Domestic Violence and the Law in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa reveals the ways in which domestic space and domestic relationships take on different meanings in African contexts that extend the boundaries of family obligation, kinship, and dependency. The term domestic violence encompasses kin-based violence, marriage-based violence, gender-based violence, as well as violence between patrons and clients who shared the same domestic space. As a lived experience and as a social and historical unit of analysis, domestic violence in colonial and postcolonial Africa is complex. Using evidence drawn from Subsaharan Africa, the chapters explore the range of domestic violence in Africa\u2019s colonial past and its present, including taxation and the insertion of the household into the broader structure of colonial domination. African histories of domestic violence demand that scholars and activists refine the terms and analyses and pay attention to the historical legacies of contemporary problems. This collection brings into conversation historical, anthropological, legal, and activist perspectives on domestic violence in Africa and fosters a deeper understanding of the problem of domestic violence, the limits of international human rights conventions, and local and regional efforts to address the issue.
Emily S. Burrill is an assistant professor of women's studies and history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her articles have appeared in Slavery and Abolition, Cahiers d'Etudes Africaines, and Ultramarines: Revue de l'association des amis des archives d'outre-mer.