Jordache A. Ellapen – Queer African Studies Association Prize for Best Published Scholarly Essay by a Junior Scholar

Congratulations to Jordache A. Ellapen, assistant professor of Feminist Studies in Culture and Media and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program Director, who is the recipient of the Queer African Studies Association Prize for Best Published Scholarly Essay by a Junior Scholar for his article “Performing Blackness as Transgressive Erotics: African Futurities and Black Queer Sex in South African Live Art” published in Feminist Formations in 2021. 

Abstract: FAKA, the Black femme queer South African performance duo, emerged on the local art scene in 2015. FAKA is associated with a disruptive art practice informed by the abjection of the femme and gender-nonconforming subject position in a context wherein homosexuality is positioned as un-African and a Western contamination. This article specifically examines FAKA’s live performances of sex as art and an autoethnographic erotic narrative in order to examine what their uses of transgressive erotics reveals about the relationship between Black queer sex and freedom in postapartheid South Africa. It argues that FAKA reorganizes Blackness as transgressive erotics as a strategy to create livable lives and pursue Black queer world-making through Black erotic freedom. FAKA generates a distinctly African aesthetic of queer futurity in which the past and the future collide in the present to articulate a future-present. FAKA’s performances of Black queer sex and pleasure are critical interventions into South African sex publics. This article draws on African diaspora and Indigenous feminist and queer theorists to understand their uses of transgressive erotics as a strategy to engage in radical work on South African pasts, presents, and futures.

This prize is awarded for the best scholarly essays published in the field of queer African studies in the previous calendar year by an untenured scholar who is not a graduate student.

Read the article here