This article places Chinua Achebe’s fiction within emerging scholarship on queer sexualities in African literatures. While Achebe’s fiction does not disclose specified embodiments of gay or lesbian identities or incontrovertible same-sex erotic acts, we can apprehend proliferating figurations of the queer in his fiction by paying attention to a cluster of sexual/political signifiers: the buttocks, the python, and Mami Wata. Through close readings, the author positions Things Fall Apart and Anthills of the Savannah as bookends to Achebe’s reflections on queer possibilities. Sex and sexual idioms take on amplified functions in Achebe’s fiction because there is no simply homology between sexuality and politics, but a series of temporally unfolding rearticulations of sexual politics. The right to sexual protection and the freedom to practice sex thus becomes part of the struggle for a democratic common in Chinua Achebe’s fictional worlds. Chinua Achebe was always already thinking of an African queer emergence as a measure of democratic politics.


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pp. 162-185
Launched on MUSE
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