In Gender and Sexuality in Kenyan Societies: Centering the Human and the Humane in Critical Studies, edited by Besi Brillian Muhonja and Babacar M’Baye, contributors explore the application of ubuntu/utu responsive perspectives and methods to critical studies. Through the lens of ubuntu/utu, the contributors to this Kenya-focused volume draw from the diverse fields of postcolonial studies, literary studies, history, anthropology, sociology, political science, environmental studies, media studies, and development studies, among others, to demonstrate the urgency and necessity of humane scholarship/research in gender and queer studies. By centering decolonial approaches and the human and humane, concentrating on subjects and identities that have been largely neglected in national and scholarly debates, the chapters are subversive, complex, and inclusive. They advance within Kenyan studies themes and elements of alternative, non-binary, variant, and non-heteronormative gender identities, sexualities, and voices, as well as approaches to doing knowledge. Underscoring the timeliness of such a text is evidence rendered in sections of the collection highlighting the significance of ubuntu/utu-centric scholarship. Challenging the erasure of the human in academic works, the chapters in this volume look inward and locate the voices and experiences of Kenyan peoples as the pivotal locus of analysis and epistemological derivation.
Besi Brillian Muhonja is associate vice provost, scholarship and diversity, equity, and inclusion and professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and African, African American, and diaspora studies at James Madison University.
Babacar M’Baye is professor and chair of the Department of English at Kent State University.
Introduction: Toward Humane Scholarship in Gender and Sexualities
Besi Brillian Muhonja
George Paul Meiu
Miriam Jerotich Kilimo
Dorothy Owino Rombo and Anne Namatsi Lutomia
Matthew K. Gichohi
Conclusion: Utu/ubuntu: Centering the Human and the Humane in Critical Approaches to Africana Studies
About the Editors
About the Contributors
"This welcome and timely ground-breaking text centers holistic (utu), human and humane critical thought and life flows beyond historical impasses. By offering powerful epistemological departures, the chapters open a gateway to much-needed reconceptualizing of the inter-related and intersectional presents and futures, and provide fresh approaches to living, thought, and scholarship. They move knowledge and methodologies forward in exciting, new, and refreshing ways."
"This is a study whose ontological focus on the identities of gender and sexualities from multidisciplinary perspectives is uniquely edifying and the profundity of whose epistemological implications is humanely refreshing. This volume is a worthwhile addition to the emerging literature on the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, and location and the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion."
"This important volume captures the complexity and diversity of gendered practices in Kenya, covering such topics as aging and youth, motherhood and feminist biographies, and same-sex desire in traditional and modern Africa. As richly layered as the subject they discuss, these chapters are philosophically deep, rigorously written, and carefully selected. They will serve as excellent models for the interdisciplinary study of gender in Africa. Highly recommended."