Drown the Female Child and Bring Home the Male: Interrogating Gender Tensions in Igbo Folklore


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Faculty of Arts


This project seeks to interrogate variegated gender representations, gender identities and ascribed gender roles in Igbo folktales with a view to arguing that oral tradition as a miniaturized depository of wisdom and knowledge for a people without an established literary tradition, may have laid the foundation for the existence and sustenance of lopsided gender relations in the society. Although many of the folktales have gender definitive contents, no critical study has investigated gender relations in these tales. A few of the tales have been documented by ethnographers and creative writers while a large number of the tales are still in their oral forms. Using the qualitative methods of field and library research, the work will advance beyond the anthropological, cultural and sociological study of folktales to critically analyze gender relations among the characters in the tales and identify characteristics, classifications and interactions that promote gender inequality.