Colonial subjects: race and gender in French West Africa: An annotated translation and presentation of Denise Savineau’s Report on Women and the Family in French West Africa, 1938

Claire H. Griffiths (University of Hull, Hull, UK)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 1 November 2006

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this monograph is to present the first English translation of a unique French colonial report on women living under colonial rule in West Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

The issue begins with a discussion of the contribution this report makes to the history of social development policy in Africa, and how it serves the on‐going critique of colonisation. This is followed by the English translation of the original report held in the National Archives of Senegal. The translation is accompanied by explanatory notes, translator’s comments, a glossary of African and technical terms, and a bibliography.

Findings

The discussion highlights contemporary social development policies and practices which featured in identical or similar forms in French colonial social policy.

Practical implications

As the report demonstrates, access to basic education and improving maternal/infant health care have dominated the social development agenda for women in sub‐Saharan Africa for over a century, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future in the Millennium Development Goals which define the international community’s agenda for social development to 2015. The parallels between colonial and post‐colonial social policies in Africa raise questions about the philosophical and cultural foundations of contemporary social development policy in Africa and the direction policy is following in the 21st century.

Originality/value

Though the discussion adopts a consciously postcolonial perspective, the report that follows presents a consciously colonial view of the “Other”. Given the parallels identified here between contemporary and colonial policy‐making, this can only add to the value of the document in exploring the values that underpin contemporary social development practice.

Keywords

Citation

Griffiths, C.H. (2006), "Colonial subjects: race and gender in French West Africa: An annotated translation and presentation of Denise Savineau’s Report on Women and the Family in French West Africa, 1938", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 26 No. 11/12, pp. 449-594. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330610710278

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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