Title

Dode Akabi: A Reexamination of the Oral and Textual Narrative of a “Wicked” Female King

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 10-1-2015

Publisher

Johns Hopkins University Press

Abstract

This article is a deconstruction of the received oral tradition about Naa Dode Akabi I, a female King of the Ga people in the modern nation of Ghana, West Africa. It offers a critical reexamination of the existing oral and textual narratives of Dode Akabi I, while analyzing gendered inversions in Ga society during Akabi’s leadership of the Ga in the seventeenth century. It furthermore illuminates the evolution of the place of women in Ga civic structure and the rights of succession within an acknowledged patrilineal polity. This article is situated within larger methodological paradigms and the historiography of female leadership in West Africa. In examining the history of Akabi, this work synthesizes several historiographies on Ga and the Atlantic World, and makes an important contribution to African gender and women’s history.

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