Ndubueze Leonard Mbah

My research uses oral history, written sources, and emic interpretations of material culture and rituals to explore the impact of changes in gender constructions on the historical processes of socio-political transformation in West Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries.

My dissertation, Emergent Masculinities: The Gendered Struggle for Power in Southeastern Nigeria, 1850-1920, demonstrates how competitive performances of masculinity and political power by Ohafia-Igbo men and women occasioned a dramatic shift from a pre-colonial period characterized by female bread-winners and more powerful and effective female socio-political institutions, to a colonial period of male socio-political domination in southeastern Nigeria.

I have written a book chapter entitled "Matriliny, Masculinity and Contested Gendered Definitions of Ethnic Identity and Power in Southeastern Nigeria" that will appear in Jan Bender Shetler, ed., Gendering Ethnicity in African Women's Lives.

My research and fellowship are further discussed on the Wenner-Gren Foundation website and in an interview I did with the foundation.