Gender Time, Gendered Time: In Parts of Africa

David Schoenbrun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the long term, Africans socially constructed time and gender through struggle and invention, the stuff of history. But to get at this broad salience we must toggle between scales of region and period, among different kinds of evidence, and among themes such as agriculture, statecraft, and political economy. The story of time and gender told here moves from a dis-tant past into the present, with a focus on the people of an East African inland sea commonly referred to as ‘Lake Victoria’. It takes up African language vocabulary, then oral texts, then social practice. The ideas, aspirations, and struggles of Africans drive each step in the journey. They limit the effects of Global North academic ideas about gender and time in Africa’s past and present, revealing new facets of both categories. David Schoenbrun has granted NJAS permission to print a revised version of his keynote lec-ture, given at the International Workshop on “Rethinking Time and Gender in African History” (Ghent University, March 24–25, 2022), as part of this special issue of NJAS. This contribution has not been peer-reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-184
Number of pages20
JournalNordic Journal of African Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023


  • Bantu languages
  • gender
  • oral textuality
  • sex
  • time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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