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Term 2 Week 4: Love and Sexuality

This week examines a range of issues in the history of love, romance and sexuality. We will consider a range of relationships, from ‘heterosexual’ to 'same-sex' relationships. We will also consider contemporary movements for LGBTQ+ rights and the impacts of HIV/AIDS.

Core Reading

Lynn M. Thomas and Jennifer Cole, 'Introduction: Thinking Through Love in Africa', in Jennifer Cole and Lynn M. Thomas (eds), Love in Africa (Chicago, 2009), pp. 1-30. Ebook [via The Library and Google Books]

Lynn M. Thomas, 'Love, Sex and the Modern Girl in 1930s Southern Africa', in Jennifer Cole and Lynn M. Thomas (eds), Love in Africa (Chicago, 2009), pp. 31-57. Ebook [via The Library and Google Books]

Various excerpts from DRUM Magazine's 'agony aunt' column, originally called 'Priscilla Asks', and later 'Dear Dolly'.

M. Epprecht, ‘Sexuality, Africa, History’, The American Historical Review, 114 (2009), pp. 1258–72.

Donald Donham, 'Freeing South Africa: The "Modernization" of Male‐Male Sexuality in Soweto', Cultural Anthropology, 13, 1 (1998), pp. 3-21.

Seminar Questions

1. What insights into African history can be gained by 'thinking through love' (Thomas and Cole)?

2. What do we learn about perceptions and experiences of love, sex and relationships from the 'Dear Dolly' columns?

3. Are Western categorisations of sexuality useful in the study of southern African sexualities?

4. How has HIV/AIDS impacted romantic and sexual relationships in southern Africa?

Further Reading

Signe Arnfred (ed), Re-thinking Sexualities in Africa (2004)

Keith Breckenridge, 'Love Letters and Amanuenses: Beginning the Cultural History of the Working Class Private Sphere in Southern Africa, 1900-1933', Journal of Southern African Studies, 26, 2 (2000), pp. 337-348.

Jennifer Cole and Lynn M. Thomas (eds), Love in Africa (Chicago, 2009)

Donald L. Donham, The Erotics of History: An Atlantic African Example (University of California Press, 2018)

Mark Epprecht, 'The Gay Oral History Project: Black empowerment, human rights, and the research
process', History in Africa: A Journal of Method 26 (1999), pp. 25-41.

Mark Epprecht, Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa (Montreal, 2004)

Mark Epprecht, 'Black skin, ‘cowboy’ masculinity: A genealogy of homophobia in the African nationalist movement in Zimbabwe to 1983', Culture, Health & Sexuality: An International Journal for Research, Intervention and Care, 7, 3 (2005), pp. 253-266.

Mark Epprecht, Heterosexual Africa?: The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of AIDS (Athens OH, 2008)

Mark Epprecht, Sexuality and Social Justice in Africa: Rethinking Homophobia and Forging Resistance (London, 2013)

John Iliffe, The African AIDS Epidemic: A History (Athens OH, 2006)

Thabo Msibi, '"I'm used to it now": experiences of homophobia among queer youth in South African township schools', Gender and Education, 24 (2012), pp. 515-533.

Mark Hunter, Love in the Time of AIDS: Inequality, Gender, and Rights in South Africa (2010)

Brenna M. Munro, South Africa and the Dream of Love to Come: Queer Sexuality and the Struggle for Freedom (London, 2012)

Rachel Sandwell, '"Love I Cannot Begin to Explain": The Politics of Reproduction in the ANC in Exile, 1976–1990', Journal of Southern African Studies, 41, 1 (2015), pp. 63-81.

Sylvia Tamale (ed), African Sexualities: A Reader (2011)