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Of Female Husbands and Boarding School Girls: Gender Bending in Unoma Azuah's Fiction

Abstract : While Azuah's novel Sky-High Flames (2005) is firmly grounded in the Igbo sociological context, comprising ancestor worship, the cult of a female god dess, polygamy, and the levirate, the novel taps into the practice of female husbandry documented by cultural anthropologists (e.g., Sylvia Leith-Ross and Ifi Amadiume, whose theories I reassess), previous West African literary attempts at representing lesbian seduction, as well relational nexuses within the boarding school system. Nigerian feminisms, I argue, need to make room for the material factors of "doing lesbian." While pointing to this debut novel's reluctance to allow same-sex desire to develop, I also comment on womanly relationality, such as Azuah's displaced (auto)biographical vestment in her aunt's story, as well as on moments of intimacy between women, which augur the new Nigerian novel's capacity to comment on the economy of pleasures and on the way of constituting oneself as the moral subject of one's sexual conduct.
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Soumis le : lundi 21 janvier 2019 - 22:21:18
Dernière modification le : samedi 25 juin 2022 - 21:00:34


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  • HAL Id : hal-01988716, version 1


Chantal Zabus. Of Female Husbands and Boarding School Girls: Gender Bending in Unoma Azuah's Fiction. Research in African Literatures, Indiana University Press, 2014, Nigeria's Third-Generation Novel: Preliminary Theoretical Engagements, 9 (2), pp.93-107. ⟨hal-01988716⟩



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