Ivoline Budji Kefen

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Notre Dame, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10287

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Budji Kefen, Ivoline (Notre Dame, U. of) "Communicative Engagement of Anglophone Cameroonian Women in the USA: Connection, Identity, and Agency"

IVOLINE BUDJI KEFEN, then a graduate student at University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, was awarded funding in April 2022 to aid research on “Communicative Engagement of Anglophone Cameroonian Women in the USA: Connection, Identity, and Agency,” supervised by Dr. Susan Blum. This research challenges existing literature on armed conflict, migration, and media which centers (diasporic) men — to the detriment of women as agentive stakeholders — intervening in their origin communities often through new communication technologies. Combining ethnography, multimodal social semiotics, and social network analysis, this study examines how Anglophone (English-speaking) Cameroonian women predominantly in the USA and Cameroon manage new/social media, and how these affect their roles, relationships, identities, and engagement with armed conflict in Cameroon known as the Anglophone Crisis. Key findings indicate a complex, reciprocal relationship between the media platforms a woman uses, her power/influence in various networks, how her sociocultural roles and identities shift/change in physical and virtual spaces, and how much she accesses the public sphere. Furthermore, how the women harness affordances (possibilities of use) of diverse new/social media to navigate daily life points to their active, agentive, and gendered engagement regarding adaptation, transnational, and conflict-involvement needs. Their mostly “hidden/silent” activism comes across sometimes as a deliberate strategy to achieve their sociopolitical aims in “safe,” familiar spaces, while ensuring societal cohesion and continuity at the everyday level where violence takes root. Therefore, women’s voices should be unequivocally included at all levels of interventions within the public sphere.