Signe Arnfred
  • Universitetsvej 1, 26.0

    DK-4000 Roskilde


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Personal profile



Signe Arnfred

Associate professor, Institute forSociety and Globalization, Roskilde University

Researcher, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala


Places of work           Roskilde University, po box 260, DK 4000 Roskilde;

                                         Centre for African Studies, University of Copenhagen, Købmagergade 46,4,   1150 København K


Personal data             Born 1944. Married, two daughters                 


Education                    Mag. art.  in Cultural Sociology, University of Copenhagen 1973.

                                  Studies at London School of Economics 1967.

                                  Studies at Makerere University College 1968.


Languages                                          speaking                       reading             writing

                                    Danish             mother tongue

                                    English             excellent                      excellent           excellent

                                    Portuguese       good                            good                good

                                    French              a little                           fair                              

                                    German            a little                           fair


Employment record

Sept 2006 - Aug 07    Acting Research Director, the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala

April - Nov 2006        Member of evaluation team for Nordic Evaluation of UNRISD

Sept 2000 - Aug 06    Research programme coordinator: Sexuality, Gender and Society in Africa, The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden

1977 onwards              Associate professor (lektor) at Roskilde University,International Development Studies / from 2006: Institute of Society and Globalisation

1991, 1994                  Lecturer (courses on social science research methodology) Faculdade de Direito (Law Faculty) Eduardo Mondlane Univeisity, Mozambique

1993 - 1996                Resource person to the Women and Law in Southern Africa research project. Visits to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique

1989-1990                  Part-time lecturer at Ilisimatusarfik, the Universty of Greenland, Nuuk, Greenland

1986, 1996, 1998       Short term consultancies for Norad/Danida on gender issues in Mozambique              

1981-1984 Full time consultant (Danida) to Organização da Mulher Moçambicana (the National Mozambican Women's Organization) Maputo, Mozambique

1973-1977                   Assistant professor (adjunkt) at Roskilde University, Department of Social Science


Periods of field work and archive research

1998 - 2005                 Periods of field research in Nampula province, Mozambique

1985                           Archive research in OMM and national archives, Maputo, Mozambique.

1981 - 1984                 Investigations and data collection in Mozambique, north, south and centre,  on behalf of Organização da Mulher Moçambicana (OMM).

1975 - 76                    Periods of field research in Portugal


Organization of conferences, PhD courses, workshops and conference panels

Sept 2008                    Postcolonial feminist theories and analytical approaches. PhD course, Inst for Society and Globalization, Roskilde University (co-organized with Prof Nina Lykke, the Nordic Research School in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies)

July 2007                     Sexuality and Politics in Africa. Panel for second AEGIS European Conference on African Studies, University of Leiden

May 2006                    Masculinities in Southern Africa. One-day research forum, Stockholm

May 2006                    Postcolonial sexualities: Politics and Discourses. PhD course, Inst for Society and Globalization, RoskildeUniversity (co-organized with Bodil Folke Frederiksen and Lisa Richey, ISG/RUC)

Oct 2005                     Sex and Gender in Africa. Critical and Feminist Approaches. Workshop for Nordic Africa Days

July 2005                     African feminisms. Extending the boundaries of African Social Science. Panel for first AEGIS European Conference on African Studies, SOAS, London (co-organized with Desiree Lewis, UWC)

Jan 2005                      Writing African Women - Poetics and Politics of African Gender Research. Conference, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town (co-organized with    Heike Becker and Desiree Lewis, UWC)

Nov 2004                    Writing African Women. Panel for African Studies Association Conference, New Orleans (co-organized with Heike Becker UWC)

Oct 2003                     Research Activism/Advocacy, Consultancies: Dilemmas and Challenges. Conference, University of Ghana (co-organized with Akosua Adomako Ampofo, University of Ghana)

Oct 2003                     Making Sex in Africa. Workshop for Nordic Africa Days

Febr 2003                    Images of 'Motherhood' - African and Nordic Perspectives. Conference, Ile de Goree, Dakar (co-organized with Eva Evers-Rosander, Uppsala University)

