FDP Colloquium - Xavier Livermon
Wed, October 9, 2013 • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM • BUR 214
"Queer(y)ing Freedom: Black Queer Visibilities in Post-Apartheid South Africa"
In this talk, Xavier Livermon argues that liberation is as much a sociocultural construct as it is a political or economic one. Extending the South African queer scholar Mikki van Zyl’s analysis of the distinction between citizenship and belonging, Livermon examines the concept of freedom in postapartheid South Africa through the lens of black queer bodies. Through an analysis of “Cheaters”, a popular radio program broadcast in Soweto; the late kwaito star Lebo Mathosa; and ethnographic observation in the form of “quotidian conversations,” he illuminates the contested terrain of queer sexuality in contemporary South Africa, particularly its intersection with class and race. Exploring how black queer bodies test the limits of freedom and liberation, Livermon exposes both the possibilities and the contradictions of the postapartheid state.
Xavier Livermon is currently assistant professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. His research exists at the intersection of popular culture, gender, and sexuality in post-apartheid South Africa and the African Diaspora. He is currently completing a manuscript tentatively entitled Its About Time: Kwaito and the Performance of Freedom that examines post-apartheid youth culture as a series of performances enacted to test the limits of post-apartheid possibility. His second project, tentatively entitled Queer(y)ing Freedom: Construction Black Queer Belonging in South Africa has resulted in a number of published essays in GLQ; Gender, Place, and Culture; and Feminist Studies and examines how black queer South Africans construct forms of cultural and national belonging in a climate where progressive constitutional rights do not always translate in quotidian practice. His research interests include African Cultural Studies, Black Popular Music, Black Performance, Black Queer Studies, HIV/AIDS and African Diaspora Studies.