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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2015

Shared Pleasures and StrangeE lisions: Three Types of Queer Ambiguity and 'Return-Migration' in Afrosporic Fiction



In light of the emergenceo fA frican texts addressings ame-sex desirea so ft he late 1970s, Ie xamine threet ypes of queer Afrosporic women'sw riting, i. e., Sky-High Flames (2005) by Nigerian, US-based Unoma Azuah; Cracks (1999) by South African, US-based Sheila Kohler;a nd TheW orld Unseen (2001) by Shamim Sarif, born in the United Kingdom of African and Indian descent.These authors' characters ared oublyd iasporic on account of their queer-ness, complicated by two imaginative renditions of "return" − "return migration" and "ethnic return migration." Even if the passage fromt he sendings ociety to the host society and the re-location in aW estern country was voluntary,a ll threew riters' imaginative return-migration involves some significant tension between the source and the targetcultures, which is also verifiable in the authors' shuttlingb ack and forth between sendinga nd host society and in the canonical source subtexts that all three authors targett or evisit or subvert.I ne xaminingh ow these authors' diasporicity impacted upon the representations of queer encounters, Ia lso aim to show how this empoweringrepresentation of queer subjectivity and desireisfraught with eli-sions,which Ideem strangegiven the authors' supposedlyenabling displacement and relocation in the diasporic space. In the wake of the emergence of African texts addressing same-sex desire as of the late 1970s, African diasporic or Afrosporic fictions tarted outlining as ubtle movea wayfrom earlier concerns with establishinghomosexualityasalivede x-perience contributing to shapingidentity towards increased reciprocity in same-sex relationships. Unlikee arlya nthropological discourse, which tried to establish exclusive links between homosexualityand initiation rites,and unlikecolo-nial discourse, which often documented unequalrelations between partners (dif-ferences in age, social status, and pecuniary means), ag rowingn umber of Afrosporic literaryt extsp roject what Plutarch called charis. The term could be translated as what Michel Foucault called "la grâce,"¹ referringt ot he loveo f boys,or, in English, "obligingness" or "gracious reciprocity" and, in am ore recent legal discourse imbued with Human Rights vocabulary,a s" consent." My main focus is here on threet ypes of queer Afrosporic women'sw riting: one thate lidest he desire; one that demonizes it; and one that represents it more directlya nd positively. The first of these is the Nigerian, US-based Unoma Azuah; the second, the South African, US-based Sheila Kohler; and, last,S hamim Sarif, borni nt he United Kingdom of South African and South Asian descent.Despite theirelected exile and positioning,all three women writ- Michel Foucault, Histoired el as exualité: Le souci de soi (Paris:G allimard, ): .
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hal-02090846 , version 1 (05-04-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02090846 , version 1


Chantal Zabus. Shared Pleasures and StrangeE lisions: Three Types of Queer Ambiguity and 'Return-Migration' in Afrosporic Fiction. Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging. Ed. Klaus Stierstorfer, 2015. ⟨hal-02090846⟩
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