Multiple Modernities of Same-Sex Sexuality in Nigeria
Corley, Ide (2010) Multiple Modernities of Same-Sex Sexuality in Nigeria. European Science Foundation.
The workshop gathered 26 scholars from 9 ESF member states, Nigeria and the U.S.A. to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue about the social crises to which sexual politics have been linked in Nigeria. While a wide range of topics were discussed in different panels that extended across the three-day duration of the event, questions about the definition, translation and circulation of same-sex vocabularies recurred with specific attention to what exists and takes place outside the purview of the state. A central concern of the participants was to find ways of recognizing and representing same-sex desire and practice in Nigeria and in other parts of the so-called developing world without, at the same time, condoning the unilateral dissemination of Western gender/sexual codes through universal human rights instruments. Some of the workshop participants prioritized the histories of “real people” for exploring the multiplicities of cultures and bodily capacities. Others preferred to make recourse to queer theoretical models as a means of undoing the mechanisms which hinder our ability to perceive human multiplicity. On the whole, it was agreed that African populations have tended to resist the idea that sexuality defines the whole person and that contemporary international LGBT discourses have not sufficiently addressed the complexities of African cultural responses to the sexual question. Other sets of relations that may elude gender/sexual categorization may need to be established in order to promote and protect sexual freedoms in globalizing contexts. A qualified emphasis was placed on “the customary” in Africa as a potential archive of “other ways of doing things”.
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