Out in Africa

November 2013
308 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
James Currey
BISAC SOC012000, LIT004010, SOC002010

Out in Africa

Same-Sex Desire in Sub-Saharan Literatures & Cultures

Chantal Zabus

eBook for Handhelds
Homophobia is still rife and it remains dangerous and even life-threatening to be out in Africa, but Chantal Zabus here traces the range of representations of same-sex desire in Africa through historic and contemporary sources.
Homosexuality was and still is thought to be quintessentially 'un-African'. Yet in this book Chantal Zabus examines the anthropological, cultural and literary representations of male and female same-sex desire in a pan-African context from the nineteenth century to the present. Reaching back to early colonial contacts between Europe and Africa, and covering a broad geographical spectrum, along a north-south axis from Mali to South Africa and an east-west axis from Senegal to Kenya, here is a comparative approach encompassing two colonial languages (English and French) and some African languages.
Out in Africa charts developments in Sub-Saharan African texts and contexts through the work of 7 colonial writers and some 25 postcolonial writers. These texts grow in complexity from roughly the 1860s, through the 1990s with the advent of queer theory, up to 2010. The author identifies those texts that present, in a subterraneous way at first and then with increased confidence, homosexuality-as-an-identity rather than an occasional or ritualized practice, as was the case in the early ethnographic imagination. The work sketches out an evolutionary pattern in representing male and female same-sex desire in the novel and other texts, as well as in the cultural and political contexts that oppose such desires.

Chantal Zabus is IUF Professor in Comparative Postcolonial Literatures and Gender Studies at Université Paris 13 (now Sorbonne-Paris-Cité). She is author of Between Rites and Rights; The African Palimpsest: Indigenization of Language in the West African Europhone Novel, and Tempests after Shakespeare.She is presently Editor-in-Chief of the on-line journal Postcolonial Text.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782041979), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Introduction: To Make Things Perfectly Queer
Anthropological Wormholes: From Pederasts to Female Husbands
The Text that Dare not Speak its Name: Forging Male Colonial Intimacies
The School for Scandal: Missionary Positions & African Sexual Initiations
The Stuff of Desire: Boarding-School Girls, Plain Lesbians & Teenage Dykes
Apartheid, Queerness & Diaspora
Male & Female Mythologies
Conclusion: Trans Africa


The book is a treasure trove of resources, bringing into view the scale and variety of the field of queer African studies and setting out a series of interesting discursive formations. RESEARCH IN AFRICAN LITERATURES

The range of Zabus's reading is awesome, her analysis of the literature is illuminating and her building of the broad picture is a major intellectual achievement. SLIPNET

Chantal Zabus's Out in Africa may greatly benefit scholars interested in contemporary African literatures and global queer identities. Out in Africa confirms Zabus's intellectual depth, vast range of literary and theoretical knowledge, and her commitment to exploring the dynamic literary of sexualities within Africa. AFRICAN STUDIES QUARTERLY

Particularly useful to a range of students coming to this field for the first time, given that such a wide geographic range of fiction is considered. AFRICA IN WORDS.COM

There are many noteworthy and fascinating deliberations in this book. JOURNAL OF POST-COLONIAL WRITING

"The scope of the study is vast . . . [Zabus] treats colonial and postcolonial writers, both Apartheid and post-Apartheid. . . . [T]he plethora of writers and works discussed is a major contribution." CHOICE

Related Titles