LOVA Marjan Rens Master’s Thesis Award 2021
LOVA Marjan Rens Master’s Thesis Award 2021 was granted during an online award ceremony on May 28, 2021. Fenneke Reysoo acted as chair of the jury, which was formed by herself together with Kathrine van den Bogert and Kim Kim Knibbe.
Hannah Schild was awarded the first prize. Her thesis “I am a woman. But in addition, I am a mother”: Women navigating politics, conflict and uncertainty in Zanzibar was written for her Research Master in African Studies at Leiden University, May 2020. The thesis builds on feminist scholarship on motherhood, mothering, and maternal thinking, and thoroughly discusses controversies in Western feminisms and the counter-reactions in African feminisms. The author coins the concept of ‘maternal navigation’ to explore maternal subjectivities, practices and strategies of Zanzibar women in relation to politics. The field research evolved in challenging conditions, but Swahili’s proficiency helped Hanna collect rich ethnographic data about women’s political activities or the absence thereof. The rather long period for analysis and writing – often underestimated – has contributed to the outstanding final result in which the author seamlessly analysed and reconnected the data to historical, reflexive and theoretical dimensions. “Thinking through ethnography” really applies to this thesis.