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African Women Scientists and the Politics of Location: The Case of Four Sierra Leonean Women Scientists

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image of African and Asian Studies
For more content, see Journal of Asian and African Studies.

This paper examines the attempts of four Sierra Leonean women scientists to restructure their lives and professional careers in the wake of changing political and economic conditions in their nation state. I show how their emotional affinities to their country of origin are still strong and influence their scientific practices and commitments to their country of origin. I argue that as transnational migrants, their experiences are shaped by the intersection of inequalities of gender, race, and nation and changing economic, social, and political processes in their countries of origin and destination. These conditions may constrain but also enable them to compete, challenge, and negotiate new spheres of lived experience. The analysis is framed around discourses on the brain drain, the concept of transnationalism, and feminist research on gender and migration. The study is based on semi-structured interviews, using narratives to illustrate the lived experiences and perspectives of the study participants. Issues addressed include (1) factors leading to migration, (2) experiences of race, gender, and nationality, (3) ways of practicing science, (4) navigation of emotional commitments to country of origin.

Affiliations: 1: Women's Studies Center, Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, Florida 33431, USA


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