Ifi Amadiume

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Dr. Ifi Amadiume (born 23 April 1947) is a Nigerian poet, anthropologist and essayist. She joined the Religion Department of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, U.S. in 1993.


Born in Kaduna to Igbo parents, Amadiume was educated in Nigeria before moving to Britain in 1971. She studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, gaining a BA (1978) and PhD (1983) in social anthropology. Her fieldwork in Africa resulted in two ethnographic monographs relating to the Igbo - African Matriarchal Foundations (1987), and the award-winning Male Daughters Female Husbands (Zed Press, 1987). A book of theoretical essays, Reinventing Africa, appeared in 1998.

She is on the advisory board of the Centre for Democracy and Development, a non-governmental organisation that aims to promote the values of democracy, peace and human rights in Africa, particularly in the West African sub-region.

Dr Amadiume is widely regarded for her pioneering work in feminist discourse: "[h]er work has made a tremendous contribution to new ways of thinking about sex and gender, the question of power, and women's place in history and culture".[1] She has nevertheless attracted criticism for her "assumption that [the] female is necessarily equated with peace and love."[2]



  • Passion Waves (Karnak House, 1985)
  • Ecstasy (Longman Nigeria, 1995), Association of Nigerian Authors 1992 Literary Award for Poetry
  • Returning


  • African Matriarchal Foundations: The Igbo Case (Karnak House, 1987) ISBN 978-0-907015-27-7
  • Male Daughters, Female Husbands: Gender and Sex in an African Society (Zed Press, 1987) ISBN 0-86232-595-1. St. Martin’s Press. 1990.
  • Re-inventing Africa: Matriarchy, Religion and Culture (Interlink Publishing Group, 1997) ISBN 1-85649-534-5
  • The Politics of Memory: Truth, Healing, and Social Justice (with Abdullahi A. An-Na’im), London: Zed Books. 2000.
  • Daughters of the Goddess, Daughters of Imperialism: African Women Struggle for Culture, Power and Democracy, London: Zed Books, 2000.


  1. ^ Marie Umeh,'Amadiume, Ifi', in Jane Eldridge Miller (ed.) Who's Who in Contemporary Women's Writing, Routledge (2001)
  2. ^ C.T. Gibb, "Deconstructing African History", The Journal of African History, vol. 40, no. 1, (1999), pp. 166-167.

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