Queer African Visualities

Special 2020 issue for Literator on Queer African Visualities

The recent surge in scholarship on queer African visuality, in, for example Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa (Landau and Griffen 2002), Choreographies of African Identities: Négritude, Dance, and the National Ballet of Senegal (Castaldi 2006), and Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences (Smith-Shomade 2012), has brought into sharp focus the queer somapolitics of body-technics-visuality-technology assemblages. In these frames, queer visuality can be understood as a new present-future philosophical and ethico-political horizon that views the body, visuality and technology as coimbricated and mutually interdependent in contemporary society.

Furthermore, as Mel Chen (2016, 237) argues, ‘temporality scholarship has established [that] time plays out multiply and unsteadily’, thus disrupting notions that pre-coloniality, coloniality and decoloniality are discreet. Such views, at any rate, blind us to the many and varied material-cultural entanglements spread across multiple temporal rhythms. A queer visuality, on the other hand, calls for richer, more complex understandings of temporality and subjectivity that refuse linear, flat explanations. How, then, are we to think about corporeality, queer visuality and technology without negating the problematics of the (colonial) gaze and spectatorial politics?

Furthermore, what happens when historically excluded bodies enter visuality? What kinds of analyses are needed to disrupt linear and Eurocentric and able-ist conceptions of visualised modernity? What are the power operations on/with/through bodies, visuality and technologies and how do these converge, align or negate the body politic? In essence, what happens when ‘queer’, ‘visuality’, and ‘African’ enter the same sentence?

Possible avenues to explore include, but are not limited to:

  • investigations into the works of artists like Wanuri Kahiu, Dean Hutton, Steven Cohen, Zanele Muholi, Sara Davidmann, Tania De Rozario, Bahman Mohassess
  • explorations of Black Panther, Inxeba, Kwezi
  • visual activism
  • race as aesthetics
  • the politics of racial visualities
  • problematic notions of racial resilience in African and Black queer visualities
  • relations between the body, visuality and technology (somapolitics, somatechnics)
  • problematisations of spectatorial politics
  • queer African and Black visuality in pedagogical settings
  • queer African and Black visuality in literatures
  • critical disability perspectives
  • critical reflections on symbolism, dress codes and other aesthetic considerations related to African queer visuality and/or Black queer visuality
  • philosophical perspectives
  • decolonial perspectives
  • temporality perspectives
  • Black queer resistance
  • visual representations of black queer diaspora artists such as Adejoke Tugbiyele and James Chuchu

We invite articles of 5000 – 7000 words (excluding unstructured abstract and references) for inclusion in a special issue of Literator, to be published in 2020.

Proposals of 1,000 words should be sent to Chantelle Gray (gray.chantelle@gmail.com) and Wemar Strydom (wemar.strydom@nwu.ac.za) by 31 October 2019. Full papers are due no later than 28 February 2020.

Author guidelines can be found here: https://literator.org.za/index.php/literator/pages/view/submission-guidelines#part_1