African LGBTQ activisms: queer counter narratives and arts of resistance
Xaman Minillo (University of Bristol)
Adriaan van Klinken (University of Leeds)
Social Anthropology
Appleton Tower, Seminar Room 2.07
Thursday 13 June, 8:45-10:15

Short abstract:

African LGBTQ activisms challenge popular narratives about queer sexualities being 'un-African', developing innovative counter narratives and arts of resistance. The panel examines African queer 'artivisms' and the connections and disruptions between queer and African identities.

Long abstract:

Discourses trying to frame African sexualities as monolithic and unchanging abound. Within postcolonial nationalist political projects, Africanist discourses can promote excluding conceptions of citizenship and belonging declaring homosexuality to be 'un-African'. Dominant religious narratives can directly oppose homosexuality to Christianity or Islam. In a global system where many white Euro-American LGBTQ secular activisms denounce a generalized 'African homophobia' and African LGBTQs as victims, they can encourage Westernized conceptions of homosexuality and simultaneously reaffirm claims of homosexuality being un-African. African LGBTQ activisms highlight the contradictions of such discourses and disrupt their underlying ahistorical claims through the promotion of counter narratives that criticize, appropriate and transform discourses on being queer (loosely understood here as a refusal or inability to signify monolithically in relation to sex, gender, and sexuality; Sedgwick 1993). Creative and inventive expressions of LGBTQ activism can be understood as 'arts of resistance', that is, informal modes of civic agency that construe counter-narratives through various artistic expressions (Scott 1992, Obadare and Willems 2015). These arts of resistance creatively combine words and text with other media, such as images, sound, and body. Such 'artivism' (Sandoval and Latorre 2008, Robinson and Cambre 2013) disrupts monolithic discourses on African sexualities and represents possible ways of being African and queer. This panel invites studies of such creative expressions of African LGBTQ activism, the nature and future of African queerness that they represent, and the ways in which they disrupt popular discourses on African sexualities enmeshed with issues of citizenship, religion, human rights, family and race.