Exploring Nigerian queer literature in the digital era

By Deserae E. del Campo

Exploring Nigerian queer literature in the digital era

By Deserae E. del Campo
University of Miami faculty wins prestigious fellowship to continue research in Nigerian queer writing

When referencing her work of exploring Nigerian studies in queer writing and literature, Associate Professor Brenna Munro refers to her scholarship as studying the “contemporary global arena of Nigerian writing.”

“One thing I find interesting in my field of work is that there are Nigerians writing in Nigeria, Nigerians who are writing outside the country, transnational Nigerians who travel to and from the country, and then there are Nigerian writers who were born in the U.S. but write about the country,” said Munro.

“The commonality is that these Nigerians are interested in the question of Nigerian queerness, which is what I am exploring in my new book. It’s an emergence of queer writing that I am looking at starting from the 1990s and it’s a big development in the field of Nigerian literature.”

This coming academic year, Munro can continue her research and scholarship on the subject, with a chance to expand on her book and collaborate with scholars, after winning a prestigious fellowship at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, NC.

Munro is only the fourth UM faculty member to win an NHC award in the 42 years of the program. She is also the first College of Arts and Sciences faculty member to receive an award since Hugh Thomas, professor and director of the Center for the Humanities, in 1999.

“This feels like a miracle,” adds Munro. “It’s been such a hard year and to receive this accomplishment is truly amazing. I’m also excited to collaborate with my fellow scholars. There are two other fellows joining the group who specialize in Nigerian studies, and it will be exciting to exchange ideas with them.”

Brenna Munro specializes in queer and postcolonial studies, Anglophone African literature, and queer global writing and cinema. Her first book, South Africa and the Dream of Love to Come: Queer Sexuality and the Struggle for Freedom, published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2013, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist in LGBT Studies.

She is on the editorial board of Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies. Her second book is entitled, Queer Writing in Digital Times: The Mobile Nigerian Present.

“Mass migration has produced a contemporary Nigerian diaspora that has also changed things for people in Nigeria,” said Munro. “At the same time, there has been a new production of Nigerian queer writing that has happened online.

"My book and research look at how the literature emerged in the social space and what that means politically, as well as the literature itself and how it imagines sexuality, gender, and identity in new ways.”