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Between Rites and RightsExcision in Women's Experiential Texts and Human Contexts$
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Chantal Zabus

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804756877

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804756877.001.0001

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Kenyan Women's Texts

Kenyan Women's Texts

Njau, Likimani, Waciuma

(p.59) Three Kenyan Women's Texts
Between Rites and Rights
Stanford University Press

Kenyan women's experiences of excision had been mediated via cultural anthropology, the anthropological novel, and male third-person narratives. The Kenyan female body seems to inform key texts not only in literature but in both African anthropology and European psychoanalysis. This chapter explores how the Kenyan female excised body functioned discursively before Kenya's women writers began to write about excision (and the lack thereof) and therefore about their own self-representation. It focuses on three Kenyan women who thought it wise to revive the issue of excision for their own ends: Rebeka Njau, Muthoni Likimani, and Charity Waciuma. All three women offer accounts of the threat of excision and document the ostracism experienced as a result of being unexcised as well as steps taken to protect girls from impending excision.

Keywords:   Kenya, excision, women writers, Rebeka Njau, Muthoni Likimani, Charity Waciuma, cultural anthropology, psychoanalysis, ostracism, female body

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