Abstract for FEMRITE 2016: The Interface between Writing and Feminism
Adichie in Sweden. African Women Writers, Social media and Cosmopolitan Feminism
Paula Uimonen, Associate Professor
Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, Sweden
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies’s book We should all be feminists (2014) has become well known among Swedish youth. In December 2015 some 100,000 copies of the Swedish translation Alla borde vara feminister (2015) were distributed for free to Swedish senior high school students. In a country that prides itself as being at the vanguard of feminism, it is perhaps not surprising that students get to learn about feminism at the age of sixteen. But it is somewhat surprising that feminism is introduced through the voice of an African woman writer. This paper discusses Adichie’s We should all be feminists in terms of cosmopolitan feminism. Focusing on the content as well as circulation of the book, including its various digital mediations, the paper argues that Adichie is advancing a more global and inclusive form of feminisim, a truly cosmopolitan feminism, which both builds upon and departs from earlier constellations. While Adichie’s cosmopolitan feminism articulates a rallying cry for universal rights and equality, it provokes counter reactions of racist antifeminism, as evidenced in some social media commentaries. Adichie’s literary production can thus be related to some of the most promising and problematic social forces at play in our digitally mediated world.