CRG masterclasses at the ASCL: Sexual polemics in Africa: The public polemics of (anti-)abortion activism

The collaborative research group Collaboration and contestation in words: dialogues and disputes in African social realities of the African Studies Centre Leiden organises a series of three masterclasses around the theme of sexual polemics in spring 2022.

In many places around the world, including in Africa, the public sphere is marked by tense debates on gender and sexuality. A conjuncture of (religious) homophobia, a globally circulating human rights paradigm, socio-political crises, and the emergence of communities that are potentially recognisable as ‘homosexual’ or ‘feminist’ has engendered fierce debates and anxiety about the social reproduction of societies. Why is it that over the past two decades sexual and reproductive health and rights have become the subject of such intense debate?

Our masterclasses attempt to spark a cross-sectoral discussion with scholars, policy makers, practitioners and activists on the debates around sexual and reproductive health and rights as they currently unfold in Africa and beyond.

The series of masterclasses will address the following issues on the indicated dates:

  • 21 April: The public polemics of (anti-)abortion activism


Dr Marte Haaland (Bergen University, Norway)

Dr Jonna Both (Expertisecentrum Seksualiteit Rutgers).

  • 18 May: The politics of (anti-)queer activism


Dr Stella Nyanzi (NIAS fellow)

Dr Rahul Rao (NIAS fellow; University of St. Andrews, Scotland)

  • 30 June: Public contestations around comprehensive sexuality education


 Dr Marielle le Mat (KIT Royal Tropical Institute)

 Dr Esther Miedema (University of Amsterdam)

All three masterclasses are from 14:00 – 17:00 at the Faculty of Social Sciences (Pieter de la Court building) of Leiden University, with drinks afterwards (rooms to be announced after registration).

Because we hope to forge a better understanding of the interconnectedness of these various polemics, we highly recommend that you attend all masterclasses. It is, however, also possible to register for only one or two sessions. Places are limited and the convenors will pre-select participants in case the number of registrations exceeds the capacity of the classes. Once registered, the participants will also be offered recommended readings per topic.

Please register by 15 April, latest, by sending an e-mail to Loes Oudenhuijsen (, and indicate:

  • Which sessions you would like to attend
  • In two sentences: why you would like to attend

Date, time and location

21 April 2022