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The Words of Ina Beasley: Glimpses from a Life in British Sudan

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This essay presents a woman whose ideas not only signifies a challenge to conventional approaches to the relationship between colonialism and feminism, but also enables us to appreciate the intricacies and diversities of colonial experiences and the multiple roles played by individuals who wielded some level of authority in a colonised society. Since this essay is a tribute to Ina Beasley, it reproduces substantial excerpts from her papers on the subjects that engaged her most deeply during her Sudan service. Her writings shed new light on the social history of human rights during the Condominium, which matters both to scholars and to concerned citizens. In recognition of Ina Beasley, who devoted her life to improving the lives of women and children in a society rife with hardship and discriminatory practices, the essay addresses her work on education and its relevance to eradicating female circumcision that was universally practiced at the time. The essay begins with a brief discussion of Sudanese politics at the time of her arrival and then examines her work as educator who managed to craft several influential programs to empower women and girls. The rest of the paper focuses on her reproductive health advocacy as exemplified in a formidable body of work that articulated her activities and approaches to social rights.

Affiliations: 1: Georgetown University in Qatar, Email:


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