This article examines representations of same-sex desire in recent francophone postcolonial literature written by gay and lesbian authors from the Maghreb, where long-established traditions pertaining to gender and sexuality are brought into contact with new forms of gender and sexual difference, resulting from the inflection of globally circulating discourses and embodiments of queerness in Africa and the experience of emigration and settlement by the writers concerned in France. The paper analyzes how Rachid O., Abdellah Taïa, and Nina Bouraoui foreground translation and narrative reflexivity around incommensurable spaces of queerness in order to index their negotiations of multiple languages, histories, cultures, and audiences. By writing in French, these writers are not merely mimicking the language of their former colonizers, but inflecting a European language with vocabularies and turns of phrase indigenous to North African cultures, thus creating new possibilities of meaning and expression to name their lived experience of sexual alterity—a form of (queer) translational praxis that destabilizes received gender/sexual categories both within the Maghreb and in Europe.


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pp. 104-120
Launched on MUSE
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