Spaces and Temporalities: Literary Narratives and the Creation of a Queer Archive in North Africa


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Modern Foreign Languages


This study analyses the role of literature in creating knowledge and an archive of “marginal” sexuality in North Africa. Cultural and religious discourses have not only marginalised non-normative sexualities but more importantly rendered them invisible. A bourgeoning body of literary works has dared to break the implicit pact of silence on such sexualities. Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s postulations on the archive, this study contends that the construction of an archive of “marginal” sexuality involves a questioning and challenging of the existing hegemonic heteronormative archive of sexuality which has deliberately rendered non-normative sexualities invisible, taboo and unsayable. This study will show that in the quest to re-member these marginalised sexualities; the project to construct an archive and knowledge of “marginal” sexualities relies greatly on the French archive of non-normative sexualities. This reliance is however imbued with agency considering how the selected corpus of literary texts also destabilise the orientalist gaze which has constructed North African sexualities as exotic and ‘other’.