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Judith Van Allen

Judith van Allen

Regional Scholar Affiliate

Judith Van Allen is a Regional Scholar Affiliate at the Institute for African Development at Cornell University and a long-time activist-scholar. She received her B.A from Stanford University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in political science and political theory. She has been writing about African women for more than 40 years, beginning with her work on the 1929 Igbo Women’s War. She remains concerned with integrating gender and the study of women into African studies, and integrating the study of African women into U.S. gender studies. In the late 1980s she lived in Botswana, doing liberation support work and studying the emerging Botswana women's movement, and since then has focused her research on women in Southern Africa. She has written widely on African women and politics, women and political economy, and gender theory. She has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, California State University at San Francisco, Ithaca College, Wells College, and Cornell University. She served as Co-Convenor of the African Studies Association Women’s Caucus 2014-2016. She was a founding member of the ASAWC in the early 1970s. She is a board member of the Association of Concerned African Scholars, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the African Studies Review and Stichproben.

Her current research focuses on the problematics of using women's rights discourses to address gender violence and women's poverty in neoliberal Southern Africa, and how effective strategies might be developed to address gender violence. She is also currently writing a textbook on African women, power and politics, intended for both African studies courses and women’s studies courses.

Additional Information



  • Postdoc
  • Visiting Scholar


Phone: 607-255-6849