Hilary Matfess

Women and the War on Boko Haram

Wives, Weapons, Witnesses

Zed Books 2017

New Books in African StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network December 18, 2017 Jacob Ivey

Today we talked with Hilary Matfess about her new book Women and the War on Boko Haram: Wives, Weapons, Witnesses, just recently published by...

Today we talked with Hilary Matfess about her new book Women and the War on Boko Haram: Wives, Weapons, Witnesses, just recently published by Zed Books in 2017. Drawn from her extensive research and interviews from 2015 to 2017, Matfess’ book attempts to convey the myriad ways in which women have shaped the development and course of the Boko Haram insurgency. She attempts to debunk much of the conventional wisdom surrounding Boko Haram and women, most notably their presentation as victims lacking autonomy, and provides an insightful examination of these women who dominate much of Western perceptions of the African continent. Claiming that violence has been gendered during this conflict, Matfess provides a much needed reexamination of the nature of insurgency and the complexity of gender within Boko Haram.

Hilary Matfess is a research analyst, a PhD student at Yale University in the Political Science Department, and a contributor to the Nigeria Social Violence Project at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.


Jacob Ivey is an Assistant Professor of History at the Florida Institute of Technology. His research centers largely on the British Colony of Natal, South Africa, most notably European and African systems of state control and defence during the colony’s formative period. He tweets @IveyHistorian

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