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Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5251-8
256 pages
May 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City (1405152516) cover image
A rich and engrossing account of 'sexual outlaws' in the Hausa-speaking region of northern Nigeria, where Islamic law requires strict separation of the sexes and different rules of behavior for women and men in virtually every facet of life.
  • The first ethnographic study of sexual minorities in Africa, and one of very few works on sexual minorities in the Islamic world
  • Engagingly written, combining innovative, ethnographic narrative with analyses of sociolinguistic transcripts, historical texts, and popular media, including video, film, newspapers, and song-poetry
  • Analyzes the social experiences and expressive culture of ‘yan daudu (feminine men in Nigerian Hausaland) in relation to local, national, and global debates over gender and sexuality at the turn of the twenty-first century
  • Winner of the 2009 Ruth Benedict Prize in the category of "Outstanding Monograph"
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List of Figures viii

Acknowledgments ix

Notes on Orthography, Translation and Transcription xiii

1 Introducing 'Yan Daudu 1

2 People of the Bariki 29

3 Out in the Open 61

4 Women's Talk, Men's Secrets 89

5 Playing with Faith 117

6 Men on Film 143

7 Lost and Found in Translation 175

Epilogue: May God Keep a Secret 196

Glossary of Hausa terms 206

Bibliography 210

Index 228

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Rudolf P. Gaudio is Associate Professor of Anthropology at SUNY, Purchase, where he teaches courses in African, media, and performance studies.
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  • A rich and engrossing account of 'sexual outlaws' in the Hausa-speaking region of northern Nigeria, where Islamic law requires strict separation of the sexes and different rules of behavior for women and men in virtually every facet of life
  • The first ethnographic study of sexual minorities in Africa, and one of very few works on sexual minorities in the Islamic world
  • Engagingly written, combining innovative, ethnographic narrative with analyses of sociolinguistic transcripts, historical texts, and popular media, including video, film, newspapers, and song-poetry
  • Analyzes the social experiences and expressive culture of ‘yan daudu (feminine men in Nigerian Hausaland) in relation to local, national, and global debates over gender and sexuality at the turn of the twenty-first century
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"This text provides some challenging insights into the whole arena of identity construction at individual and group levels." (PsycCRITIQUES, January 2010)

"Both scholarly and enthralling, Allah Made Us succeeds in introducing us to a fascinating world usually hidden from Western view, as well as making a strong case for how sexual and gender expression and—its transgression—is deeply embedded in individual cultures." (Gay & Lesbian Review, November 2009)

"Gaudio's splendid book is a candid portrait of men practicing identities that confront Western and Islamic ideologies of gender and sexuality:  Such is their daring, paradoxical bid for cultural citizenship."
Stephen William Foster, author of Cosmopolitan Desire

"Allah Made Us insightfully explores ‘sexual citizenship’ and displays Gaudio's extraordinary skill in revealing language as both a medium of participation by sexual outlaws and as an instrument of stigmatizing control by outsiders."
Paul V. Kroskrity, University of California, Los Angeles

"Allah Made Us sets new standards in the analysis of African sexualities.  Rudi Gaudio accomplishes this feat in a way that is accessible for general readers, even while he contributes to specialist debates.  A major achievement."
Donald L. Donham, University of California, Davis

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