Essential Reading.


On Saturday, December 1, I was part of a roundtable discussing African Same-sex stuff at the African Studies Association conference (#ASA2012—yes, American Studies, we will fight over this hashtag) held in Philadelphia. I’m going to weave in and out of what I wrote and also reflect, a little, on the session, beginning not from what the panelists said, but from what the audience seemed to want. During question time, an older gentleman who identified himself as Kenyan cautioned us that people around his area (the Rift Valley, Nandi) did not talk about sex or sexuality. He warned us to be very careful about what we were doing. This desire for respectful silence contrasted with another strong desire in the room to find the African homosexual. Repeatedly, the roundtable panel heard variations of, “was there homosexuality in pre-colonial African? Does the word homosexual appear in African languages? Where is the African…

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