Queer Self-Making in Neoliberal Ghana

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Posted in Lectures

A book talk with Kwame Edwin Otu

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

5:00 PM ET, In-Person Event, Mandatory RSVP

Arrupe Hall 1st Floor, Georgetown University Main Campus

Presented by Gender+ Justice InitiativeDC Public Library, Women’s and Gender StudiesAfrican StudiesAnthropology Department and Mortara Center for International Studies

Join us for a book talk on Georgetown Professor Kwame Edwin Otu‘s book, Amphibious Subjects: Sasso and the Contested Politics of Queer Self-Making in Neoliberal Ghana, (2022).

Dr. Otu will be in conversation with Francis Boakye, Executive Director, Priorities on Rights and Sexual Health

Amphibious Subjects (University of California Press, 2022) is an ethnographic study of a community of self-identified effeminate men—known in local parlance as Sasso—residing in coastal Jamestown, a suburb of Accra, Ghana’s capital. Drawing on the Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Gyekye’s notion of “amphibious personhood,” Kwame Edwin Otu argues that Sasso embody and articulate amphibious subjectivity, creating an identity that transcends the western binary of gender and sexuality. Such subjectivity simultaneously upends misconceptions purported by the Christian heteronationalist state and LGBTQ+ human rights organizations that Ghana is predominantly heterosexual or homophobic. Weaving together personal interactions with Sasso, participant observation, autoethnography, archival sources, essays from African and African-diasporic literature, and critical analyses of documentaries such as the BBC’s The World’s Worst Place to Be Gay, Amphibious Subjects is an ethnographic meditation on how Africa is configured as the “heart of homophobic darkness” in transnational LGBT+ human rights imaginaries.

About the author:

Dr. Kwame Edwin Otu is associate professor of African Studies at Georgetown University. Professor Otu is a cultural anthropologist with varied interests, ranging from the politics of sexual, environmental, and technological citizenships, public health, and their intersections with shifting racial formations in neocolonial and neoliberal Africa and the African Diaspora. Otu’s first book monograph is entitled, Amphibious Subjects: Sasso and the Contested Politics of Queer Self-Making in Neoliberal Ghana (University of California Press, 2022). The book is an ethnography on queer self-fashioning among a community of self-identified effeminate men, known in local parlance as Sasso. 

More information on the book

Accommodation requests can be made at genderjustice@georgetown.edu

This event is free and open to all.

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