Oyeronke Oyewumi


Associate Professor

Areas of Interest

Sociology of Gender, Sociology of Knowledge, Sociology of Culture, Comparative Historical-Sociology, Feminist Theory, Transnational Feminisms, Social Theory, Social Inequalities in Local, Regional, and Global systems, African Studies, (Post) Colonial Studies and Modernities


In her award-winning book The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses (University of Minnesota Press, 1997), Oyeronke Oyewumi makes the case that the narrative of gendered corporeality that dominates the Western interpretation of the social world is a cultural discourse and cannot be assumed uncritically for other cultures. She concludes that gender is not only socially constructed but is also historical. Furthermore, she points out that the current deployment of gender as a universal and timeless social category cannot be divorced from either the dominance of Euro/American cultures in the global system or the ideology of biological determinism which underpins Western systems of knowledge.

Born in Nigeria and educated at the University of Ibadan and the University of California at Berkeley, Oyewumi has been widely recognized for her work. The monograph Invention won the 1998 Distinguished Book Award in the Gender and Sex Section of the American Sociological Association and was a finalist for the Herskovitts Prize of the African Studies Association in the same year.

She has garnered a number of research fellowships, including Rockefeller Fellowships, a Presidential fellowship, and a Ford Foundation grant. Oyewumi's most recent research support was a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship on Human Security (2003/2004), managed by National Council for Research on Women. (NCRW).



Gender Epistemologies in Africa: Gendering Traditions, Spaces, Social Institutions, and Identities, edited. Palgrave Macmillan (2010)

This book brings together a variety of studies that are engaged with notions of gender in different African localities, i nstitutions and historical time periods. The objective is to expand empirical and theoretical studies that take seriously the idea that in order to understand gender and gender relations in Africa, we must start with Africa. If gender emerges out of particular histories and social contexts, we must therefore pay attention to the histories of genderings as wel as the continuous ways in which gender is made and remade in everyday interactions, and by institutions. In this sense then, “gender” is actually more about gendering—a process—rather than something inherent in social relations. Gender Epistemologies in Africa

African Women and Feminism: Reflecting on the Politics of Sisterhood, edited. Africa World Press, Trenton: New Jersey (2003).

The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis: Minnesota (1997).

Selected Book Chapters

“Colonizing Bodies and Minds: Gender and Colonialism” in Postconialisms: An Anthology of Cultural Theory and Criticism, Gaurav Desai and Supriya Nair (eds). Rutgers University Press (forthcoming 2005).

“Translation of Cultures: Engendering Yoruba Language, Orature and World Sense” in Women, Gender and Religion: A Reader, Elizabeth Castelli (ed). Palgrave,: New York (2001)

“Multiculturalism or Multibodism: On the Impossible Intersections of Race and Gender in White Feminist and Black Nationalist Discourses” in Black Studies:

Current Issues, Enduring Questions, Claudine Michel and Jacqueline Bobo (eds). Kendal Hunt Publishing Company (2001).

“Alice in Motherland: Reading Alice Walker on Africa and Screening the Color Black,” in African Women and Feminism: Reflecting on the Politics of Sisterhood, Africa World Press, Trenton: New Jersey (2004)

