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African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization

Neville Hoad
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    African Intimacies
    Book Description:

    African Intimacies responds to the public debate on the “Africanness” of homosexuality and interrogates the meaningfulness of the terms “sexuality” and “homosexuality” outside Euro-American discourse. Neville Hoad addresses race, sex, and globalization in the Wole Soyinka novel The Interpreters, considers the imperial legacy in depictions of the HIV/AIDS crisis, and reveals how Phaswane Mpe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow problematizes notions of African identity._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9898-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxxiv)

    The impetus for this book comes from two major strands of public discourse, separated by roughly one hundred years, concerning the relationship between homosexuality and African politics.

    In 1886, the last indigenous ruler of Buganda, thekabaka(king) Mwanga, executes over thirty pages at his royal court, apparently for refusing to have sex with him following their recent conversion to Christianity. The reinscribing of certain corporeal intimacies between king and subject as sex (and “homosexual” sex at that), in tandem with the more usual suspects (trade and Christianity), effectively delegitimized local political institutions. Thekabakalost his absolute power, and...

  5. Chapter 1 African Sodomy in the Missionary Position: Corporeal Intimacies and Signifying Regimes
    (pp. 1-20)

    In order to unsettle polemics on both sides of the currently raging debate about the status of male homosexuality in African cultures, I wish to revisit the Ganda martyrs of 1886. To do so, I suggest that framing the debate in terms of “male homosexuality” and “African cultures” is particularly vexed. These two terms, far from being neutral descriptors, perform extremely complex ideological labor by masking a set of imbricated relations between more volatile social abstractions such as capital, religion, race, and masculinity. Questions of representation informed by problems of displacement, projection, and identification on all sides of the debates...

  6. Chapter 2 Decolonizing the Body: The African and African American in Wole Soyinka’s The Interpreters
    (pp. 21-47)

    Questions of black masculinity (particularly, the sexuality of black masculinity) have been central to understanding processes of decolonization since Frantz Fanon. My first chapter outlined ways these questions might have been relevant to colonizing enterprises. This chapter analyzes Wole Soyinka’s first novel,The Interpreters(1965), to speculate on questions of race, sex, masculinity, and political economy. This analysis shows how a novel written in the throes of decolonization and immediately before a catastrophic civil war, well before the termsqueernessorqueer theoryhad any political or critical purchase, imagines the ways in which problems of racialized human embodiment, economic...

  7. Chapter 3 Neoliberalism and the Church: The World Conference of Anglican Bishops
    (pp. 48-67)

    This chapter moves us into the institutional palimpsests of post–Cold War neoliberal Africa. I am unsure what narrative and/or conceptual relations can be elaborated from the key terms of my paratactic title (neoliberalism, homosexuality, Africa, the Anglican Church) as they collide at an event (the Anglican Conference of World Bishops held at Lambeth in 1998). Moreover, they are terms and definitions with specific institutional forms and histories that have their meanings contested in a process of apparently ceaseless revision. I read the conference as a site for arresting moments in their various genealogies and for offering a cross-section of...

  8. Chapter 4 White Man’s Burden, White Man’s Disease: Tracking Lesbian and Gay Human Rights
    (pp. 68-89)

    Two satirical and borderline tasteless images open this chapter on lesbian and gay human rights in Southern Africa. The first is a cartoon by Dov Fedler, which appeared in the JohannesburgStaron August 29, 1995, shortly after Robert Mugabe banned GALZ (Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe) from the Zimbabwean International Book Fair. This image shows Robert Mugabe dressed up as Marie Antoinette, eating a slice of cake while a crowd of people press their faces to a window, empty food bowls in their hands. A small figure wearing a baseball cap with the logo R.S.A. (Republic of South Africa)...

  9. Chapter 5 The Intellectual, the Archive, and the Pandemic: Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS Blues
    (pp. 90-112)

    In the inaugural Z. K. Matthews memorial lecture at Fort Hare (October 12, 2001) and his speech at the funeral of Sarah Bartmann (August 9, 2002),¹ Thabo Mbeki, the current president of South Africa, analyzed sexually charged representations of African bodies as central epistemological features of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European racism. Given President Mbeki’s increasing reluctance to give interviews on the subject of HIV/AIDS,² I turn to these two speeches to explore how their implied critique of the sexual ideology of racism begins to account for the South African regime’s difficulty in systematically or coherently responding to the AIDS pandemic...

  10. Chapter 6 An Elegy for African Cosmopolitanism: Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow
    (pp. 113-126)

    My chapter title appears to contain a contradiction: African cosmopolitanism.Africanis a word that designates a geographic, if not racial, specificity. In contrast,cosmopolitanismaspires to a worldliness unbound by either geography or race and suggests that multiple specificities exist.¹ I think this contradiction is shared by Phaswane Mpe’s 2001 novel,Welcome to Our Hillbrow. It further mobilizes us to imagine a cosmopolitanism in Africa, in Hillbrow, an inner-city neighborhood in Johannesburg, as well as a cosmopolitanism that is African in the world of postapartheid South Africa.

    Hillbrow, as its name suggests, straddles a ridge immediately to the northeast...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 127-164)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 165-178)
  13. Index
    (pp. 179-188)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-189)