CFP: Disruptive Bodies, Unsettling Truths: LGBTQI+ Migrations on and from the African Continent (ASAA2022 Conference, Cape Town, April 11-16)

B Camminga Announcement
South Africa
Subject Fields
Human Rights, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Sexuality Studies, Sociology, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Call for Papers ASAA2022 Conference Panel April 11-16, Cape Town

Disruptive Bodies, Unsettling Truths: LGBTQI+ Migrations on and From the African Continent

On 15 November 1884, the major European powers met in Berlin to carve up a continent. While as an event, the ‘scramble for Africa’ lasted less than a century, its legacies can be seen in many contemporary social, legal and cultural structures on the continent. These inherited modes of social regulation are perhaps most visible in the use of colonial-era penal codes. Those perceived to transgress sexual and gender norms are frequently subjected to exclusion, violence, surveillance, and in some cases, criminal prosecution – positioning anything outside the bounds of heterosexuality as patently unAfrican. This has led to a new phenomenon in Africa’s long history of migration: the movement of people fleeing persecution on the grounds of their sexuality and/or gender. Alongside this movement, the existence of anti-LGBTQI+ laws and the prevalence of heteronormative rhetoric are increasingly cited by Western commentators as evidence of Africa’s inescapable brutality. In the process, the colonial notion of a savage continent in need of salvation is repackaged and repurposed for the twenty-first century. Despite a growing body of knowledge challenging this, at the centre of this discourse is the figure of the LGBTQI+ refugee, always imagined as seeking freedom and liberation in the ‘progressive’ West. This panel seeks to contribute to existing scholarly debates on LGBTQI+ migration by bringing together diverse inputs with a particular interest in what happens when borders, sexualities, genders, identities, languages and mobilities come up against the histories, trajectories, futures and imaginaries of the African continent.


Dr B Camminga (African Centre for Migration and Society, Wits University)

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