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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Queer complicity in the Belgian Congo: autobiography and racial fetishism in Jef Geeraerts's (post)colonial novels
Author:Hendriks, Thomas
Periodical:Research in African literatures
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
About person:Jozef Adriaan Anna Geeraerts (1930-2015)ISNI
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v045/45.1.hendriks.pdf
Abstract:Jef Geeraerts is a Flemish author and former colonial administrator in Belgian Congo, who is best known for the explicit depictions of sex and violence in his (post-)colonial novels. The author reviews the existing literary criticism on the Belgian Congo and positions his own reading within the theoretical frameworks of both queer theory and postcolonial studies. He goes on to offer a short biography of Geeraerts, before turning to the literary strategies that were used by Geeraerts to forge a fictive, 'autobiographical' character by creating an ambiguous distance with the Belgian colonial system. Throughout this reading, the article will not so much focus on what is usually considered his major literary trope - the eroticized 'black woman' - but on the underlying male homosocial context and its homoerotic potentials, which uncover a deeper structure of (un)orthodox racial fetishism. It is exactly this fetishism that explains both his 'racist' views and his overt 'anti-colonialism,' while at the same time accounting for his obsession with black women and his misogynist views on sexuality. Despite Geeraerts's conscious anti-establishment modernism, this underlying and often overlooked homoerotics in ostensibly 'heterosexual' novels is shown to be an accomplice of colonial power, silencing the black other and reaffirming a porno-tropic tradition of racial fetishism. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]