Oct 2001                     Constructions of Male and Female Sexualities in Africa. Workshop for Nordic Africa Days (co-organized with Liv Haram and Bawa Yamba, NAI)

Febr 2001                    Contexts of Gender in Africa. Dilemmas and Challenges of Feminist Research. Conference, the Nordic Africa Institute

Dec 1997                     Concepts and Metaphors: Ideologies, Narratives and Myths in Development Discourse. PhD course, Roskilde University (co-organized with Henrik Secher Marcussen, RUC)

Nov 1995                    Legal Change in North/South Perspective. PhD course, Roskilde Universty (co-organized with Hanne Petersen, KU)

Nov 1994                    Methodology and Epistemology in Postcolonial Studies. PhD course, Roskilde University


Initiation and/or supervision/monitoring of research and publication projects in Africa

Sexual Harassment and Gendered Violence in Nigeria. Action research project with reserach teams in six Nigerian universites, run by the Network for Women's Studies in Nigeria (NWSN)

Book on Sexuality in Senegal. Research project run by the Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes et les Lois au Senegal (GREFELS)

African Perspectives on Gender. Theory, Methodology and Concepts. Compilation of anthology of classical texts by African gender researchers, from the 1970s onwards, including texts in French and Portuguese traslated into English, Main editor: Desiree Lewis, Cape Town



Since 2001 I have been running an e-mail list - the NAI-SexGender list - focused on gender and sexuality research. Roughly 300 gender researchers are members - 140 in Africa, 110 in the Nordic countries, and 50 in Europe/USA



List of publications (selected)

Signe Arnfred og Karen Syberg (ed) 1974: Kvindesituation og Kvindebevægelse under        kapitalismen, GMT, Grenå, 413 s

Signe Arnfred 1976: Kvinnor i Portugal, Zenith nr.46, Lund, s 4-31

Signe Arnfred (ed) 1977: Alexandra Kollontaj I + II, Udvalgte Skrifter,  Tiderne Skifter,           København, 916 s

Signe Arnfred et. al. (ed) 1977: Alexandra Kollontaj III, Alexandra Kollontajs samtid og ideer,       Tiderne Skifter, 448 s

Signe Arnfred 1988: Könsidentitet och könskamp i Moçambique, i Kvinnovetenskaplig Tidskrift        2/1988, Stockholm, s 8-22

Signe Arnfred 1988: Women in Mozambique: Gender Struggle and Gender Politics, in Review of African Political Economy, 41/1988, Leeds, p 5-16

Signe Arnfred 1990: Femmes et Modernisation au Mozambique, in Politique Africaine no.38/1990,    Paris, p 142-147

Signe Arnfred 1990: Notes on Gender and Modernization. Examples from Mozambique, in       A.W.Bentzon (ed): The Language of Development Studies, New Social Science Monographs, Kbh. p 71-107

Signe Arnfred 1991: Lessons from Mozambique, in Agenda, Journal on Women and Gender, 10,      Durban, p 45-52

Signe Arnfred 1994: Investigating Gender in the Greenland Process of Modernization, in NORA, Nordic Journal of Women's Studies, no1, vol 2, Oslo, p 12-27

Signe Arnfred (ed) 1995: Issues of Methodology and Epistemology in Post-colonial Studies             Occasional Paper no.15, IDS, Roskilde University, 131 p, introduction p 5-14

Signe Arnfred 1996: Rethinking law in a Gender Perspective, in Ann Schlyter (ed): A Place to Live. Gender research on housing in Africa, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala, p 32-46.

Signe Arnfred 1996: Customary Law from Women's Points of View, in Dialogue  no.13, KULU,         Women and Development, Kbh, p 1-4

Signe Arnfred and Hanne Petersen (eds) 1996: Legal Change in North/South Perspective,    Occasional Paper no.18 , IDS, Roskilde University, 265 p, introduction p 1-16

Signe Arnfred and Henrik Secher Marcussen (eds) 1998:  Concepts and Metaphors: Ideologies, Narratives and Myths in Development Discourse, Occasional Paper no 19, IDS, Roskilde University, 246 p

Signe Arnfred 2001: Questions of Power: Women's Movements, Feminist Theory and Development Aid, pp 73-87 in Discussing Women's Empowerment, SIDA Studies no 3, SIDA, Stockholm.

