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This session of Research in Focus series is dedicated to the book Knowing Women, an ethnography on friendship, desire, and same-sex intimacy among urban, working-class women in southern Ghana. The intersectional analysis of their life narratives situates these women in relation to political, economic, and social developments affecting Ghana and other postcolonial and African countries, including anti-gay policies and queer activist movements.

Event details of Knowing Women: Same-Sex Intimacy, Gender, and Identity in Postcolonial Ghana
Date 21 April 2022
Time 17:00 -18:30
Location Roeterseilandcampus - building A
Room Room A2.10

Paying close attention to the women’s practices of self-reference, the book refers to them as “knowing women” in a way that both distinguishes them from and relates them to such categories as lesbian or supi, a southern Ghanaian term for female friend(ship). Engaging queer-feminist and postcolonial theories of gender, kinship, and sexuality, the book critically refutes both African nationalist homophobic claims and universalizing claims that categories of LGBTI identities and can be translated between all languages and cultures.

Dankwa will be in conversation with Stella Nyanzi (NIAS) and Thomas Hendriks (KU Leuven)

About the speakers

Serena Dankwa holds a PhD degree from the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Berne, a MA degree from the Music Academy of Lucerne, and a MA degree in African Studies from SOAS. She has held the Sarah Pettit Fellowship at Yale University and is the co-editor of Racial Profiling. Structural Racism and Antiracist Resistance (Transcript Verlag, 2019) and Bildung.Macht.Diversität (Transcript Verlag, 2021). In 2020, she published Knowing Women: Same-Sex Intimacy, Gender, and Identity in Postcolonial Ghana with Cambridge University Press. Dankwa works as a specialist for gender, equity and transformation with the NGO IAMANEH Switzerland.

Stella Nyanzi is a Ugandan medical anthropologist currently living in Germany under the Writers-in-Exile program of PEN Zentrum Deutschland. She has over 20 years research experience and scholarly publications in the intersecting sub-disciplines of Queer African Studies, African Feminism and the Anthropology of Sexual and Reproductive Health in Africa. Currently she is based at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study (NIAS), Guest of the Director Prof Jan Willem Duyvendak, researching for a biography of the life, work, and legacy of David Kato – the Ugandan LBGTIQ rights activist murdered during the advent of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2009).

Thomas Hendriks is FWO Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at KU Leuven (Belgium). He is author of Rainforest Capitalism: Power and Masculinity in a Congolese Logging Concession (Duke University Press, 2022) and coeditor of Readings in Sexualities from Africa (Indiana University Press, 2020). 

Moderated by Sarah Bracke (Director ARC-GS)

Roeterseilandcampus - building A

Room Room A2.10

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam