Readings in Sexualities from Africa

Readings in Sexualities from Africa

Edited by Rachel Spronk and Thomas Hendriks
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-04761-8
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Images and stories about African sexuality abound in today's globalized media. Frequently old stereotypes and popular opinion inform these stories, and sex in the media is predominately approached as a problem in need of solutions and intervention. The authors gathered here refuse an easy characterization of African sexuality and instead seek to understand the various erotic realities, sexual practices, and gendered changes taking place across the continent. They present a nuanced and comprehensive overview of the field of sex and sexuality in Africa to serve as a guide though the quickly expanding literature. This collection offers a set of texts that use sexuality as a prism for studying how communities coalesce against the canvas of larger political and economic contexts and how personal lives evolve therein. Scholars working in Africa, the U.S., and Europe reflect on issues of representation, health and bio-politics, same-sex relationships and identity, transactional economies of sex, religion and tradition, and the importance of pleasure and agency. This multidimensional reader provides a comprehensive view of sexuality from an African perspective.

Author Bio

Thomas Hendriks is Lecturer in African Anthropology at the University of Oxford and a postdoctoral research fellow at the KU Leuven University. He has been published in academic journals such as American Ethnologist, Sexualities and Journal of African Cultural Studies. Rachel Spronk is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. She is author of Ambiguous Pleasures: Sexuality and Middle Class Self-Perceptions in Nairobi.

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Table of Contents



Note on Sources

Introduction: Reading "sexualities" from "Africa" / Rachel Spronk and Thomas Hendriks

I. Representing "African" Sexualities

1. Is there a distinct African sexuality? A critical response to Caldwell / Beth Maina Ahlberg

2. Which bodies matter? Feminism, poststructuralism, race, and the curious theoretical odyssey of the "Hottentot Venus" / Zine Magubane

3. "Bisexuality" and the Politics of Normal in African Ethnography / Marc Epprecht

4. On Being Area-Studied: A Litany of Complaint / Keguro Macharia

II. Bio-Politics—Sexual Health

5. Dangerous Aphrodisiac, Restless Sexuality: Venereal Disease, Biomedicine, and Protectionism in Colonial Lagos, Nigeria / Saheed Aderinto

6. Irua Ria Atumia and Anti-Colonial Struggles among the Gikuyu of Kenya: A Counter Narrative on "Female Genital Mutilation" / Wairimu N. Njambi

7. "These Women, They Force Us to Rape Them": Rape as Narrative of Social Control in Post- Apartheid South Africa / Helen Moffett

8. "Transparent Sexualities": Sexual Openness, HIV Disclosure and the Governmentality of Sexuality in South Africa / Marian Burchardt

III. Same-Sex Practices—Gendered Identities

9. A Note on "Woman Marriage" in Dahomey / Melville J. Herskovits

10. Sexual Inversion Among the Azande / Edward E. Evans-Pritchard

11. "A Man is a Man Completely and a Wife is a Wife Completely": Gender Classification and Performance amongst "Ladies" and "Gents" in Ermelo, Mpumalanga'/ Graeme Reid

12. The Imagined Homoconference: "Activist-ism" and the Politics of Indirection, Serena Dankwa

IV. Love Transactions—Economies of Pleasure

13. The Materiality of Everyday Sex: Thinking beyond "Prostitution"/ Mark Hunter

14. On remuneration for homosexual practices in Bamako / Christophe Broqua

15. Belonging in Ethno-Erotic Economies: Adultery, Alterity, and Ritual in Postcolonial Kenya / George P. Meiu

16. The Pleasures of the City: Masculinity, Sexuality and Femininity in Dakar / Tshikala K. Biaya

V. Mobilizing Religion—Queering Tradition

17. Post-Colonial Histories of Sexuality: The Political Invention of a Libidinal African straight / Basile Ndjio

18. Homosexuality, Politics and Pentecostal Nationalism in Zambia / Adriaan van Klinken

19. "He Uses my Body": Female Traditional Healers, Male Ancestors and Transgender in South Africa / Cheryl Stobie

20. The sexual potentate. On sodomy, fellatio and other postcolonial privacies / Achille Mbembe

VI. Discrete Pleasures—Defiant Agencies

21. Sex Lives among Young People / Jomo Kenyatta

22. Eroticism, Sensuality and Women's Secrets among the Baganda / Sylvia Tamale

23. Sex, Food and Female Power: Discussion of Data Material from Northern Mozambique / Signe Arnfred

24. My Childhood as an Adult Molester / Zackie Achmat

List of Sources

List of Contributors