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Moffies in the military: race/ethnicity, gender and (homo)sexuality in the South African Army during apartheid

Grant number: 19/04296-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 04, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal researcher:Laura Moutinho
Grantee:Phillip Willians Leite
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/24233-0 - Moffies in the military: race/ethnicity, gender and (homo)sexuality in the South African army during apartheid, BE.EP.MS


The literature on homosexuality in the South African Defence Force (SADF) during the apartheid regime is meager and focuses mostly on interpersonal and institutional violence to which moffies (a derogative word in Afrikaner that designates effeminate men and/or homosexuals) were subjected in the institution. Nevertheless, based on fieldwork conducted in Stellenbosch, South Africa, among White men, self-identified as homosexuals, former SADF recruits and in their 40-60's, this project formulates the hypothesis that the experience of homosexuality in the SADF was more complex than it seems at first glance. The conversations with these men about their memories of the daily life in the army seems to indicate that, in some cases, individuals were able to experience situations and elaborate a construction of their selves not only in agreement but also in negotiation and subversion of norms based on social markers of difference (such as race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality) that were connected to the Afrikaner nationalist project. Working with this hypothesis, this project aims to investigate 1) the relations between Afrikaner nationalism and homosexuality in an intersection with other social markers of difference, and 2) the process of subjectivation of the individuals as homosexuals in the armed forces. (AU)

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