Androcentric Development, State Violence, and MDG Shortfalls: Water, Sanitation, and Child Morbidity in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Abstract: In this manuscript, child morbidity in Zimbabwe is examined from an Africana feminist sociological perspective. A framework is presented that considers the ways in which globalization/neocolonial relations, ethnolinguistic/political conflict, and other dimensions intersect to impact upon the accomplishment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in regards to hunger, environmental sustainability, and child health in Zimbabwe. Demographic and Health Surveys are analyzed from 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005-06, and 2010-11 for this country. On the basis of the Africana feminist framework elaborated herein, it is argued that early childhood morbidity cannot be understood unless the socioeconomic, political, and cultural contexts are taken into account. The hypothesis that militarism (especially state violence) and ethnolinguistic/political conflict in Zimbabwe have deleterious effects on equitable distribution of safe water and improved sanitation, and on child health is tested. Utilizing logistic regression analysis and by testing statistical interactions, it is found that safe water and sanitation are in short supply and further, that the mal-distribution of these development resources has a deleterious impact on early childhood nutrition. This work contributes importantly to the social scientific literature in the social demography of Africa because it adapts the vibrant intellectual work of Africana feminists to a quantitative methodology. Further, on the basis of this novel methodological approach, this work elicits results that give rise to useful maternal and child health-related policy recommendations that may inform future discussions and post-2015 revisions of Millennium Development Goals.

Bio: Assata Zerai is a professor of sociology, Director of the Center for African Studies and Associate Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include maternal and child health, activism, and race, class and gender in Africa and its Diaspora. Recent publications: Hypermasculinity and State Violence in Zimbabwe (Africa World Press, 2014), and Intersectionality in Intentional Communities: The Struggle for Inclusive Multicultural Congregations (Lexington Books, forthcoming). She is currently editing Safe Water, Sanitation and Early Childhood Malnutrition in East Africa: An Africana Feminist Analysis of the lives of Women and Children in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (contract with Rowman and Littlefield, Lexington Books).

Lunch will be served.

Organized by: Program of African Studies

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