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Re-Visioning Homosexuality in the Nigerian Novel: A Study of Jude Dibia’s Walking With Shadows and Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees

By David Benson

Summary

[Sexuality] is the name that can be given to a historical construct: not a furtive reality that is difficult to grasp, but a great surface network in which the stimulation of bodies, the intensification of pleasures, the incitement to discourse, the formation of special knowledges, the strengthening of controls and resistances, are linked to one another, in accordance with a few major strategies of knowledge and power.(Foucault in History of Sexuality)
Re-Visioning Homosexuality in the Nigerian Novel: A Study of Jude Dibia’s Walking With Shadows and Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees
 
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Abstract

Abstract

Queer studies in Nigerian literature seem to still be stuck in the situation Chris Dunton described in 1989 claiming that homosexuality has been denied history by African writers. There has been a proliferation of works handling characters that are homosexual since the turn of the 21st Century, and not in the usual stereotypical and predictable way Dunton described. This study undertakes two such major works: Jude Dibia’s Walking with Shadows and Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees. Queer studies in Nigerian literature, when it is attempted, usually focus on queerness from a postcolonial or psychoanalytic view. This study goes a different route by focusing rather on the production of discourse and knowledge, and the strategies of power that inform the construction and maintenance of sexuality—both normative and non-normative—using the queer theory. It will also show how the dynamics of discourse regarding sexuality has informed the shift in the handling of homosexuality in the Nigerian novel.

Keywords: Discourse, Hetero-normative, Performativity, Sexuality, Homosexuality, Heterosexuality, Power.

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David Benson

David Benson

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