Focusing on Ethiopia, an empire off-center, this article argues against dominant narratives that link the regulation of sexual practices to colonial (Western) imperial relations. Within this context, the paper investigates struggles over the past by contrasting two versions of history, discussing how different groups mobilize the past in contemporary Ethiopia. It begins by exploring the imperial, Christian roots of the country’s penal codes, interrogating how the state mobilizes such histories to criminalize same-sex desires and practices. The article then focuses its attention on those deemed “outlaws” by such legislation, exploring their search for histories silenced by empire, and their assertion as longstanding, integral parts of the country’s past.

You do not currently have access to this content.