From the Margins to the Centre: Language and Homesexual Identity Construction in Contemporary Nigerian Fiction


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of English Studies


Studies on Nigerian novels, from linguistic perspectives, have investigated its stylistic and semantic components with little attention paid to how Nigerian novelists deploy linguistic resources to construct and negotiate identities. This study, thus, investigates the use of context-specific linguistic forms to facilitate access to sexuality in Africa. It attempts to reveal how homosexual identity is mediated through language in Nigerian novels. Jude Dibia's "Walking With Shadows," Chris Abani's "Graceland," Chinelo Okparanta's "Under the Udala Trees," Chimamanda Adichie's "The Thing Around Your Neck," John Elnathan's "Born on a Tuesday" and Lola Shoneyin's "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" are sampled texts. Drawing upon the theoretical resources of Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Constructionism and Queer Linguistics that account for homosexual identity construction, these texts are read critically with a view to uncovering how language constructs identity in the selected novels. This investigation promises a clearer understanding of homosexuality in Nigerian novels.