Hadija's Story

Hadija's Story : Diaspora, Gender, and Belonging in the Cameroon Grassfields

By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day
When will my order arrive?


In 1952, a woman named Hadija was brought to trial in an Islamic courtroom in the Cameroon Grassfields on a charge of bigamy. Quickly, however, the court proceedings turned to the question of whether she had been the wife or the slave-concubine of her deceased husband. In tandem with other court cases of the day, Harmony O'Rourke illuminates a set of contestations in which marriage, slavery, morality, memory, inheritance, status, and identity were at stake for Muslim Hausa migrants, especially women. As she tells Hadija's story, O'Rourke disrupts dominant patriarchal and colonial narratives that have emphasized male activities and projects to assert cultural distinctiveness, and she brings forward a new set of women's issues involving concerns for personal prosperity, the continuation of generations, and Islamic religious expectations in communities separated by long distances.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 16mm | 535g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 14 b&w illus.
  • 0253023750
  • 9780253023759

Table of contents

Part I
1. "Worthy Subjects"
2. "People of the North"
Part II
3. Slave or Daughter?
4. First Reversal: Marriage and Enslavement
5. Second Reversal: Death and Survival
6. Third Reversal: Conflict and Judgment
show more

Review quote

"An excellent example of how legal cases may be employed to provide evidence of the complicated contradictions of dominant social ideologies, in this case about gender relations in Hausa Grassfields society. An original and important contribution." -Elisha P. Renne, author of Population and Progress in a Yoruba Town "Steers the conversation on Hausa diaspora experiences and Hausa politics of belonging and identity toward recognition of the importance of gender and its expressions in contestations over marriage, morality, and belonging." -Moses E. Ochonu, author of Colonialism by Proxy
show more

About Harmony O'rourke

Harmony O'Rourke is Assistant Professor of History at Pitzer College.
show more