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Battleground Bodies

Gender and Sexuality in Mozambican Literature

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Eleanor K. Jones

This is the first book to provide a comparative exploration of the gendered and sexual body in Mozambican literature, engaging with the work of six authors spanning different generations, styles and aesthetics. The study begins by providing a detailed and innovative survey of the dynamics of gender, sexuality and power in the Portuguese colonial and Mozambican post-independence contexts, from the nineteenth century to the turn of the millennium. This initial investigation provides the sociohistorical backdrop for in-depth analyses of representations, uses and subversions of the body in poetry and prose fiction by José Craveirinha, Noémia de Sousa, Lília Momplé, Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa, Paulina Chiziane and Suleiman Cassamo. Using a wide and interdisciplinary range of theoretical frameworks, the book offers a fresh and creative new perspective on Mozambican history, political life and literary output.

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Chapter 2: Unma(s)king Hegemony: Negotiating Masculinities in José Craveirinha and Paulina Chiziane

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Chapter 2 Unma(s)king Hegemony: Negotiating Masculinities in José Craveirinha and Paulina Chiziane1 Tomorrow there will be no master left, because everybody will be the master of himself. This is the lesson of poetry and it is essential for the success of the Revolution. — ‘The Role of Poetry in the Mozambican Revolution’ (1969: 32) The task of foregrounding the historically marginalized experiences of women has remained axiomatic to feminist gender scholarship since its earliest inception. In a world in which the putatively universal subject of philosophical and political enquiry is still assumed as male, and in which attempts to alter this status quo are diminished in academia as specialist or niche efforts, the privileging of women’s histories has rightly been recog- nized by scholars of gender as a foundational priority. The late 1980s rise of theoretical schemata based on the contingency of gendered categories served to spark an increased engagement of feminist theory with the study of men as gendered subjects themselves, but the development of masculinity studies has nonetheless remained a slow process; as Scott Coltrane affirms, ‘research on men is as old as scholarship itself, but a focus on masculinity, or men as explicitly gendered individuals, is relatively recent’ (1994: 41). The study of gender in African contexts, itself a nascent field, has presented in a similar pattern, with gender becoming a ‘major research focus’ while the default universality of the male subject precluded gendered analysis 1 This chapter is an expanded version of an article originally...

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