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Clarkson professor launching new book. “Sexual Diversity in Africa”

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POTSDAM - S.N. Nyeck, an assistant professor of political science at Clarkson University, will attend a book launch and signing party of her new book, Sexual Diversity in Africa, at 4:15 p.m. Friday in the Bertrand H. Snell Hall Atrium (hill campus, building #18 at http://www.clarkson.edu/about/clarkson_map.pdf).

Nyeck co-edited the book with Marc Epprecht, a professor of global development studies at Queen’s University.

In Sexual Diversity in Africa, contributors engage with current debates about sexuality and gender identity, as well as with contentious issues relating to methodology, epistemology, ethics and pedagogy.

They present a variety of issues that testify to the complex nature of sexuality, sexual practices, and gender performance in Africa, and explore ways to address homophobia without threatening majority rule democracy and freedoms of speech and faith.

“We wanted to make an argument as to why research on sexuality can potentially further our understanding of social and political disputes in the developing world,” Nyeck said.

Essays in the book examine topics such as the well-established same-sex networks in Accra and Bamako, African “traditions” defined by European observers, and the mix of faith, pharmaceuticals, and pseudo-science used to “cure” homosexual men.

Asserting that the study of sexuality is intellectually and politically sustainable in Africa, Sexual Diversity in Africa contributes to the theorization of sexualities by presenting a more sensitive and knowledgeable study of African experiences and perspectives.

The book signing is part of the first Gender and Sexuality Studies Conference of the Associated Colleges on Friday. The event is free and open to the public.

The goal of the conference, “Why Gender and Sexuality Studies Still Matter,” is to bring together faculty, students and staff from all four colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley to examine new challenges, review current strategies and develop fresh perspectives on gender and sexual justice and inclusion. For more on the conference, visit http://www.clarkson.edu/news/2013/news-release_2013-10-18-3.html .

Nyeck was appointed an assistant professor of political science at Clarkson earlier this year. She received her bachelor of arts degree with high honors from Swarthmore College and her Ph.D. in political science from UCLA.

Before coming to Clarkson, Nyeck was a teaching assistant at UCLA from 2008-2012. Additionally, she was project coordinator for International Resource Network in Africa, and editor and founder of Outliers Journal.

Her research interests include entrepreneurship in the public sector, public-private partnerships, government contracting, comparative institutional and historical analysis, government spending, and public sector reform. She also examines sexuality and politics, contentious politics, law and culture, and politics and literature.

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