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‘Mesdames, il faut lire!' [‘Ladies, you must read!’]: Material contexts and representational strategies in the first francophone African women’s magazine.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-236
Number of pages24
Issue number2
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Jul 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jan 2017


This article provides the first extended analysis of the earliest francophone African women’s magazine, AWA: La revue de la femme noire, founded in Dakar in 1964 by a network of African women. This material pre-dates what is often seen as the ‘first generation’ of francophone African women writers, harnessing the tropes of glossy magazine culture to test out plural ideas of African femininity. Through this experimentation, and with reference to the practical and symbolic roles of women in post-independence West African nation-states (especially Senegal), AWA casts new light on the contribution of women’s reading matter and ‘popular’ print cultures to the production of African modernity in the early post-colonial world. The magazine fuses the dominant gendered tropes of négritude with 1960s consumer culture, new career aspirations, and the everyday lived experience of women from a range of social backgrounds. By restoring this magazine to the global feminist archive, this article situates AWA: La revue de la femme noire as a long over-looked source for tracing the polemical debates concerning the (un)translatability of feminist thought between the global North and global South, post-independence nationalism, and representations of the female body in African and diasporic cultural production.

Additional information

1 July 2016

    Research areas

  • Senegal, reading, print cultures, magazines, nationalism, popular culture, gender, race, Africa

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    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Liverpool University Press at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 563 KB, PDF document

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