This presentation is based on my forthcoming book where I investigate the lives and stories of queer Maghrebi (North African) and Maghrebi French men who moved to or grew up in contemporary France. It combines original French language data from my ethnographic fieldwork in France with a wide array of recent narratives and cultural productions including performance art and photography, films, novels, autobiographies, published letters, and other first-person essays to investigate how these queer men living in France and the diaspora stake claims to time and space, construct kinship, and imagine their own future. By closely examining empirical evidence from the lived experiences of these queer Maghrebi French-speakers, I present a variety of paths of resilient refuge available to these men who articulate and pioneer their own sexual difference within their Muslim families of origin and secularly contemporary French society where they are seen as postcolonial outsiders. These sexual minorities of North African origin may explain their homosexuality in terms of a “modern coming out” narrative when living in France. Nevertheless, they are able to negotiate cultural hybridity and flexible language, temporalities, and filiations, that combine elements from a variety of discourses on family, honor, face-saving, the symbolic order of gender differences, gender equality, as well as the western and largely neoliberal constructs of individualism and sexual autonomy.
Dr. Denis M. Provencher is Professor of French and Department Head in French and Italian at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship in France (Ashgate, 2007) and Queer Maghrebi French: Language, Temporalities, Transfiliations, (Liverpool UP, 2016). Dr. Provencher is also editor-in-chief of the journal Contemporary French Civilization and co-editor of the new book series Studies in Modern and Contemporary France, which are both published by Liverpool. He also currently serves on the editorial boards of Modern & Contemporary France and The Journal of Language and Sexuality. Dr. Provencher has guest co-edited special issues of several journals including the Journal of Homosexuality and Québec Studies. Currently, he is co-editing with Dr. Mireille Rosello a new book on intersectional approaches to French and Francophone Studies. Dr. Provencher is also conduction fieldwork in Montréal, Canada for a new monograph on Queer Québec as well as new projects related to queerness along the Vermont-Québec border. He is also pursuing a cross-cultural study of the discourses on mental health in the US and France, especially as they relate to the Oedipus complex, national education programs, and filiation.