The Erotic Other: University students’ sexual identity constructions in the age of HIV and AIDS

Event start date
Event start time
10.15
Event end date
Event end time
11.30
Place

Linna building lecture room 5026-5027, address: Kalevantie 5

Organiser(s)

Research project Just the two of us and UTA Gender studies

Dr. Mathabo Khau (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, ZA & Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden) gives a public guest lecture organized by the Academy of Finland funded research project Just The Two of Us? Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships in collaboration with Gender Studies, University of Tampere.

Abstract

Thirty-one years into the HIV&AIDS pandemic, sub-Saharan Africa still faces the highest burden of HIV infections as governments and private institutions try out different prevention strategies to reduce new HIV infections and AIDS related deaths. Several scholars have argued that multiple concurrent sexual partnerships (MCSP) pose the greatest risk for new HIV infections. Furthermore, research has also linked MCSPs to mobility and migration. With South African universities hosting a big percentage of students from other African countries (HESA 2010), it is important to understand how this mobile population makes meaning of their sexuality in a foreign context. Data for this paper was generated through drawings and focus group discussions. The discourse of the ‘exotic other’ was employed to explore how selected international students in one South African university experience their sexuality in relation to how they perceive MCSPs and HIV risk. The findings show the participants being constructed as sexually pleasing and adventurous, and how such constructions shape the participants’ sexual identities in a foreign context. This has major implications on multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships which drive the HIV epidemic in South Africa. Thus there is need for Higher Education Institutions to be treated as high risk ‘spaces of vulnerability’ and hence health support services and HIV intervention programming policies should be geared towards addressing such vulnerabilities in order to create teaching and learning environments that allow for all students to live sexually responsible and healthy lives.

Bio

Mathabo Khau holds a PhD in Gender and Education from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Her doctoral study employed memory work and participatory visual methodologies to explore women teachers’ experiences of teaching sexuality education in rural schools in the age of HIV and AIDS. As an exchange student at McGill University, Canada, funded through DFAIT in 2007, she offered a number of seminars on sexuality and memory at McGill and Concordia Universities. She has been a postdoctoral fellow in 2010 at Linköping and Örebro Universities’ Centre of Gender Excellence in Sweden (Gendering Excellence (GEXcel): Towards a European Centre of Excellence in Transnational and Transdisciplinary Studies of Changing Gender Relations, Intersectionalities and Embodiment).  She has also been a postdoctoral fellow at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University under the HIV&AIDS Research in Education Chair for 2 years 2011/12. She is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Educational Research and Engagement at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where she is also the Director for the Action Research Unit. Currently she is a Guest Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden.

Mathabo’s research interests are in sexualities, sexual health and reproductive rights, sexual pleasure, gender and curriculum, and HIV in education. She has published several articles in well recognized journals such as Agenda; Sexualities; and Girlhood Studies; and has presented her work at several international conferences.


 

 

Additional information

For more information, please contact
Post-doctoral research fellow Marjo Kolehmainen, 050 318 7599, affective.inequalities@uta.fi