Anth48
Crossing boundaries, crossing borders: subversion, disruption and LGBTQ migration on the African continent

Convenors:
B Camminga (University of Wits)
John Marnell (University of the Witwatersrand)
Ntokozo Yingwana (University of the Witwatersrand)
Stream:
Social Anthropology
Location:
Appleton Tower, Seminar Room 2.06
Wednesday 12 June, 8:45-10:30

Short abstract:

This panel seeks to consider what happens when borders, sexuality, gender and migration meet on the African continent and what it means to do research with/on migrant LGBTQ bodies, at a time when global contestations around rights have initiated a 'scramble' for narratives of homo/trans/xenophobia.

Long abstract:

On the 15th of November 1884, the major powers of Europe met in Berlin to carve up an entire continent — haggling over Africa, drawing its boundaries and creating borders. While, as an event, the 'Scramble for Africa' lasted less than a century, its impact in relation to legal, social and cultural change has been enduring. The way in which certain bodies were regulated by colonialism (and its aftermath) is perhaps most clearly evidenced in the ongoing use of colonial penal codes as weapons against non-normative bodies. Policing has often taken the form of violence and persecution directed at gender-nonconforming bodies or those perceived to be 'homosexual', portraying an often homogenous image of a brutal continent that places any expression of sexuality read outside the bounds of heterosexuality as patently unAfrican. In recent years we have seen a new phenomenon in Africa's long history of migration: the journeying of people fleeing persecution on the grounds of their sexuality and gender. This panel seeks to consider what happens when borders, sexuality, gender identity/expression and migration meet on the African continent. The panel aims to reflect on what it means to do research with and on migrant LGBTQ bodies, particularly at a time when global contestations around rights have initiated a 'scramble' for narratives of homo/trans/xenophobia on the African continent. In doing so, it also hopes to highlight the myriad ways in which LGBTQ migrants subvert heteropatriarchal norms, forge solidarity networks and negotiate violent state structures.