LGBTQ+ Life in Interstitial European Overseas Territories

Funding recently secured through the Languages, Cultures and Societies Key Topics Scheme for networking activities and scoping research on LGBTQ+ life in Spanish Melilla.

A team of colleagues from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies have sucessfully secured funding which will allow them to start working on networking activities and scoping research on LGBTQ+ life in Spanish Melilla. The research team includes Dr Hendrik Kraetzschmar and Dr Andrew Delatolla from Arabic, Islamic, Middle Eastern and North African Studies and Professor Richard Cleminson from Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.

The project forms part of a broader interdisciplinary research agenda into LGBTQ+ life in European Overseas Territories, and constitutes a stepping stone towards the production of a larger external funding bid involving such territories in North Africa, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean. What renders these territories of interest is the fact that they are not only peripheral and geographically disconnected from the European mainland, but inherently interstitial in quality, characterised by a unique confluence of (and at times conflict between) European/colonial and local histories, traditions, cultures, languages, laws and politics.

The team aims to uncover what imprint these unique interstitial overseas territories have on local LGBTQ+ life and how people identifying as LGBTQ+ navigate the complex relations between national identity, subjectivity, religion and sexuality in these locales. 

As part of this project, the research team secured funding in 2021 from the Institute of Ceutan Studies to conduct a pilot investigation into LGBTQ+ life in Spanish Ceuta, which involved two field visits to the enclave in the summer of 2022 and the conducting of numerous in-depth interviews with members of the community, NGO and local government representatives. The findings of this exploratory investigation will feed into the planning for the Melilla field visit, as well as into the development of a broader comparative research agenda on LGBTQ+ life in other European overseas territories.

Further information

Photo credit: School of Languages, Cultures and Societies