The Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies in cooperation with her partners organises the DOING GENDER Lecture Series. These lectures stress the importance of doing gender work combined with an active involvement in the practice of gender theory and research. The concept of DOING GENDER supports a hands-on approach to gender issues in the sense of social and political engagement with the new forms of gender inequalities that are taking shape in the world today. The lecture series wants to give space to the new generations of gender theorists and practitioners and to perspectives that innovate the field and do gender in new ways. Key is the notion of doing gender: what is the state of the art definition of gender? How do contemporary scholars and activists utilise this definition?

On Friday January 14, 2022 Assistant Prof. Amah Edoh (MIT) will give the Doing Gender Lecture Of grandmothers, “Mama” Benzes, and Afropolitans: Black women and African becoming on Dutch Wax cloth’s trail 

Lecture: Of grandmothers, “Mama” Benzes, and Afropolitans: Black women and African becoming on Dutch Wax cloth’s trail 
Wax cloth was introduced to West African markets by European traders in the late 19th-early 20th c. The textile has since become a key feature of West African landscapes, where it adorns bodies in a variety of forms. Originally produced in Europe (based on Javanese batik printing techniques), the cloth is today commonly known as “African print,” and has become a marker of West African (and African, more broadly) cultural identity. Dutch Wax cloth, in particular, which is manufactured by the Helmond-based company Vlisco, holds exceptional value across West and Central Africa. In this talk, based on multi-sited ethnographic research I conducted between The Netherlands and Togo, I discuss the negotiation of the category “African” that unfolded as Vlisco sought to rebrand itself from a manufacturer of textiles for Africa into a global luxury design and fashion brand a few years ago. At stake in this negotiation was/is the articulation of Africa’s place in the world. And all along the cloth’s trajectory, this process, I argue, played out on and through Black African women’s bodies.

Amah Edoh is a cultural anthropologist whose research centers on African being in the world: the construction, meanings, and negotiations of “African-ness” on the continent, in its diasporas, and across the two. Amah is particularly interested in how these processes unfold through commodities and creative production, and in the forms of political mobilization that they engender. The questions her work engages are informed in important ways by her lived experiences in the US, Europe, and West and Southern Africa as a dual Togolese and American citizen. Committed to a cross-disciplinary approach that bridges scholarship and practice for social change, Amah co-founded and co-directs the African Futures Action Lab at MIT. She holds a PhD from the Program in History, Anthropology, and STS, also at MIT, where she is currently the Homer A. Burnell Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African Studies.

Details lecture:

Doing Gender Lecture Assistant Prof. Amah Edoh
Friday January 14, 2022

Lecture: Of grandmothers, “Mama” Benzes, and Afropolitans: Black women and African becoming on Dutch Wax cloth’s trail
Time: 16.00-17.30 hrs.
Location: the lecture will take place online via MS Teams. This is the link.
Chair: Dr. Jamila Mascat