Kwame Otu headshot
EO

Edwin Kwame Otu

Assistant Professor
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Institute of African-American and African Studies
Office location and address
227C Minor Hall
102 Amphitheater Way
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904
Biography

Kwame Otu’s research transects issues of sexual citizenship, gender, human rights NGOs, and neoliberal racial formations in postcolonial Africa, traversing the anthropology of Africa, race, gender and sexuality, queer of color theorizing, critical human rights studies, revolutionary forms of blackness and black aesthetics, and Afrofuturist practice.

The study of race in postcolonial Africa is central to Otu’s work, as are critical inquiries about race in the African diaspora. Otu completed his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Syracuse University (2016). In addition to his academic work, Otu has collaborated with Akosua Adoma Owusu, the award-winning Ghanaian-American filmmaker, to produce the film, Reluctantly Queer. It premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year and was featured as part of the New Director New Films series held under the auspices of the Film Society Lincoln Center and MoMA.

Otu is currently working on his book manuscript, which is an ethnographic investigation of how self-identified effeminate men (sassoi) navigate homophobia and the increased visibility of LGBT human rights politics in postcolonial Ghana, titled, Amphibious Subjects: Sassoi and the Contested Politics of Queer Self-Making in Neoliberal Ghana.

AAS 150: Special Topics in African American Studies
Special Topics in African American Studies.
AAS 1010: Introduction to African-American and African Studies I
Credits: 4
This introductory course surveys the histories of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean from approximately the Middle Ages to the 1880s. Emphases include the Atlantic slave trade and its complex relationship to Africa; the economic systems, cultures, and communities of Africans and African-Americans in the New World, in slavery and in freedom; the rise of anti-slavery movements; and the socio-economic systems that replaced slavery in the late 19th century.
AAS 2559: New Course in African and African American Studies
Credits: 1–4
New course in the subject of African and African American Studies
AAS 3500: Intermediate Seminar in African-American & African Studies
Credits: 3
Reading, class discussion, and written assignments on a special topic in African-American and African Studies Topics change from term to term, and vary with the instructor. Primarily for fourth-year students but open to others.
ZFOR 3503: International Study
Placeholder course for students studying abroad
AAS 3559: New Course in African and African American Studies
Credits: 3
New course in the subject of African and African American Studies.
AAS 4570: Advanced Research Seminar in African-American & African Studies
Credits: 3
Reading, class discussion, and research on a special topic in African-American and African Studies culminating in the composition of a research paper. Topics change from term to term, and vary with the instructor. Primarily for fourth-year students but open to others.
AAS 4725: Queer Africas
Credits: 3
How does "Africa" shape the contours of queerness? We will explore the complex iterations of afro-queer subjectivities in the the circum-Atlantic world. Importantly, we will examine the extent to which the afterlife of slavery in the Americas intersect with the state of postcoloniality in Africa, and how blackness and queerness get conditioned at these intersections. By providing an introduction to various artists, activists, and intellectuals in both Africa and its myriad diasporas, this interdisciplinary seminar will thus examine what it means to be both black and queer historically, spatially, and contemporarily.
AAS 7300: Revolutionary Struggles of the African Atlantic
Credits: 3
In this course, we will grapple with the concept of struggle as it pertains to Africans' desire to wrestle themselves from the interlocking white supremacist systems of colonialism, enslavement, apartheid and racialized capitalism. How has the desire to be 'free' from these systems of oppression defined Black identities in Africa & its myriad diasporas?
AAS 7725: Queer Africas
Credits: 3
How does "Africa" shape the contours of queerness? We will explore the complex iterations of afro-queer subjectivities in the the circum-Atlantic world. Importantly, we will examine the extent to which the afterlife of slavery in the Americas intersect with the state of postcoloniality in Africa, and how blackness and queerness get conditioned at these intersections. By providing an introduction to various artists, activists, and intellectuals in both Africa and its myriad diasporas, this interdisciplinary seminar will thus examine what it means to be both black and queer historically, spatially, and contemporarily.
SARC 9993: Advanced Independent Research
Credits: 1–6
Advanced independent research on topics selected by individual students in consultation with a faculty advisor. Prerequisite: Permission of the Director.