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Queering Colonial Natal

Indigeneity and the Violence of Belonging in Southern Africa

2019
Author:

T. J. Tallie

Queering Colonial Natal

How were indigenous social practices deemed queer and aberrant by colonial forces?

In Queering Colonial Natal, T.J. Tallie travels to colonial Natal—established by the British in 1843, today South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province—to show how settler regimes “queered” indigenous practices. Tallie argues that the violent collisions between Africans, Indians, and Europeans in Natal shaped the conceptions of race and gender that bolstered each group’s claim to authority.

Brilliant, generous, and generative, Queering Colonial Natal seamlessly demonstrates why scholars of nineteenth-century South African history should read contemporary North American queer and indigenous history and vice versa. T.J. Tallie shows how and why South Africa should be in discussions of settler colonialism as well as how and why a global queer studies needs to pay attention to the history of a place like Natal.

Neville Hoad, author of African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization

In Queering Colonial Natal, T.J. Tallie travels to colonial Natal—established by the British in 1843, today South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province—to show how settler regimes “queered” indigenous practices. Defining them as threats to the normative order they sought to impose, they did so by delimiting Zulu polygamy; restricting alcohol access, clothing, and even friendship; and assigning only Europeans to government schools.

Using queer and critical indigenous theory, this book critically assesses Natal (where settlers were to remain a minority) in the context of the global settler colonial project in the nineteenth century to yield a new and engaging synthesis. Tallie explores the settler colonial history of Natal’s white settlers and how they sought to establish laws and rules for both whites and Africans based on European mores of sexuality and gender. At the same time, colonial archives reveal that many African and Indian people challenged such civilizational claims.

Ultimately Tallie argues that the violent collisions between Africans, Indians, and Europeans in Natal shaped the conceptions of race and gender that bolstered each group’s claim to authority.
Queering Colonial Natal

T.J. Tallie is assistant professor of history at the University of San Diego.

Queering Colonial Natal

Brilliant, generous, and generative, Queering Colonial Natal seamlessly demonstrates why scholars of nineteenth-century South African history should read contemporary North American queer and indigenous history and vice versa. T.J. Tallie shows how and why South Africa should be in discussions of settler colonialism as well as how and why a global queer studies needs to pay attention to the history of a place like Natal.

Neville Hoad, author of African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization

Sophisticated and brilliant. Queering Colonial Natal offers much needed interventions to ongoing conversations in settler colonial studies, queer studies, and Indigenous studies by expanding the geographies, political contexts, and theoretical stakes for historical analyses of white settlement and Indigenous resistances. In foregrounding case studies that expose the normative constraints white settlers imposed on Zulu as the exclusionary standards for civilized belonging, T.J. Tallie advances how critical Indigenous theory understands the colonial cacophonies of race, gender, and sexuality.

Jodi A. Byrd, author of The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism

Queering Colonial Natal

Contents

Introduction. Ukuphazama iNatali: Queerness, Indigeneity, and the Politics of an African Settler Colony

1. “That Shameful Trade in a Person”: Ilobolo and Polygamy

2. Sobriety and Settlement: The Politics of Alcohol

3. The Impossible Handshake: Sociability and the Fault Lines of Friendship

4. The Mission Field: Spiritual Transformation and Civilized Clothing

5. “To Become Useful and Patriotic Citizens”: Education and Belonging

Conclusion: Refracting Futures in Natal and Beyond

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index