How Early Anthropologists Hid African Same-Sex Relationships


King (Kabaka) Mwanga from Buganda / Wikimedia Commons

Sex between people of the same gender has existed for millennia. But anthropologists in sub-Saharan Africa often ignored or distorted those relationships.


By Livia Gershon


Sex between people of the same gender has existed in various forms for millennia. But many people, including academics, often ignored or distorted those relationships. The historian Marc Epprecht looked at one arena where this occurred: Western anthropology in sub-Saharan Africa.

Way back in the sixteenth century, Epprecht writes, Europeans did report sexual relationships between African men—generally in horrified terms. For example, Andrew Battell, an English traveler, wrote that the Imbangala of Angola were “beastly in their living, for they have men in women’s apparel, whom they keepe among their wives.”

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE ON JSTOR DAILY

Comments

comments