Culture in Transit: The Migration of Female Genital Excision to Europe in Euro-African Writing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


While past discussions of female genital excision concentrated on its
incidence in Africa, attention of late has been shifting to the emergence
of the tradition in the African diaspora. This essay examines how four
authors of African descent explore the migration of female genital excision
to Europe. It compares a remarkable passage in the novel Abessijnse
Kronieken (Abyssinian Chronicles) by Moses Isegawa with the autobiographical
writings of two anti-'FGM' (female genital mutilation)
activists, Mutilée by Khady Koita and Desert Children by Waris Dirie,
and with the novel Rebelle by Fatou Keïta. Although these authors share
a critical outlook on the practice, the discursive and narrative strategies
they adopt differ greatly. A close reading of the four texts reveals that
Isegawa fails to contextualize adequately the practice of female genital
excision; this contrasts with his three female colleagues, who do acknowledge
the conventional cultural and religious discourses on female
genital excision yet remain adamant in their abolitionist stance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranscultural Modernities: Narrating Africa in Europe, Matatu: Journal of African Culture and Society
EditorsElisabeth Bekers, Sissy Helff, Daniela Merolla
PublisherAmsterdam/New York: Rodopi
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-90-420-2538-7
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Elisabeth Bekers, Sissy Helff, Daniela Merolla


  • female genital excision
  • Moses Isegawa
  • Fatou Keïta
  • Waris Dirie
  • Khady Koita
  • Abyssinian Chronicles
  • Rebelle
  • Desert Children
  • Mutilée
  • African literature
  • African life writing


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