n African Journal of Rhetoric - Decolonising the transnational archive : re/writing rhetorical histories of how African women (can) govern

Volume 9 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


Transnational media and scholarship from the past two decades have remarked on the uneven local response to women’s rights as a global movement, and especially on the difficulty of women leaders to retain their leadership status in African democracies.1 This essay argues that the problem of retention is partly archival, attributed to a public memory that does not (or cannot) historically and rhetorically accommodate African women leaders of democratic states in as nuanced a fashion as their leadership requires. More specifically, this essay suggests irony as a critical framework for deconstructing the transnational archive as discourse, revealing its multiple influences and agents. Examining archives somewhat apart from postcolonial membership or belonging, allows rhetorical historians to recognise the multiple locations and dispersions of African women’s liminalities, and to discover the range of their political positioning beyond that of ‘insider’ or ‘outsider.’

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