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Self-Imposed Exile, Marginality, and Homosexuality in the Novels of Abdellah Taïa, Rachid O., and Eyet-Chékib Djaziri.

Authors
  • Ncube, Gibson1, 2
  • 1 Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Zimbabwe , Harare, Zimbabwe. , (Zimbabwe)
  • 2 Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Wallenberg Research Centre at Stellenbosch University , Stellenbosch, South Africa. , (South Africa)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of homosexuality
Publication Date
Nov 09, 2020
Volume
67
Issue
13
Pages
1823–1838
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2019.1610631
PMID: 31081490
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

A burgeoning canon of Maghrebian writers in self-imposed exiled in France has in the last decade begun to openly broach the subject of homosexuality in Arab-Muslim communities of the Maghreb. Novels of writers like Abdellah Taïa, Rachid O. and Eyet-Chékib Djaziri reflect a fascinating trans-Mediterranean construction of homosexual identity. Drawing on Svetlana Boym's critical work, particularly her observation that nostalgia "charts an affective geography of the native land that often mirrors the melancholic landscapes" of the exiled, this paper analyzes the construction of homosexuality against the notions of exile, nostalgia, and marginality. The novels of these Maghrebian writers highlight nostalgia as both cathartic and paralyzing for "gay" migrant protagonists who find themselves trapped in the subtle seam between a cherished Maghreb that is framed as homophobic in the sexual clash of civilizations and a more liberal yet inauspicious France. The nostalgic contemplation of the constitution of a homosexual subjectivity is read as a critical performance and mainstreaming of hitherto marginalized voices that now subvert and fight back against normalizing discourses of ethnicity, sexual and gender identity as well as nationality.

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