Sex and Sexuality in Africa: A Brief History

Since at least the 1980s, historians of Africa have produced a rich and nuanced scholarship on sex and sexuality on the continent. Much of this research has focused on undoing myths and taboos around African sexuality, and it argues that the remaking of African gender relations and sexuality was crucial to the making of capitalist colonial (and indeed postcolonial) states. This book project, titled Sex and Sexuality in Africa: A Brief History, aims to provide readers – from undergraduate students to interested members of the public – with an overview of this complex, and occasionally confusing body of work, and also to reflect critically on what historians have – and have not – included in their research. It tries to avoid the almost inevitable focus on disease, death, and violence which characterises many studies of sexuality in Africa. Although important topics, this book also pays attention to histories of love, sex education, and pornography, for instance. It asks: what are the tensions – if any – between scholars based abroad and those on the continent? How do we use theory produced in major northern institutions, and often by established and powerful northern scholars, in Africa? How does work on and by Africans reshape the international scholarship?

Project leader(s):
  • Sarah Emily Duff (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand)

One response to “Sex and Sexuality in Africa: A Brief History”

  1. Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala
    Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala on 8 February 2017 at 02:27: Reply

    Go for it Sarah. Please send me a copy when the book is done.

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