News & Events

  November 2015  
  IHSS will present Nicholas Wilson, Stony Brook Department Sociology, November 18, 1:15 PM - 2:30 PM, SBS N320, “What Do Historical Sociologists Do All Day?  Historical Method in Theory and Practice  
  October 2015  
  September 2015  
  •Sociology Brown Bag Series presents Assistant Professor Jason Jones, Wednesday, September 16, 1:00 - 2:20 PM, SBS N403, "The Paradox of Weak Ties in 55 Countries."
•Sociology Brown Bag Series presents Ph.D. student Cliff Leek, Wednesday, September 2, 1:00 - 2:20 PM, SBS N403, "Men and Masculinities in International Development:  Are Fears Becoming Realities?"
  May 2015  
  Ph.D. student Suzan Walters receives the 2015 Outstanding Student Paper Award in the ASA section, Disability and Society, for her paper, "Caregiving and HIV:  Accounts of Resisting Individualism, Privatization, and Cuts in Social Spending."
Jennifer Heerwig and Josh Murray (Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt and SBU Sociology alumni) awarded $33,000 grant by the Russell Sage Foundation to support their project entitled "Partisanship, Unity, and Inter-Corporate Networks:  Political Donations of the Corporate Elite, 1980 - 2014."
  April 2015  
  Sociology Brown Bag series presents Professor Ian Roxborough, Wednesday, April 22, 1:00 - 2:20 PM, SBS N403, "Human Aspects of Military Operations: Intra-Organizational Debate and Spontaneous Sociology."
IHSS will present Miriam L. Kingsberg, University of Colorado; ACLS Ryskamp Visiting Scholar, Columbia University, April 15, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, “Fieldwork, Ethnology, and Empire: the Making of Japan's ‘Transwar Generation’ of Social Scientists” - Co-sponsored by the History Department
Sociology Brown Bag series presents Associate Professor Timothy P. Moran and Ph.D. student Sofia Boutillier, Wednesday, April 8, 1:00 - 2:20 PM, SBS N403, "Saying Happiness While Doing Inequality:  Wealth, Neoliberalism, and the New York Times."
  March 2015  
  Philip Kasinitz, Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of CUNY, March 25, 2015, 1:00 PM, SBS N403, "Immigration, Diversity and Citizenship:  The Changing Terrain of Racial Justice."
Nancy Foner, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of CUNY, March 12, 2015, 4:00 PM, SBS N403, "Immigration and the Remaking of New York."
IHSS will present Shobana Shankar, Stony Brook Department of History, March 11, 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM, SBS N320, “Curbing Religious Freedoms for State Security: The Old Cities of Northern Nigeria in the Era."
of Decolonization” - Co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Department
  February 2015  
  Sociology Brown Bag series presents Ph.D. student Carolyn Coburn, Wednesday, February 18, 1:00 - 2:20 PM, SBS N403, "Water, Sanitation, and Female Secondary School Enrollment:  A Cross-National Analysis of Sub-Saharan African Nations."  
  IHSS will present Paul Gootenberg, Stony Brook Department of History & Sociology, February 18, 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM, SBS N320, “From Teonanácatl to Miami Vice: Latin America’s Contribution to World Drug Culture” - Co-sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center  
  Sociology Brown Bag series presents Assistant Professor Kristen Shorette, Wednesday, February 4, 1:00 - 2:20 PM, SBS N403, "Global Institutions and the Persistence of Cross-National Health Disparities across the Global South."  
  December 2014  
  Florencia Arancibia has been awarded a two-year post-doctoral fellowship with the Argentine National Scientific and Technical Research Council for her research project, "Social movements and knowledge intermediaries: participatory methods for inclusive innovation."  
  October 2014
  IHSS will present Rick DesRochers, Long Island University-Post Campus, Department of Theatre, October 14, 2:30 PM, SBS N403, "The Family Act Goes to School - The Marx Brothers, Vaudeville, and Americanization."  
  September 2014  
  Michael Kimmel and Gloria Steinem co-author New York Times opinion piece on consensual sex on college campuses entitled "Yes Is Better Than No."
Kristen Shorette receives ASA Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline Award for her project, "Freedom from Discrimination as Human Right?  The Global Human Rights Regime and the Diffusion of Affirmative Action since 1965"
Carrie Shandra selected as a Fellow of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research's Switzer Research Program
Nicholas Wilson, Yale University, September 29, 2014, 1:00 PM, SBS N403, "Corruption and the Making of Modern Bureaucracy:  Evidence from the British Empire in India."
IHSS will present Steven Skiena, Stony Brook University, Department of Computer Science, September 18, 2:30 PM, SBS N403, "Who's Bigger?  Where Historical Figures Really Rank.

Department of Sociology,  Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4356, tel.: +1 (631) 632-7700

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