Queer African studies and directions in methodology

Authored by: Julie Moreau , T.J. Tallie

Routledge Handbook of Queer African Studies

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138503472
eBook ISBN: 9781351141963
Adobe ISBN:


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In the last few decades, scholars informed by queer theory have developed powerful tools for analyzing the production and maintenance of gendered and sexual norms. However, a growing body of scholarship challenges the Euro-American focus within the field. One site of this project is queer African studies, a shifting but coherent aggregate of work by scholars, artists, and activists that seeks to reexamine and recast historic relations of gender and sexuality on the continent. In his discussion of how to conceptualize the archive while thinking through both queer and African studies, Keguro Macharia (2015) addresses the question of methods. For Macharia, methods are hardly self-evident. They are not “objective practices to be applied to inert material” (Macharia 2015, 144). Rather, to consider methodology is itself a “struggle,” a provisional labor (Macharia 2015, 143). Such struggles are particularly loaded, as Sylvia Tamale (2011) has asserted, as methodologies are frequently created within histories of imperialism and violence against black communities (Connell 2014; Matebeni 2013b; Oyewumi 2005). The development of a methodology, then, is “work to be undertaken by many minds and bodies engaged in ongoing conversation, attempting to listen to each other, and willing to take conceptual and methodological risks” (Macharia 2015, 143–4). It is the objective of this chapter to highlight aspects of this ongoing conversation within queer African studies.

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