Gender (and) Imperialism: Structures of Masculinity in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The seamless continuity between colonialism, racism, and patriarchy makes it imperative for postcolonial criticism to question the foundational category of gender. As Judith Butler argues, gender postulates a normative masculinity poised against a femininity construed as lack or deviation. This normative masculinity asserts itself in colonial discourse, which, as Edward Said observes, represents a masculine Europe dominating a feminized Orient. At the same time, racial discourse represents African men as hypermasculine, as Frantz Fanon and Cornel West, among others, have observed. Thus, the African man occupies at once masculine and feminine subject positions and, likewise, the European women figures ambivalently as both masculine and feminine. Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North depicts such ambivalent spaces that enable a critique of colonial and patriarchal notions of gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-324
Number of pages16
JournalMen and Masculinities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2003



  • Orientalism
  • Tayeb Salih
  • gender
  • postcolonialism
  • racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Cite this