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Abstract from

This One is from the Ladies: Thank You Martin Chanock, Honarary African Feminist

Fareda Banda, BL (Hons) LLB (Zimbabwe), DPhil (Oxon), is Professor of the Laws of Africa at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where she teaches Human Rights of Women, Law and Society in Africa and English Family Law.

This article pays tribute to Martin Chanock by highlighting the influence that his work has had on the author and others. It begins with a discussion of Chanock’s contribution to a greater understanding of the gendered construction of customary law and, indeed, other legal systems, and to a recognition of the ways that assertions about law are deployed politically to circumvent women’s claims for legal citizenship. Thereafter it considers his contribution to a greater understanding, within human rights discourse, of culture and tradition themselves as gendered and as needing to be scrutinised for bias. The final section suggests that Chanock’s work has universal appeal and provides useful insights into resolving current controversies over such issues as sexual orientation and the status of children.

(2010) 28 No 2 Law in Context 8

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