"I compose myself": Lesbian Muslim autobiographies and the craft of self- writing in South Africa

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In this article, I reflect on the complex history of self-writing by Black women in South Africa as a context for reading contemporary autobiographical literature by Muslim lesbians in the country. To theorize the innovative practices in such literature, I draw on the concept of "crafting" devised by the Zimbabwean feminist Patricia McFadden, a practice of particular value in the postcolonial moment. I also consider debates on the complexities of the politics of visibility in sexuality rights activism in postcolonial contexts. After reviewing theories of autobiography, race, and sexuality, I analyze six autobiographical narratives by lesbian Muslims that appear in the ground-breaking 2009 South African collection Hijab: Unveiling Queer Muslim Lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-915
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Religion
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies

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