• Marame Gueye
  • English Department, East Carolina University
  • Abstract Title: A Woman is Another Woman’s Cure: African Women, Immigration, and Digital Sisterhood

Abstract: In Wolof (the lingua franca of Senegal where I am originally from), nit, nit moo’y garabam (a human being is the cure of another human being) and mbooloo moo’y indi doole (union creates power) are two concepts that preconize that without each other, people would not accomplish much. For immigrant women from Africa, these two concepts are central to their survival in the US because they were displaced from a region of the world where community, especially a community of women, constituted the ground on which they stood. For me, this lack of community on the professional and family levels creates a host of challenges as I try to navigate career and family. As someone who is passionate about female empowerment, I have been questioning the value of my scholarship, and wanted to explore ways to make it meaningful beyond the academic setting. In the past couple of years, social media, especially Facebook, has allowed me a space where I am able to merge the two. As the world laments the overuse of social media and our need to get off our cellphones because they consume our lives and keep us away from meaningful human interactions, if we use social media responsibly and with a purpose to create positive changes, we can accomplish tangible things. Building on the concepts of “a human being is the cure of another human being,” I have created the community of other women that I/We needed in order to navigate our immigrant lives in America. Through digital sisterhood, we are creating a movement that is deeply rooted in a culture that views a woman as dependent on a community of other women in order to survive.

Bio: Marame Gueye is Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Literatures at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with certificates in Feminist Theory, and Translation. Her research is on Women's Verbal Art, Hip Hop, and Immigration. She is the founder of “Une Senegalaise aux USA” (USAUSA), an online community of 3000 women from Senegal who live in the US in which members use their own skills and expertise in order to empower each other.