREAT WORK WAS PUBLISHED IN THE LAST TWO YEARS FOR ITS COMMITMENT TO TRANSFORMATION AND CREATING A NEW VISION THAT TRANSCENDS THE LEGACY OF COLONIALISM AND NEO-LIBERALISM. THE ANALYSIS IS THEORETICALLY SOPHISTICATED AND EMPIRICALLY RICH, PROVIDING AMPLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENGAGEMENT FOR ALL READERS”.