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EIHS Lecture: Speak Politely to the Ancestors: Gender and Moral Community in Southeastern Africa's Second Millennium CE

Raevin Jimenez (University of Michigan)
Thursday, March 16, 2023
4:00-6:00 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
In the ninth-century South African Highveld, Nguni-speakers lost their ancestors. They would spend nearly a millennium seeking new ones and appeasing them by teaching young men and women to speak and act with modesty. As they did, Nguni-speakers crafted an evolving politics of gender in which the ability to behave politely brought social connections and economic opportunities. Against European and African accounts that reduce modesty to a lever for women’s oppression, this talk asks what happens to our understanding of power and alterity when men and women perform gender in the same way, and when some cannot perform gender at all.

Raevin Jimenez is an assistant professor of history at the University of Michigan. Professor Jimenez specializes in the interdisciplinary study of Africa’s distant past with an emphasis on language, orality, and materiality. Her current work traces the role of gender as concept and practice across the precolonial history of South Africa.

This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: History
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Department of History

The Thursday Series is the core of the institute's scholarly program, hosting distinguished guests who examine methodological, analytical, and theoretical issues in the field of history. 

The Friday Series consists mostly of panel-style workshops highlighting U-M graduate students. On occasion, events may include lectures, seminars, or other programs presented by visiting scholars.

The insitute also hosts other historical programming, including lectures, film screenings, author appearances, and similar events aimed at a broader public audience.