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Dr Isaac Dery

LUCAS/LAHRI Virtual Visiting Research Fellow 2022
Arts, Humanities and Cultures
School of PRHS

Isaac is a researcher based in Ghana working as a Lecturer in African and Gender Studies at Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies.

For the duration of his fellowship he is developing a co-authored article based on empirical data that will be collected in the first two months of the fellowship (April-May 2022). The project title is Theorising dɔɔ-menga as an Alternative Understanding of a Patriarchal African masculinity. Isaac is mentored at Leeds by Professor Adriaan Van Klinken (School of Philosopy, Religion and the History of Science).

Fellowship Project Abstract

For a long time, African men and their masculinities have been constructed in colonial discourses as barbaric, backward, monstrous and abusers. They are said to be the beneficiaries of a pernicious cultural system which is “anti-women”.  As a Dagara man whose socialization included reverence for women, I found these one-sided perspectives inaccurate and troubling. Over time I have observed that some of the reverence for women has diminished and what is fast becoming ‘culture’ is a colonized version of culture that diminishes men as much as it silences/marginalizes women. My study is driven by a desire to decolonize dominant understanding of gender and justifications for gender inequality with a particular focus on understanding critical masculinities and accountability structures among the Dagaaba of north-western Ghana. There is merit in understanding indigenous notions of masculinity and how these notions can be utilized for locally gender mobilisations.