The Fat Queer Maghrebi French Kid Talks Back: Queer Linguistics and Intersectional Approaches to the Study of Empire and Intimacies

Friday, January 2, 2015: 4:30 PM
Mercury Rotunda (New York Hilton)
Denis M. Provencher, University of Maryland Baltimore County
This intervention opens with a transcript of recorded speech that draws from ethnographic fieldwork in France with “Tahar,” one of the self-identified same-sex desiring Maghrebi and Maghrebi-French interlocutors.  As we will see, Tahar’s story involves being “homosexual,” “Beur,” and “being fat” or what he calls, gbg- gay, beur, et gros.  Indeed, this queer Maghrebi French speaker of Tunisian responds to the empire, heteronormativity and middle-class values, and the social and national “body.” This presentation illustrates how his speech acts are situated at the crossroads of multiple discourses, temporalities, identities, and traditions and how he assembles the tools to confront and respond to the former empire. The focus will be on a queer linguistic analysis -- one that considers simultaneously how multiple subaltern subject positions could provide a better approach for those of us working in an interdisciplinary French studies context.  This contribution to the roundtable aims to interrogate the invisible social category of homosexuality, which remains highly overlooked because of its “taboo” nature within postcolonial communities in France and its former empires.
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