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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Cruel guards and anxious chiefs: Fang masculinities and State power in the Gabon estuary, 1920-1945
Author:Rich, JeremyISNI
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Geographic term:Gabon
gender roles
colonial period
Abstract:Fang communities in coastal Gabon underwent a series of challenges between 1914 and 1945. World War I greatly weakened the ability of rural Fang people to resist the growing authority of the French administration. French officials appointed chiefs to rule rather than respect older traditions of political authority, restricted access to modern firearms to guards, and banned raiding between villages. These policies, along with the changing economy, placed old strategies of accumulation by Fang men in jeopardy. Oral testimonies by Fang men highlighted the abusive powers of State-appointed chiefs and guards to interfere with married men's control over women. Such stories express the frustrations of Fang men, but neglect to discuss how Fang women might find avenues to obtain autonomy from family members, as well as the success some privileged Fang men had in harnessing the colonial State for their own personal benefit. State chiefs such as Léon Mba and Félicien Endame Ndong each developed new understandings of masculinity that incorporated State patronage, older concerns over the control of women, and the new fears of State power among Fang men. These varied concerns about masculinity show the diverse impact of colonial rule on Fang gender conventions. This article is based on fieldwork conducted in Gabon in 2000 and 2004. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]