Despite a century of efforts to bring about gender justice, women and girls continue to occupy highly disadvantaged positions. It remains a vexing quandary in the twenty-first century that African girls hold less power, wealth, and voice in the public sphere than almost any group globally. Girlhood studies are a critical means to counter the historical tendency for feminist scholarship to center adult women and ignore or marginalize girls. As a result, girlhoods generally remain under researched and under theorized. 

 Likewise, racialized inequalities are a confounding problem that has persisted for five centuries globally. The intersections of gender and race, along with other identities, in the lives of Black girls in Africa and its diaspora have garnered a flurry of recent interest.  However, within girlhood studies the focus is primarily on the Global North and white girls’ lives, and as such, girls who are not white, and those who live in the Global South remain largely understudied. African girls’ voices remain particularly marginal and almost absent in girlhood studies. When African girlhoods are studied at all, often it is their vulnerability (to poverty, violence, disease, etc.) and seldom their agency and resilience that is researched or reported on. There are a few notable exceptions to this, such as the path breaking work of Relebohile Molestane, Claudia Mitchell, Ann Smith, and Linda Chisholm (2008) which focused on South African girlhoods and highlighted the need to attend to the methodologies for research with girls, about girls and for girls. Additionally, the research of girlhoods by Corrie Decker (2010), Abosede George (2014), Sadiyya Haffejee (2019), Jen Katshunga (2019), and Heather Switzer (2018) reflect a range of approaches to and expansion of African girlhoods beyond a hyper focus on their precarity.

 Establishing a sustained exchange of ideas and a robust body of scholarship in African Girlhood Studies is critical to bring about meaningful debate and enact change. This CFP aims to bring together a diverse group of scholars in humanities, arts, social sciences, and sciences to contribute chapters to this edited volume that will critically analyze and creatively present the experiences and agency of girls from youth to early adulthood.

This edited collection is focused on adolescent girls in Africa - specifically how girls agency informs our understandings of girlhood and how colonial and post-colonial interventions have shaped and re-defined African girlhood through pseudo-scientific developmental models that were introduced on the continent via missionary education systems and continue today. We seek work that to that only looks at girls’ precarity and vulnerability rather than on their 

 Contributors to this edited collection will address the need to theorize girlhoods across the vast geographies of post-independent, neo-colonial Africa in which girlhoods have been constructed and deployed as the justification for development and anti-poverty alleviation programs.

  Authors are invited to examine embodied, political, and conceptual decolonizing transgressions put forth for and by girls and youth of all genders living in Africa. The following questions, among others, may be addressed:


·  What voice and influence have African girls had on policy or programs and to what extent have girls been mere targets and objects of such policies and programs?

·  What kinds of adaptive regimes, practices and policies do African states deploy and how do these have an impact on girls and shape girls’ relationships with issues of subject formation, nationhood, violence, justice, and solidarity?

·  How do colonial politics of deservedness and biopolitics function to position African girls as targets for state violence?

·  How can we problematize the very category of girl as a deeply colonial, heteropatriarchal construct?

·  What does disrupting the white, able, heteronormative categories of girlhood mean for analyses of girlhood and for queer, trans, and gender-fluid lives?

·  What creative, grassroots, decolonizing, resurgent strategies are taken up by young people living in African countries?


This edited collection welcomes applied, methodological, and theoretical approaches that work to transgress neoliberal logics and that support justice and decolonization. Authors are invited to engage with discussions about girls and young people’s various engagements with policy, justice, allyship, solidarity, collectivity, resistance, love, land, and decolonial resurgence. 


These can take the form of academic papers as well as creative pieces including multi-media, poetry, stories, artwork, and so on.  We especially welcome contributions authored by young people.


Collection Editors:

Dr. Catherine Cymone Fourshey - Associate Professor, History and International Relations, Bucknell University (

Dr. Marla Jaksch - Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, The College of New Jersey (

Dr. Relebohile Moletsane - Professor, John Langalibalele Dube Chair in Rural Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal (


Article Submission:

Please direct inquiries to the collection editors, listed above.


Proposals are due by November 23, 2020

Proposals should include brief biographical details (100 words), and a 500-600 word page proposal/abstract.


Notifications of acceptance will be sent on January 8, 2021


Accepted Manuscripts are due by July 15, 2021

Authors should provide a cover page giving brief biographical details (up to 100 words), institutional affiliation(s) and full contact information, including an email address. Articles may be no longer than 6,500 words including the abstract (up to 150 words), keywords (6 to 8 in alphabetical order), notes, captions and tables, acknowledgements (if any), biographical details (taken from the cover page), and references. 



Máiréad Dunne

Professor of the Sociology of Education


Centre for International Education

School of Education and Social Work

University of Sussex

Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QQ UK


Tel:         +44 (0)1273 677401

Mob:     +44 (0)7747 466292


web site: