JACQUELINE-BETHEL MOUGOUÉ is an interdisciplinary feminist scholar of Africa who is particularly interested in how constructions of gender inform the comportment and performances of the body, religious beliefs, and political ideologies 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 the University of Michigan Press in 2019. Using oral interviews and archival records, such as Cameroon’s first cookbook, advice columns and the first novel published by an Anglophone Cameroonian woman, 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 project a suitable Anglophone Cameroonian persona locally, nationally, and internationally. Through varied embodied and emotional practices, English-speaking Cameroonian women visualized and imagined, as Benedict Anderson puts it, an Anglophone Cameroonian “nation.” 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. Click here for more detailed descriptions of the first book and second book project.
Mougoué’s scholarly articles have appeared in Gender & History, Journal of West African History, Feminist Africa, and Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism. She has a forthcoming article in African Studies Review. In addition, one chapter she wrote appeared in the peer-reviewed volume Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History, and another, on gender, leisure, and sports in Cameroon, will soon appear in the refereed edited text, 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). Her next plenary talk will be at the State University College at Buffalo. 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, the 1950s.
Professional photo by Alicia Donovan