Queer Childhoods and Multidirectional Desire

  • Christopher E. W. OumaEmail author
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


This chapter looks at the production of desire and therefore the connections between gendered childhoods and sexuality. The chapter begins from the premise that while the category of childhood has in the past signposted the packaging of knowledge about the continent, gendered childhoods have allowed contemporary African writers to foreground the connections between the heteronormativity of the African literary canon and the imperial project of the nation-state. In this way, connections are made between the heteropatriarchal image of the nation and its homophobic order. So the chapter reads Chris Abani’s authorial choices and narrative positionality in Graceland and The Virgin of Flames as queering masculine imagination, by foregrounding the performance of masculinity in ways that foreground the multidirectional desires embedded in these performances. The chapter reads the way Abani’s authorial choices unsettle heteronormative authorial positionality in ways that speak to the ideas of Stephen Frosh and Judith Butler.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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