Women's Voices in a Man's World: Women and the Pastoral Tradition in Northern Somali Orature, C. 1899-1980 (Studies in African Literature)
Two questions dominate this ethnographic, literary, and historical study of Somali society through its orature. First, in what ways do Somali oral texts provide information about women and gender relations in Somalisociety? Second, how do these oral texts present the concepts of "tradition" and an authentic cultural heritage and identity, particularly as these concepts affect women and gender relations? In seeking to answer these questions, Kapteijns has gathered a considerable number of Somali oral texts and popular songs. The firstpart of the book focuses on the texts from the colonial period and develops a critical ethnography of women and gender relations while the second part considers contemporary love songs as important cultural sites for debate about women and "tradition." Kapteijns' book will enlighten readers unfamiliar with the wit and spirit of Somali culture. Somali readers will find the book essential for critically engaging the received notions of their past and traditions.