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African Intimacies

Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization

2006
Author:

Neville Hoad

African Intimacies

An innovative investigation of African homosexuality under globalization

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.

Neville Hoad brings politics, literature, psychoanalysis, and anthropology together in a book that breaks new ground in its explanation of how Africans understand, act out, and react to (homo)sexuality in an age of globalization and HIV/AIDS.

Dennis Altman, author of Global Sex

There have been few book-length engagements with the question of sexuality in Africa, let alone African homosexuality. African Intimacies simultaneously responds to the public debate on the “Africanness” of homosexuality and interrogates the meaningfulness of the terms “sexuality” and “homosexuality” outside Euro-American discourse.

Speculating on cultural practices interpreted by missionaries as sodomy and resistance to colonialism, Neville Hoad begins by analyzing the 1886 Ugandan martyrs incident—the execution of thirty men in the royal court. Then, in a series of close readings, he addresses questions of race, sex, and globalization in the 1965 Wole Soyinka novel The Interpreters, examines the emblematic 1998 Lambeth conference of Anglican bishops, considers the imperial legacy in depictions of the HIV/AIDS crisis, and reveals how South African writer Phaswane Mpe’s contemporary novel Welcome to Our Hillbrow problematizes notions of African identity and cosmopolitanism.

Hoad’s assessment of the historical valence of homosexuality in Africa shows how the category has served a key role in a larger story, one in which sexuality has been made in line with a vision of white Western truth, limiting an understanding of intimacy that could imagine an African universalism.

African Intimacies

Neville Hoad is assistant professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin.

African Intimacies

Neville Hoad brings politics, literature, psychoanalysis, and anthropology together in a book that breaks new ground in its explanation of how Africans understand, act out, and react to (homo)sexuality in an age of globalization and HIV/AIDS.

Dennis Altman, author of Global Sex

African Intimacies emerges out of Hoad’s always provocative and at times brilliant reading of texts. It is also a product of transnational circuits of knowledge, connecting nodes like Chicago, London, Austin, cyberspace, New York, and Johannesburg. African Intimacies importantly challenges queer theory to examine its increasingly parochial reflection, while simultaneously relocating the study of things ‘African’ in a novel network of ideas, material flows, modalities, and registers.

International Journal African Historical Studies

This book is complex and dense. The book is sweeping in scope since it implicates an entire continent, but it is also specific and rich in its use of specific texts and circumstances in history to illustrate its central argument. Hoad’s African Intimacies is a thoughtful book that critically analyzes African literature and stories to provide a complex understanding of homosexuality and nationhood. Hoad is provocative.

Men and Masculinities

An important and timely intervention.

Journal of Asian and African Studies

African Intimacies bridges fields and conceptual ideas with a grace and seemingly effortlessness that is all the more impressive because of the elan with which it is accomplished. . . . African Intimacies leaves one wanting more.

Criticism

Hoad’s thorough knowledge of discourse on homosexuality in connection to Africa together with the clear, logical organization of the arguments and the vividly imaginative language are among the indisputable strengths of the book. With this book the author fulfills his goal of laying a foundation for the archive of diverse discourses surrounding African intimacies.

Anthropology Review Database

African Intimacies

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. African Sodomy in the Missionary Position: Corporeal Intimacies and Signifying Regimes
2. Decolonizing the Body: The African and African American in Wole Soyinka’s The Interpreters
3. Neoliberalism and the Church: The World Conference of Anglican Bishops
4. White Man’s Burden, White Man’s Disease: Tracking Lesbian and Gay Human Rights
5. The Intellectual, the Archive, and the Pandemic: Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS Blues
6. An Elegy for African Cosmopolitanism: Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow

Notes
Bibliography

Index