A new book by renowned historian Nwando Achebe traces a history of African women in power.

Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa was published in July by Ohio University Press through its Ohio Short Histories of Africa series designed to provide engaging and informative introductions to important topics in African history.

Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa tells the story of female leadership in its many forms throughout African history. Achebe’s exploration of African history through a feminist perspective gives readers a deeper understanding of gender and power on the continent.

Read an excerpt from the synopsis below:

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Achebe breaks from Western perspectives, research methods, and their consequently incomplete, skewed accounts, to demonstrate the critical importance of distinctly African source materials and world views to any comprehensible African history. This means accounting for the two realities of African cosmology: the physical world of humans and the invisible realm of spiritual gods and forces. That interconnected universe allows biological men and women to become female-gendered males and male-gendered females…Achebe portrays their combined power, influence, and authority in a sweeping, African-centric narrative that leads to an analogous consideration of contemporary African women as heads of state, government officials, religious leaders, and prominent entrepreneurs.

Prof. Achebe is the multi-award-winning author of Farmers, Traders, Warriors, and Kings: Female Power and Authority in Northern Igboland, 1900–1960 (2005) and The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe (2011).

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