Adwoa K Opong

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of African and African American Studies

Adwoa K. Opong’s research sits at the intersections of histories of decolonization, development and gender in twentieth century Africa. Specifically, she is interested in the complex processes involved in the institutionalization of social welfare in postwar British Africa. She examines how education or the lack thereof, poverty, sanitation, single mothers were constructed as social problems, the different kinds of interventionist schemes and those involved in the management of ‘social problems’ in postwar Africa. She is particularly interested in the gendered and ethnic dimensions of these processes as they intersected with decolonization and development.

Opong’s research places women social workers and those they set out to “uplift” in conversation with political elites of the Ghanaian decolonizing state, western development experts and Cold War powers and actors, all of whom were involved in the process to define what it meant to be a proper Ghanaian citizen. In the process, she showshow social welfare and social workers often reproduced the marginalization and inequalities that they sought to address.