Signe Arnfred 2001: Mainstreaming - mod strømmen? p 21-23 in: Kvinner Sammen, 1/2001, Oslo

Signe Arnfred 2001: Om mainstreaming, magt og kønsforskningsns kritiske potentialer p 87 - 91 inKvinder, Køn og Forskning, no 3/2001, Copenhagen

Signe Arnfred 2001: Ancestral Spirits, Land and Food: Gendered Power and Land Tenure in Ribáué, Nampula Province, pp 153-178 in R.Waterhouse and C Vijfhuizen (eds): Strategic Women, Gainful Men. Gender, Land and Natural Resources in different rural contexts in Mozambique. Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique.

Signe Arnfred 2001: Simone de Beauvoir in Africa: Woman = the Second Sex? Issues of African Feminist Thought, in JENdA - A Journal of Culture and African Women's Studies vol 2 no 1

Signe Arnfred 2001: Family forms and Gender Policy in Mozambique 1975 - 1985. Centre d'Etude d'Afrique Noire, Bordeaux, 58 p

Signe Arnfred 2003: African Gender Research: A View from the North, in CODESRIA bulletin no 1, 2003, p 6-9

Signe Arnfred (ed) 2004: Re-thinking Sexualities in Africa, the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, introduction p 7 - 29

Signe Arnfred 2004: ‘African Sexuality'/Sexuality in Africa. Tales and Silences, in S Arnfred (ed): Re-thinking Sexualities in Africa. Uppsala, the Nordic Africa Institute, p 59 - 76      

Signe Arnfred 2004: Book review: F Cleaver (ed): Masculinities Matter!, i Kvinder, Køn og Forskning, vol 13, no 4, 2004 p 78 - 80

Signe Arnfred 2004: Gender Research in Africa: Dilemmas and Challenges as seen by an outsider,  in CODESRIA volume on African Gender Scholarship: Concepts, Methodologies and Paradigms, CODESRIA, Dakar, p 82 - 100

Signe Arnfred 2004: Concepts of Gender in Colonial and Post-colonial Discourses: The case of Mozambique, in CODESRIA volume on Gender Activism and Studies in Africa, CODESRIA, Dakar, p 108 - 128

Signe Arnfred 2005: Article to Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (EWIC) vol III: Family, Body and Sexuality, on Sub-Saharan Africa, p 41 - 44

Signe Arnfred 2005: Tufo Dancing. Muslim Women's Culture in Northern Mozambique, in Revue Lusotopie 2004, p 39 - 67

Signe Arnfred 2005: Oyeronke Oyewumi - en introduktion, in: Kvinnovetenskaplig Tidskrift 4/2005.

Signe Arnfred 2006: Review Essay: UNRISD. Gender Equality - Striving for Justice in an Unequal World, in International Feminist Journal of Politics vol 8, no 3, p 445 - 449

Signe Arnfred 2006: Male Mythologies. An inquiry into assumptions of feminism and anthropology. The case of matriliny, in Studia Africana, número 16, Barcelona, 22 p

Signe Arnfred with Deepak Nayar, Sten Johansen and Tapio Salonen 2006: Too Good to be True?UNRISD 1996 - 2005, Sida Evaluation 06/46, 122 p

Signe Arnfred 2007: Ligestilling, hvad er det? Book review i Kvinder, Køn og Forskning no 1/2007

Signe Arnfred 2007: Sex, Food and Female Power. Discussion of Data material from northern Mozambique, in Sexualities vol 10, 27 p

Signe Arnfred 2007: Postkolonial feministisk kritik. Introduktion, i Dorte Marie Søndergaard (red): Feministiske tænkere. En tekstsamling. Hans Reitzels Forlag, s 207 - 217




Research on issues of gender/sexuality in Africa, on African feminisms and on post-/decolonial feminist thinking.

Publication network

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or