Program

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships , ACLS Fellowship Program

Project

When We See It, We Shall Be Happy: The Mbari Movement, Queer Emergence, and Counterpublics in the Production of African Literature

Project

Sex, Gender, and the Making of Postcolonial African Literature

Department

Literature

Named Award

ACLS Pauline Yu Fellow

When We See It, We Shall Be Happy: The Mbari Movement, Queer Emergence, and Counterpublics in the Production of African Literature

This project examines the impact of counterpublics, or social imaginaries constituted by shared attention to texts and discourses, on the production of African literature, with a specific focus on Nigerian modernist and sexual counterpublics. It considers the material influence of the Mbari movement—a 1960s transnational countercultural movement that promoted and connected artists and writers of the black Atlantic—on trends in African publishing. The project also considers discourses of Nigerian queer counterpublics and argues that such discourses must be understood in relation to both indigenous sexual traditions and the implanted heterosexual public. While seemingly disparate topics, at their points and times of emergence both modernist and sexual counterpublics represent significant literary trends that have impacted the larger field of production. Thus, a central task of this dissertation will be to theorize emergence and the emergent as they apply to twentieth- and twenty-first-century West African literary spaces and discourses.

Sex, Gender, and the Making of Postcolonial African Literature

This book project offers a portrait of the continuous deployment of sex and gender in the making of West African literature from the emergence of modernist writing to the present-day emergence of LGBTQIA literature. It is especially concerned with how discourses of heterocolonial modernity have constrained the conditions of emergence for literature by women and other sex and gender minorities. The work invites us to consider both the sexual and gendered nature of postcolonial literary publics and the attenuated publicness of sexuality and gender as these two corollaries have specifically guided the material and discursive development of African literature within global and transnational frameworks.