Gloria Wekker's dissertation research was entitled "I am a gold Coin", after the proverb working-class Afro-Surinamese women mentioned most often when she asked them to name a proverb that said something meaningful about their own sense of (sexual) self. ‘I am a gold coin/ I pass through many hands/ but I do not lose my value’, speaks to the working-class value system, whereby a woman may have had many – either male or female – partners, but that does not diminish her value, as would be in the case in a middle-class setting. The proverb, like so many others in rich African Surinamese oral culture coined by women themselves, compares working-class women to gold coins that pass from hand to hand, but do not diminish in value.
In her presentation, Gloria Wekker will centrally address the question how enslaved women were able to reconcile two opposed cultural and ideological systems, a Western and a West African system, in the context of which they had to realise their sexual subjecthood.
About the speaker
Gloria Wekker is Emeritus Professor of Gender and Ethnicity at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She specializes in social and cultural anthropology with a focus on gender studies, sexuality studies, African American and Caribbean studies.
Her publications include White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race and The Politics of Passion: Women's Sexual Culture the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora for which she was the winner of the Ruth Benedict prize from the American Anthropological Association in 2007. Dr. Wekker was nominated in 2004 for the Dutch Scientific Council's Triomfprijs (Triumph Prize).
PLEASE NOTE: Access to indoor public events is limited to attendees with a Swiss or European COVID certificate. In addition, face masks must be worn to all in-person events at the Graduate Institute.
This event is organised by the Gender Centre, the Queer International Student Assembly (QISA) and the Latin American Network Initiative.