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A Reflexive Inquiry into Gender Research

Towards a New Paradigm of Knowledge Production & Exploring New Frontiers of Gender Research in Southern Africa

Editor(s): Samantha Van Schalkwyk
Contributors: Savannah Russo, Samantha van Schalkwyk, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Mbuyiselo Botha, Kopano Ratele, Jennifer Githaiga,

Book Description

Questions that concern gender and violence against women have been placed firmly on the agenda of interdisciplinary research within the humanities in recent years. Gender-based violence against women has increased exponentially in South Africa and in other countries on the African continent, particularly those with a history of political conflict. Researchers who explore such gender issues have paid limited attention to the intersection between the social contexts of the researched, the positionality of the researcher and the research product. This book brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars and scholar-activists to explore new terrains of knowledge production, interrogating the connection between the intellectual project of this kind of research and the process of its production. Some chapters draw on theoretical insights and provide new ways of thinking about the kinds of questions that should be asked when conducting research in the field of gender. Other authors grapple with an acknowledgement of their multiple social positions in the world, the ways in which they experience these ever-shifting boundaries, and how this influences their theoretical and practical work. Some contributions go further, discussing the ways in which the researcher and the researched influence each other, and the link between feminist research and social change. These chapters contribute to an understanding of how social movement activism can be developed. Overall, this book represents an important combination of scholarly insights, and provides multiple reflections about practical aspects of conducting gender research in the African context. The work of the contributors to the volume is situated within a post-structural feminist agenda, and, collectively, the chapters link scholarship and activism in a way that pursues a social change agenda in research on gender and gender-based violence.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-8514-0
ISBN-10: 1-4438-8514-2
Date of Publication: 01/12/2015
Pages / Size: 250 / A5
Price: £47.99


Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is Senior Research Professor in Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation at the University of the Free State. Her research is concerned with the question of transformation in the aftermath of mass trauma and violence. Her publications include A Human Being Died that Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness, which won the Alan Paton Award in South Africa, and the Christopher Award in the United States; Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma, as co-author; and Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past, as co-editor.

Samantha van Schalkwyk is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Trauma Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State. Her research interests include gender violence and identity, community-based research methodologies, and the psychosocial aspects of women’s agency within the African socio-spatial landscape. She is currently leading a major study on Gender Reconciliation at the University of the Free State. A collaboration with Gender Reconciliation International, the project explores the relational transformation of gender identities in the context of a series of workshops. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed international journals, including Feminism and Psychology.