From a Remote Rural Village in Limpopo’: Colonized Bodies, Hybrid Sex and Postcolonial Theology
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Postcolonial theological themes and methodologies are particularly useful for considering issues of indeterminate sex and gender, since they appeal to theological goods which are willing to sit with uncertainty. Drawing on comparisons between Caster Semenya and Saarti/Saartjie/Sara/Sarah Baartman, the “Hottentot Venus”, I show that atypical non-Western bodies are still made subject to discourses of Western classification, and that historical figurings of female bodies as there to be colonized, conquered and tamed chime with theological colonizations of all indeterminately sexed and gendered bodies. Postcolonial theologies might help to disrupt naive certainties surrounding bodies and their sexes, thereby pointing to a theology of hybridity which is less clear and exclusive. Importantly, this also disrupts Western and non-Western sex-gender imperialisms. Discourses of empire are not only those which have arisen in Western contexts, but also those which formulate and disseminate speech of another empire, that of narrow conformity to particular sexed norms. It is appropriate for theologians working in the former metropoles to speak into and critique some non-Western discourses, not untouched by our own colonial past and present, but also not immobilized by it. To reject colonial frameworks of power does not mean to idealize or render immaculate those in non-Western contexts with whom we seek to engage.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Cambridge Scholarly publishing via the link in this record.
In Daggers, J., (Eds.) Gendering Christian Ethics. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 01 Aug 2012 Chapter No. 7, pp. 147 - 167