Sexual Violence and Sexual Identity in Africa

Forthcoming Events Organised by
The Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth &

The Centre for Gender Research
The University of Sheffield

The Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth (CSCY) and the Centre for Gender Research are pleased to announce the visit, to Sheffield, of Professor Mansah Prah of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
This visit is part of a British Academy International Partnership and Mobility project which seeks to explore, through capacity building workshops, seminars and a research study, the construction of sexual identities amongst children and young adults in Ghana and the implications this has for, not only their experience of sexual violence and power and oppression in relationships, but also for their own understanding and meaning-making of these issues.

During her stay in Sheffield Professor Prah will be sharing her work with students, academics and practitioners. Specifically, she will:

1.      Present a researcher paper at a seminar entitled: Tune your Mind to Something Else: Insights from a Comparative Study of Ghanaian and Burkinabe Female Students’ Perspectives on Sexuality and Schooling

Abstract of Presentation:

This seminar will report on the research process and findings from the above study. The frustrations involved in conducting a comparative study of two countries that are culturally similar but divided by language will be discussed. The findings from the main clusters of questions the participants discussed (girls’ educational dreams; how schooling shapes girls’ sexuality; intimate relationships and sexuality; how girls react and act on their desires and sexual impulses; and their conception of what constitutes good/safe sex and bad/dangerous sex) will be presented. All this will be located in a discussion of the official and hidden discourses on sex and sexuality found in the schools. Finally, comparisons between Ghana and Burkina Faso and the recommendations that came out of the research will be presented.

Date: Tuesday 11th March 2014
Time: 12.30-3.30 including lunch.
Venue: Conference Room, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS)
219 Portobello Sheffield S1 4DP 

All our welcome to attend this seminar.  

2.      Facilitate a one-day workshop entitled Researching Sexual Identities and Sexual Violence in Africa: Challenges and Issues.

Workshop Abstract

This will be an interactive workshop that will present and discuss key issues that may crop up in researching sexual identity and sexual violence in an African context. It will begin by addressing the need to consider research in other cultural contexts. Then it will examine methodological approaches that are suitable in contexts where discussing sexual matters is considered very private and even a taboo, as well as ethical issues and effects of the research process on the researcher and the participants. The cultural assumptions that underlie and dominate attitudes towards general violence, and sexual and gender-based violence will be presented and discussed. Excerpts from a film will be utilised to show how tradition is invoked to perpetrate violence of all kinds, and questions regarding how the researcher navigates such issues discussed.

Date: Thursday 13th March 2014 Time: 10-4pm Venue: Conference Room, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), 219 Portobello Sheffield S1 4DP Please note that this workshop is specifically aimed at postgraduate research students and early career academicsPlaces are limited so bookings will be accepted on a first come basis.

Please RSVP by Tuesday 4th March 2014 (for both events) to:
Mrs. Dawn Lessels, Administrator of the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth (

If you would like more information about these events or about Professor Prah’s visit please contact Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh at the University of Sheffield


  Profile of Professor Mansah Prah Born and raised in Accra, Ghana, Mansah Prah received a German government scholarship which took her to the University of Heidelberg in 1973 to study Sociology and Anthropology. There, she experienced the tail end of the student protest movement, which greatly influenced her world view, introducing her to feminism and other paradigms. She graduated in 1977 with an MA in Sociology and continued her studies at the University of Frankfurt, graduating with a Ph. D in 1984. She returned to Ghana in 1985 and joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Cape Coast. Over the years, Prah has taught a wide range of courses, including Sociology of Religion, Witchcraft, Magic and Religion, Gender and Society, Gender and Sexuality, and Gender and Development. Mansah Prah was twice a Fulbright Scholar and has taught and researched in a number of US colleges including Randolph College, the College of Wooster, and the Wellesley Centers for Research on Women. She has also taught at the National University of Lesotho and has served as External Examiner for graduate programmes in Gender Studies at the Kigali Institute for Education (Rwanda) and the University of Botswana. She has been an Associate of the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town, and is now a Professor at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. She is the author of ‘Ghana’s Feminist Movement: Aspirations, Challenges, Achievements’ (2007) and is the editor of ‘Insights into Gender Equity, Equality and Power Relations in Sub-SaharanAfrica”(2013).

These events are funded by the British Academy