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Mothers on the MoveReproducing Belonging Between Africa and Europe$
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Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226389745

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226389912.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Cameroonian Predicaments

Cameroonian Predicaments

(p.28) 2 Cameroonian Predicaments
Mothers on the Move

Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses Cameroonian predicaments of belonging, reproduction, connection and mobility. Colonial and post-colonial mobilities in the Cameroonian Grassfields region presage later international migration and building of transnational connections. They affect reproduction, kinship, belonging, attachment to the land, political rights, and the emergence of formal and informal forms of place-based association. The complex colonial history of Cameroon has left a legacy of official bilingualism, dual legal and educational systems, and religious heterogeneity, resulting in multilayered distinctions of Cameroonian belonging and identity. Embedded in this complex field of belonging is a sense of reproductive insecurity, tied to a colonial legacy of loss, infertility and disease. In the post-colonial flux of Cameroonian rural-to-urban labor and educational migration, women navigate and leverage lineage and reproduction to establish belonging, ensure fertility, and to reproduce important Cameroonian lifeways. Urban hometown associations afford women the opportunity to formalize their connections to their places of origin, thereby reinforcing place-based identities that anchor women and their children in a mobile world. Mothers on the Move thus places women’s reproductive strategies in Berlin within the context of the history of migration within Cameroon, demonstrating that international migration is less novel than is often portrayed.

Keywords:   colonialism, Grassfields, history, hometown associations, infertility, labor migration, mobility, placed based identity, reproduction, transnationalism, Cameroon

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