Major Papers


The complexity of the British imperial endeavor is explored in this study; this is exemplified by how some elements and activities that can be considered contradictory to the interests of the empire helped to strengthen it instead. In this case, such contradictory elements include the all-women’s group – St. Joan’s Social and Political Alliance. In the same light, the dynamics of gender relations within the British empire are disclosed, shedding more light on the experiences of both British and indigenous women within the imperial apparatus, as well as the patterns of relationship between the two groups of women. It is shown that the Alliance’s humanitarian agitations for imperial reform of marriage practices in favor of African women were inherently imperialistic. Importantly, this study also constitutes a pioneer case-study of the activities of St. Joan’s Social and Political Alliance in British colonial Africa using the debate about forced marriages of African women from 1935 – 1939.

Primary Advisor

Robert Nelson

Program Reader

Shauna Huffaker

Degree Name

Master of Arts



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year