B Camminga (they/them) received a PhD from the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town, in 2016. They have since held a postdoctoral fellowship at the African Centre for Migration & Society, Wits University, and several visiting fellowships, including at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford. They work on issues relating to gender identity and expression on the African continent with a focus on transgender migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. In 2018, they were runner up in the Africa Spectrum award, which honours outstanding research by up-and-coming African scholars. Their first monograph, Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa, received the 2019 Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies (with Aren Aizura) and honourable mention in the Ruth Benedict Prize for Queer Anthropology.
They are the co-convenor of the African LGBTQI+ Migration Research Network (ALMN), which aims to advance scholarship on all facets of LGBTQI+ migration on, from, and to the African continent by bringing together scholars, researchers, practitioners, and activists to promote knowledge exchange and support evidence-based policy responses. B is co-editor of Beyond the Mountain: Queer Life in Africa’s ‘Gay Capital’ (2019) with Zethu Matebeni, and Queer and Trans African Mobilities: Migration, Diaspora, and Asylum (2022) with John Marnell. Their work has appeared in journals including Sexualities, The Sociological Review, and Transgender Studies Quarterly.
ICI Project 2022-24
Recent years have seen a new chapter in Africa’s long history of migration — the emergence of transgender people as a highly mobile and increasingly visible refugee population. This visibility has involved a two-fold process. Through an increase in applications, it has been achieved within asylum systems globally. It has also been achieved across various forms of social media, which transgender refugees have actively harnessed. Drawing on digital diasporic publications by transgender refugees from the African continent, this project will track the socio-cultural realities of this emergent physical and digital visibility of people who are transgender and African and refugees.
The narratives of existence in these diasporic publications have not gone unnoticed. In response, a kind of African media paparazzi-like dataveillance has emerged. Cumulatively, this enacts a circulation of a politics of existence, taking place both on and beyond the African continent. This project aims to map the ways in which the term ‘transgender’, having travelled from the Global North, has been given new meaning on the African continent — producing both physical and digital flows. These are sites of multiplicity, signalling an emergent diaspora and new models of world-making.