By Hoad N.W.
There were few book-length engagements with the query of sexuality in Africa, not to mention African homosexuality. African Intimacies at the same time responds to the general public debate at the “Africanness” of homosexuality and interrogates the meaningfulness of the phrases “sexuality” and “homosexuality” outdoors Euro-American discourse. Speculating on cultural practices interpreted by way of missionaries as sodomy and resistance to colonialism, Neville Hoad starts off by means of examining the 1886 Bugandan martyrs incident—the execution of thirty males within the royal court docket. Then, in a chain of shut readings, he addresses questions of race, intercourse, and globalization within the 1965 Wole Soyinka novel The Interpreters, examines the emblematic 1998 Lambeth convention of Anglican bishops, considers the imperial legacy in depictions of the HIV/AIDS obstacle, and divulges how South African author Phaswane Mpe’s modern novel Welcome to Our Hillbrow problematizes notions of African id and cosmopolitanism. Hoad’s review of the old valence of homosexuality in Africa indicates how the class has served a key function in a bigger tale, one during which sexuality has been made in keeping with a imaginative and prescient of white Western fact, restricting an figuring out of intimacy that can think an African universalism. Neville Hoad is assistant professor of English on the college of Texas, Austin.
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Additional info for African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization
27 Although the executions can be seen as politically generative, the acts that lead up to them cannot. In addition, the possibility exists of connections between the Mwanga episode in 1885–86 and the Wilde scandal ten years later. While I have not found any pictures or drawings of Mwanga in the British press, it is reasonable to speculate on how his physical appearance may have been imagined. Blind to its own highly elaborate ornamentation, middle-class British masculinity would probably imagine the costume of the kabaka—a leopard skin cloak, ostrich feather plumes, and naked chest28—as both hypervirilized (connotating despotism, hunting prowess, and naked animal strength) and paradoxically feminine in the perceived elaborateness of the display.
INTRODUCTION xxix Let me work through a perhaps surprising example. John Le Carré’s The Constant Gardener (2001), a New York Times best-seller, imagines the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa in ways that engage all the central problems of African Intimacies and, along the way, makes the argument for the value of fiction and literary reading. Le Carré has perhaps written the first popular novel in English to read globalization critically. Inevitably, the novel reproduces many of the social and political forces it attempts to critique.
It may be instructive to speculate here on how the Ganda may have perceived the missionaries—the White Fathers with an explicit ideology and practice of celibacy, in contrast to the Anglican missionaries who were not prohibited from marrying. Displacements around the national, racial, and historical character of same-sex sex acts and desires are a feature of European discourse on the subject at the last fin de siècle. To return to Roman invocations, strange shifts in identifications take place.
African Intimacies: Race, Homosexuality, and Globalization by Hoad N.W.