JACQUELINE-BETHEL MOUGOUÉ is an interdisciplinary feminist scholar who is particularly interested in the gendering of identities in state politics, body politics, and religious politics in Cameroon. Currently, she is an assistant professor of history at Baylor University. Her first book, Gender, Separatist Politics and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon is forthcoming with University of Michigan Press in 2019. Using oral interviews and archival records, such as Cameroon’s first cooking book and women’s advice columns, the book examines issues related to cookery, gossiping, sagacious female politicians, “sluggish” women who fail to attend the meetings of women’s organizations, and unruly housewives known as “women extremists,” to illuminate how issues of ideal womanhood shaped the Anglophone Cameroonian nationalist movement in the first decade of independence. The book uses the concept of embodied nationalism to illustrate how political elites and formally educated urbanites implied that women’s everyday patterns of behavior and comportment—the clothes that women wore, the foods they cooked, their abstention from gossip, and their adherence to appropriate marital behavior in public spaces—might make a suitable Anglophone Cameroonian persona physically conspicuous on the local, national, and international stage. By drawing upon history, political science, gender studies, and feminist epistemologies, Mougoué demonstrates how preserving conservative ideal Anglophone womanhood, cultural values, and political identity came to be seen as the lynchpin of Anglophone unity in English-speaking towns in Cameroon during the 1960s and early 1970s. Mougoué is currently finalizing research on her second book on the history of the Bahá’í Faith and masculine identities in English-Speaking Cameroon from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Mougoué’s scholarly articles have appeared in Gender & History, Journal of West African History, and Feminist Africa. She has forthcoming articles in Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism and African Studies Review. In addition, she has a forthcoming chapter on gender, leisure, and sports in Cameroon in Everyday Life on the African Continent: Fun, Leisure, and Expressivity (Ohio University Press). Mougoué is also a guest editor for a forthcoming topical forum, or “issue,” in African Studies Review (“Bodily Practices and Aesthetic Rituals in 20th Century Africa”). Her research has also appeared in academic blogs including African Studies Association News and Africa is a Country.
Mougoué has been a visiting scholar at the University of Buea (Cameroon) and a fellow at Northwestern University (United States). Currently, Mougoué is Co-Convenor of African Studies Association (ASA) Women’s Caucus, Advisory Member of ASA North American Scholars on Cameroon Association, Conference Liaison for Coordinating Council for Women in History (CCWH) and a member of the CCWH Mentorship Program Committee. Please click here for a CCWH brochure.
Mougoué has been invited to share her research at various academic institutions including Yale University (United States), Northwestern University (United States), Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University (Morocco), University of Leuven (Belgium), and Paris Diderot University (France). See the following for additional information on upcoming/past plenary talks.
Mougoué received her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Purdue University. She holds an additional degree from Purdue, a Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS) from the WGSS Program. Mougoué’s hobbies include long-distance running (her favorite runs were on Mount Cameroon and in Hawaii, the big island), traveling, photography, painting, and writing poetry and short stories.
Main website image: Women in the British Southern Cameroons wearing the Kamerun National Congress (KNC) cloth, 1950s.
Professional photo by Alicia Donovan