✦ The Sojourner Project

A Black Studies Mobile Academy initiated by the Practicing Refusal Collective


Facilitated by Tavia Nyong’o and Keguro Macharia

  • 7 May, 2021
  • 10am (EDT) 4pm (SAST)
  • (Small group workshop)


"Frottage is a beautifully innovative theoretical intervention into the ways queerness and diasporic Blackness rub up against each other in multiple sites around the world, disturbing even the most stubborn premises of the study of sexuality. The book charts astoundingly capacious directions for rethinking central concepts of embodiment, Blackness, and personhood, attending specifically towards moments of friction, when ‘Black’ and ‘queer’ are in proximity to one another. Going forward, it will be impossible to think about queer theory without turning to Macharia’s engagements with thinkers ranging from Franz Fanon to Claude McKay."
— From the 2020 Alan Bray Award citation for Frottage
This seminar will depart from a conversation between the theorists Keguro Macharia and Tavia Nyong'o on the current and potential state of thinking around Black sexuality, gender, violence, pleasure, and the ordinary. Borrowing the framing keyword "frictions" from Macharia's recent book Frottage: Frictions of Intimacy across the Black Diaspora, the seminar will engage some of the following questions:
Where does the ordinary rub up against legacies of violent unhumaning?
How can centering African sexualities allow us to speculate upon a different genealogy and futurity for queer studies? Is there a 'queer customary'?
How can theorizing touch, friction, hapticality challenge heteronormative and ethnonationalist conceptions of diaspora?
How can the erotic serve as a source of power in an anti-black world?
Participants are invited to read the advance texts and register in advance for the free Zoom discussion as part of the Sojourner Project: South Africa mobile black studies academy