The wedding is often observed as performing a narrative closure, for instance, as a ritual that acts as a rite of passage to proper sex, or proper gendered and sexuated statuses framed in the terms of heteronormativity and homonormativity. The aims of this article are to sit beside recent scholarship that examines marriage, as well as the law/legal infrastructure and language that offer conjugal rights, that is, social, economic, and legal rights, and confers statuses of personhood to those who have access to them. Bride, regardless of the specific gendered status and personhood occupied within legal, social, and economic terms here, does not (only) refer to the constituted individual who lives or experiences a gendered and sexed position and location but, rather, refers to the ritual process itself that comes to produce a range of positions, scenes, desires, practices intensities, and, finally, confusions around which the expression of liberal subjecthood, or ethnic and national identity, might emerge.
Danai S. Mupotsa is senior lecturer in African literature at the University of the Witwatersrand. She specializes in a range of subjects that include gender and sexualities, black intellectual traditions and histories, intimacy and affect, and feminist pedagogies. She has edited special issues, most recently “Visual Interruptions” (Girlhood Studies); “Xenophobia and the Techniques of Difference” (Agenda); “The Cinematic City: Desire, Form and the African Urban” (Journal of African Cinemas, forthcoming); and “Cinematic Imaginaries of the African City” (Social Dynamics, forthcoming). She has also published a collection of poetry titled feeling and ugly (2018).
Danai S. Mupotsa; Conjugality. GLQ 1 June 2020; 26 (3): 377–403. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-8311758
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