Dr Megan Robertson

Project title: Performing Sex and the Sacred: An exploration of religion in the lived experiences and stage performances of queer artists of colour in South Africa

Abstract

This transdisciplinary and qualitative project is concerned with the relationship between sexuality and the sacred in the performing arts in South Africa. It aims to explore the location, production and representation of religion in people’s everyday lives. This project contributes to a growing body of literature that nuances hegemonic ideas of what it means to be queer in postcolonial Africa. Scholarship has shown that religion and culture not only form, but also transform, norms about gender and sexualities, thus enabling African, and more specifically South African, queer possibilities. This project aims to adopt performativity, and more specifically performance art, as an innovative conceptual and methodological location through which to examine how gender, sexual and religious norms co-constitute the lives of queer people in South Africa. It will do so by exploring the relationship between sexuality and the sacred in the lived experiences and stage performances of queer performing artists in South Africa. This project also incorporates a particular focus on race and thus contributes to the project of decolonising queer studies by interrogating economic and political systems and inequalities.

Twitter: @PearlThornbird

Working with: Prof. Adriaan van Klinken