History, Department of


Date of this Version

April 2008


Paper presented at the 3rd Annual James A. Rawley Conference in the Humanities — Imagining Communities: People, Places, Meanings. Lincoln, Nebraska, April 12, 2008. Sponsored by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln History Graduate Students’ Association. Copyright © 2008 Julie Iromuanya.


My paper examines the feminist poetics of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s methodology of protest. Utilizing a gendered pathos, Saro-Wiwa evoked the female body as a metaphor, signaling a connection between the colonization of the land, indigenous peoples, and women in his speech. In the organization of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), he also utilized traditional West African systems that valued a complementary Africana womanist vision of community. In addition, the demonstration he is most remembered for is distinctly patterned after traditional West African female methods of protest. During the 1990’s, already as an established writer, Saro-Wiwa honed his gift with script to create a powerful, resonating call to action for Ogoni residents who were victims of a new form of imperialism in the name of oil in the Niger Delta region. His methods inspired worldwide human rights and environmental activism.

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