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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Patriarchy, spirituality, and power: an examination of gender division in Asante history in the former Gold Coast during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade era
Author:Cleveland, Emma Kathryn
Year:2015
Periodical:African and Asian Studies (ISSN 1569-2094)
Volume:14
Issue:3
Pages:210-225
Language:English
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:Akan
women
leadership
social status
masculinity
Link:https://doi.org/10.1163/15692108-12341341
Abstract:The reorganization of Akan society in the early 1300's-1400, the subsequent formation of Asante in 1701, and the introduction of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the former Gold Coast created new social, economic, and political conditions which initiated a change in the status, mobility, and role of women. Societal restrictions were placed upon female title-holders through language and spiritual taboos which prohibited them from sacred spaces and shrines. Akan cosmology and spirituality were monopolized as a tool for the acquisition of authority. A desire for the accumulation of wealth and power reconceptualised masculine identities as military victories began to be associated with manliness and honor. Patriarchal systems of governance were later established, specifically the institutions of chieftaincy and kingship, which were key contributors to the deterioration of political positions for females, for example, the Queen Mother. As the dominant political organizations, these institutions have seemingly functioned to shape the experiences of Ghanaian women throughout the history of Asante. This paper argues that the significance of women in the realm of politics and cultural affairs in Akan society were effectively lessened as a result of patriarchy, the manipulation of spirituality, and the influence of militaristic ideals. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]
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