1st Edition

Queer Word- and World-Making in South Africa Dignified Sounds

By Taylor Riley Copyright 2021
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    Focusing on everyday experiences of sexuality in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, this book considers personal narratives and other queer artefacts to shed light on linguistic and performative strategies of resistance, referred to as queer word- and world-making.

    Questions of non-normative expressions of gender and sexuality in South Africa refer to the politics of words, and to their contested meanings and valuations reflected in the way that they roll off tongues. If sexualities are not merely acts, feelings, or identities, but embodiments of desires which invoke and influence social contexts, assumptions about sexuality as a realm of situated knowledge cannot be trusted at face-value. Taylor Riley considers the meanings coded in words used to depict same-sexualities and the productive silences which surround them, and how those meanings are embraced, altered, and resisted through labors of everyday existence.

    The volume sheds new light on and personalizes the highly contested meanings which surround queer life and LGBTI rights in South Africa. It will be of interest to scholars and upper-level students of anthropology, queer studies and African studies.

    Introduction;  1. Theorizing un/dignified sounds in the postapartheid landscape;  2. Performance everyday labors, and world-making;  3. Acting straight and acting straight: (De)queering performativity;  4. Language, subversion, and dignified sounds: The making and unmaking of wor(l)ds;  5. Sex after discourse, life after queer


    Taylor Riley is a queer anthropologist and lecturer in gender and sexuality studies. She received her PhD from BIGSAS, University of Bayreuth (2018). Since 2016, she has taught at different institutions, including Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the University of Augsburg, the University of California, Riverside, and the University of California, Irvine.

    "Taylor Riley’s deep respect for her South African interlocutors as fellow theorists emerges in rich ethnographic detail. The book’s focus on sound pushes the field in new ways, adding a great deal to our understanding of queer lives in Africa."

    Katrina Daly Thompson, Professor & Chair of African Cultural Studies, Director of the African Languages Program, University of Wisconsin – Madison