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The role of culture in women's anti-colonial struggles

'Four Women' Project

The Four Women project is led by Dr Joanna Allan and funded by 2022 Philip Leverhulme Prize awarded by the Leverhulme Trust. The project will produce a four-part, book-length biography of four women that have spent their lives attempting to shape international civilian responses to the Western Sahara conflict through cultural (and) activist means. It involves interviewing the protagonists, their relatives and friends as well as the use of Cultural Studies methodologies: analysing the protagonists’ texts, including song lyrics, memoirs, short stories.

There is increasing research on how women have participated in nonviolent resistance movements against colonialism, occupation and war. Research has highlighted how and why women become involved in nonviolent resistance movements (Beckwith 2002), how women’s participation changes the dynamics of such movements (Berry 2019), and women’s lived experiences of participation in such movements (Mason 2005, Allan 2019). However, we know little about how such cultural activists attempt to change the ‘hearts and minds’ of the (former) colonialists/occupiers/’enemy’ in such cases.

The Four Women project is therefore an important tool for theorising culture’s role in nonviolent movements globally as well as for addressing gaps in diverse fields including African women’s histories, Resistance Studies, Afro-Hispanic Studies and North African Studies.

You can read more about the research award here and watch this space for further updates in the project. 


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