“There is a specific strain of queer theory seeded in Southern African soil – a permutation that, for its specific geo-affective location, seems all the more lived, more humanistic-centred, more humane.” (Strydom, 2018:01)


Second CfP for stilet.digital issue 32(4)

The preponderance of queer South African anthologies and online collectives, coupled with the rising pop-cultural capital of queerness in SA, may, at first glance, seem to be indicative that there is, indeed, a contextualised manner in which ‘queer’ is made to fit the needs and wants of a specific place at a specific time.

On closer inspection, however, questions arise about the way queerness is coupled with a specific geographic point-in-time: After decades of social injustice, how does queerness mesh with current trends in SA towards the normal, the uniform, the patriotic? How does queerness trouble the national project, post-1994? And, in terms of critical work on identity-in-place and identity-in-time: What dialogues are possible/necessary between queer theory and South African feminisms? How do queerness and blackness, or black consciousness intersect? Similarly, how do queerness and whiteness (or, queer theory and whiteness studies) intersect? Lastly, in terms of literary studies: how does queer theory and queerness deploy differently in the different South African literary canons? How has queerness, fluid and LGBT writing diverged? How have SA scholars built on groundwork laid by, and the continuing interrogations of, Jack Halberstam, Kadji Amin, Mel Y Chen, David L. Eng, Tim Dean, Juana María Rodríguez, Mark Rifkin, Martin F. Manalasan, Sara Ahmed, José Esteban Muñoz and others?

In posing these questions, we’d like to invite contributions to Queer Theory & Southern African Narrative Texts, an issue which attempts a tracing of how queer theory – and queerness more generally – has impacted the study of SA letters, what current trends are, and what a queer (South) African literary future might look like.

We seek to build on interdisciplinary conversations by inviting contributions from a range of methodological frameworks, archives, contexts, and approaches. While our starting point is queerness in Afrikaans narrative (including filmic) texts, we very much want to invite considerations on the same issue in other literary fields in South Africa, and comparative work. (As well as work that critiques – and expands – how queerness functions interdisciplinarily.)

Contributions are expected under three main sections:

  • Comprehensive overview pieces, under the format ‘Queer theory and X’ (for example, Queer theory and Afrikaans literature; Queer theory and the multicultural literature classroom; Queer theory and South African soap operas; Queer kwaito; LGBTQIA-focussed Afrikaans YA lit; Queerness in the publishing industry; Queer theory and hip-hop activism; Queerness in 1990s South African cinema; Queering HIV literature)
  • Alternative assessments of the literary output of prominent queer figures (Makhosazana Xaba; Edwin Cameron; Zackie Achmat; Pieter-Dirk Uys; Shaun de Waal,) institutions (GALA; Homeros; Gay@LitNet; Pennetrant-skryfskool), overlooked texts and oeuvres (Dollar Vasani; Francois Loots; Mark Behr; Richard de Nooy; Michael Power/Laurence Eben) or oeuvres in which queer elements remain underresearched (Bettina Wyngaard; Richard Rive; Stephen Gray; Lauren Beukes; Jans Rautenbach; Stephan Bouwer)
  • Theoretical deliberations on decolonial queerness; queer kinship(s); the limitations of queer theory in the global South; queer embodiment (cinematic, fictional, performative, affective-historical); queer academia in South Africa; queering genre; queer-of-colour theory in the frame of Black consciousness; the relation between LGBTQIA anthologies and queerness; productive conflations between queerness and queer theory; queer (South) African temporalities, diasporas, lineage

Statements of intent can be sent to Bibi Burger (bibi.burger@up.ac.za) and Wemar Strydom (wemar.strydom@nwu.ac.za), to reach us by 01 July 2020. Original academic research (of between 5,000 and 8,000 words) in any language, as well as shorter considerations (of up to 3,000 words) of authors, public figures, institutions and texts are expected by 01 December 2020, with publication in 2021.

Digital, visual and creative work, in response to the themes outlined above, is also very much welcomed, as are long-form profiles on authors and poets, including Bettina Wyngaard, Loftus Marais, Francois Loots, Emma Huismans, Francois Bloemhof, Welma Odendaal, Fourie Botha, and Marlize Hobbs, as well as on scholar-authors/poets such as Marius Crous, Stephen Gray and Marthinus Beukes.






Cited: Strydom, Wemar.  2018.  Discursive cuts, receptive wounds: notes on the reception of Inxeba/The Wound.  Image & Text, 32.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2617-3255/2018/n32a1