What would it mean for both queer and African diaspora studies to theorize that the black Atlantic has always been a queer Atlantic? What new geography—or better, oceanography—of sexual, gendered, transnational, and racial identities might emerge through a queer reading of transoceanic dislocations between Africa and the Caribbean? This article examines canonical African diaspora and queer theoretical texts in dialogue with recently published creative texts that imagine queer relationships between African kidnapees in slave ships' holds. These creative texts, I argue, more expansively theorize conceptual space both to rethink submerged sexual, racial histories and to comment on the intersections between African diaspora and queer experiences in a contemporary era of Haitian refugees, transnational Dominican laborers, and international West Indian "gay" activists. Texts examined include Paul Gilroy's Black Atlantic (1993), Judith Butler's Gender Trouble (1990), Ana-Maurine Lara's Erzulie's Skirt (2006), and Dionne Brand's Map to the Door of No Return (2001).
GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies – Duke University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2008
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