n Gender Questions - The growth of gender research in South Africa and southern theory  - research

Volume 4 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2309-9704



The late twentieth century saw a steep rise in published works on gender in South Africa. This article is based on a quantitative analysis of the production of gender research. The theoretical backdrop is current interest in Southern theory, theory produced to analyse and challenge existing global knowledge inequalities. As a domain of research, South African gender writings draw both on global feminist impulses as well as national and local ones. In this paper we identify the trajectory of gender research in South Africa and consider the genealogy of its feminist writing. We show how the focus of gender was sometimes divided on grounds of race, but often was united by opposition to patriarchy which took forms of activist scholarship. We focus on a number of themes to show how feminist scholarship developed out of engagements with questions of inequality, race, class and gender. While gender research featured powerful engagement with local, South African issues which serve to give this body of work its cohesion, it also manifested divisions that reflected the very inequalities being researched.

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