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Professor Sylvia Tamale, Exploring the Contours of African Sexualities: Statutory, Customary and Religious Laws, 2013

Sylvia Tamale, 2013Professor Sylvia Tamale, Makerere University

Exploring the Contours of African Sexualities: Statutory, Customary and Religious Laws

This Lecture was held on Tuesday 4 June 2013 at 5pm in Rooms SG1 and SG2 at the Alison Richard Building in Cambridge and was followed by a reception in the ARB atrium.

Lecture abstract

The lecture will explore the diverse ways through which organised religion, personal spiritual convictions, culture and the law shape, challenge and potentially transform the sexualities of African peoples.  I argue that through the intersection of religion, statutory law and reinterpreted traditional customs, the complexity of African sexualities (particularly those of women) is instrumentalized, controlled and regulated by the patriarchal state.  As sources of power, the institutions of culture, religion and law structure sexual morality in such a way that it congeals into states of domination.  Attempts to assert sexual citizenship have spawned social movements on the continent challenging the dominant sexual discourses and demanding increased sexual autonomy and freedom.  These movements have the potential to profoundly reshape our understanding of the links between sexualities and religion.

Professor Sylvia Tamale is a leading African feminist lawyer and scholar based in Kampala, Uganda.  She holds a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University, a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and a PhD in Sociology and Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota. 

Professor Tamale teaches law at Makerere University where she served as Law Dean from 2004 to 2008.   She also serves on several international boards and has been a visiting professor in several academic institutions globally.  Her latest publication is African Sexualities: A Reader (Pambazuka Press, 2011). Professor Tamale has won several awards for defending the human rights of marginalized groups such as women, sex workers, homosexuals and refugees. 

This event was sponsored by the A G Leventis Foundation

Sylvia Tamale, 2013Sylvia Tamale, 2013Sylvia Tamale, 2013
Sylvia Tamale, 2013 Sylvia Tamale, 2013 Sylvia Tamale, 2013

Photography by Damian Gillie