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Birkbeck's Big Ideas: Working class women and West African liberation

Venue: Online

This is a rescheduled Big Ideas event that was due to take place at Stratford Library in March.

Book your place here.

Ekua Andrea Agha will examine the factors that led to the creation of new roles for working class women in West African societies during the colonial period. The talk will make specific reference to Sembene Ousmane's seminal novel, God's Bits of Wood, to illustrate how women who were marginalised from the socio-economic centre of activity during this period challenged the African patriarchal and colonial systems by playing an active part in the historical 1947 Dakar-Niger railroad workers' strike. Ekua will analyse how the effects of the defiant actions taken by these women who confronted the French colonial administration became the catalyst for the demand for liberation of French West Africa from France.

Format of the event:

As with our usual Birkbeck's Big Ideas events, you will be able to watch a lecture from Ekua about her research. For the first time, we will be delivering this via video. We will send a link to the video to everyone who signs up here. This will reach you by Tuesday 26th May at the latest and you can watch this in your own time. The video will be roughly 30 - 40 minutes long.

You are then also welcome to join us for a live, online Q&A with Ekua Andrea Agha via video link. This Q&A will be led by Sophie and Hester from Birkbeck's Access and Engagement team on Thursday 28th May at 6pm. We will circulate the link for the Q&A closer to the time.

If you have any questions for Ekua that you would like to email in advance, send them to

Who is Ekua Andrea Agha?

Ekua Andrea Agha is a PhD candidate in the School of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research project, ' The Culture Within: Artistic and Theoretical Challenges to Hegemony in the Works of the Senegalese Writer and Filmmaker, Ousmane Semebene, employs a multidisciplinary approach to examining the issues relating to the history, religion and cultures of the former colonised subjects in West African societies. Ekua obtained a Masters in French and Francophone Studies from the University of Westminster and is the coordinator of the Nigerian- Brazilian Public History Project.

Accessibility information:

Participation in this event will require you to view a video and to log into an online portal called Collaborate to take part in the Q&A session. You can do this on a computer or smartphone. We will circulate a guide on how to access Collaborate to all attendees. If you feel you will need additional support accessing our online resources, please don't hesitate to email us at We are able to provide a digital mentor who can call or video call you to take you through the steps you will need to access this and other online events/training.

Please contact us in advance of the event at if you have any additional accessibility requirements so that we can ensure you will be able to get the most from this event. For some requirements, e.g. BSL interpreters, we may need a few days' notice to make arrangements, so please let us know as soon as possible.

Book your place here.

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