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Renowned Professor of Anthropology to Deliver Seventeenth Annual Margaret Laurence Lecture at Trent University


Dr. Janice Boddy to Discuss Colonialism and Religious Conflict in Sudan

Friday, January 27, 2006, Peterborough

Trent University is pleased to announce that Dr. Janice Boddy, professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto, will be delivering the seventeenth annual Margaret Laurence Lecture on Thursday, February 2 at 8:00 p.m. in the Champlain College Lecture Hall (CCS 307).

The annual Margaret Laurence Lecture honours Trent's fourth chancellor, and acknowledges her contributions to literature, feminism, ecology, and the peace movement. Dr. Boddy was selected as this year's lecturer to highlight the years Ms. Laurence spent in Africa, a time which she has described as one of the most formative periods of her life.

"Boddy's sensitive narratives detail the complexities of the lives of Sudanese women and girls," explains Professor Julia Harrison, Chair of Trent's Department of Women's Studies. "These narratives echo the stories written by Laurence about the lives of women continents away."

Dr. Boddy's lecture, entitled Legacy of Empire: Colonialism and Religious Conflict in Sudan, will explore the unique history of Sudan, a colony ruled jointly by Britain and Egypt from 1898 to 1956. Dr. Boddy will discuss how British administrators often came into conflict with the majority of Sudanese and Egyptian people who professed Islam and she will argue that the British efforts to stem the spread of Islam, protect southern indigenous groups, and "civilize" women and men of the Muslim north have had important implications for Sudanese political dynamics from the post-colonial past to the present day.

A professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto since 1984, Dr. Boddy has conducted fieldwork in Northern Sudan on various occasions since 1976. Her research focus has ranged from gender roles and constructs, anthropology of "the body", ritual and religion, feminist theory, social organization and social change, to identity politics. She is also the author of several notable books, including Wombs and Alien Spirits: Women, Men and the Zar Cult in Northern Sudan, which was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Non-fiction in 1990 and co-author of Aman: The Story of a Somali Girl, which has been translated into 13 languages.

In her current work, Dr. Boddy is examining the motives, methods, and assumptions of colonial agents who undertook to reform women's customs in colonial Sudan.

The lecture is free and all members of the community are invited to attend.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Julia Harrison, Chair of Women's Studies, 748-1011 x1515 or jharrison@trentu.ca






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