Show Less

Battleground Bodies

Gender and Sexuality in Mozambican Literature


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.


Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 3: Strategies of Disidentification: Rewriting Femininity in Noémia de Sousa and Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa


Chapter 3 Strategies of Disidentification: Rewriting Femininity in Noémia de Sousa and Ungulani Ba Ka Khosa With each new manifestation of imperial venture that constituted the half- millennia of Portuguese presence in sub-Saharan Africa, one construct saw itself consistently reiterated at the levels of both discourse and practice: that of the black body as at once repellant and beguiling, inferior and threaten- ing. From the early narratives of expansionism that transformed the pro- found fear of the unknown into the ideological framework of imperialism, thereby framing the black body as both tabula rasa for Western cultural and spiritual inscription and as a savage menace to the social order, to the justifications of slavery that emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to rationalize the brutal instrumentalization of Africans in service of European desires;1 and from the anxious conceptions of racial hygiene that became officially intertwined with colonial border uncertainties in the late nineteenth century, typified by António Ennes’s 1893 treatise, to the romanticized Lusotropicalist doublethink of ‘racial democracy’ at the heart of Salazar’s racist dictatorship, fear and loathing of black corporeality provided the consistent axis on which Portuguese imperial thought and action turned. Within this ambivalent and prohibitive framework, black Mozambican women were discursively cast as both racially despised and sexually fetishized. At the level of policy, meanwhile, living under a regime that precluded both women and the vast majority of black men from citizen- ship, black women were doubly excluded from participation in public life. As...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.