Epprecht, Marc 1957–

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Epprecht, Marc 1957–


Born October 22, 1957, in London, Ontario, Canada; son of Hans (a retired engineer) and Maureen Frances (a retired librarian) Epprecht; married Allison Goebel (an associate professor), 1984; children: Jennifer, Adriane, Gabriel. Education: York University, B.A., 1981, M.A., 1982; Dalhousie University, Ph.D., 1992.


Home— Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Office— Department of Global Development Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario K7l 3N6, Canada. E-mail— [email protected]


Teacher in Zimbabwe, Africa, 1984-87, and in Lesotho, Africa, 1990; Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, instructor in history, 1989-92; University of Western Ontario, School of Continuing Education, London, Ontario, Canada, instructor, 1992-93; University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, visiting assistant professor, 1993-95; University of Zimbabwe, Harare, lecturer in history, 1995-98; Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, instructor, 1998-2000; Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, adjunct assistant professor, 2000-03, assistant professor, 2003-05, associate professor of history, 2005—.


"This matter of women is getting very bad": Gender, Development and Politics in Colonial Lesotho, 1870-1965, University of Natal Press (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa), 2000.

Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa, McGill-Queen's University Press (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 2004.

(And consulting editor)Understanding Human Sexuality and Gender, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Harare, Zimbabwe), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Women, Land, and Agriculture in Lesotho, by Paul Kishindo, Institute of Southern African Studies, National University of Lesotho (Roma [Lesotho], South Africa), 1993;International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture, edited by D. Gerstner, Routledge Press (London, England), 2006;Masculinity and Schooling: Challenging Present Practices and Perspectives, edited by B. Frank and K. Davison, Althouse Press (London, England), 2007;Men Behaving Differently: South African Men since 1994, edited by G. Ried and L. Walker, Double Storey (Cape Town, South Africa), 2005. Contributor to numerous periodicals, including Canadian Journal of African Studies, Sexualities, Anthropologica, Canadian Woman Studies, Culture, Health and Sexuality, Journal of Men's Studies, International Journal of African Historical Studies, and Journal of Southern African Studies.


Marc Epprecht is an accomplished writer who has published both books and journal articles. Epprecht's work focuses primarily on Africa and more specifically on race, gender, sexuality, and sex in the region. Epprecht developed a devotion to Africa as a subject for writing when he volunteered in Zimbabwe as a teacher. After his trip to Africa, Epprecht worked on his doctoral degree and wrote about Lesotho for his dissertation. That work became his first published book,"This matter of women is getting very bad": Gender, Development and Politics in Colonial Lesotho, 1870-1965. In this book Epprecht details the lives of colonial African women in Lesotho from 1870 to 1965. Epprecht documents the changes in culture, religion, politics, gender, and sex and how these changes affected the people of the region. The work also discusses possible reasons for these changes.

Teresa Barnes, a contributor to the Canadian Journal of History, said Epprecht "successfully provides a nuanced picture of gender relations in nineteenth-century Lesotho, convincingly showing that social presence of African women was at once contingent and independent, subordinate yet oddly powerful." Barnes urged readers to "use this book as an example of one of the best theoretically-engaged and empirically-rich works in recent Southern African studies." Anne Mager, a contributor to the Journal of African History, stated that the author successfully "deconstructs the masculinist models of state, church and politics and gives us a sense of the multi-layered gendering of women's and men's lives. His work takes us further along the road to understanding the complex connections between assertiveness and reticence in Basotho women's actions in the first half of the twentieth century."

In 2004, Epprecht published his second book,Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa. Hungochani, which is the word for homosexuality in Zimbabwe, traces the history of homosexuality in southern Africa. In this book, Epprecht studies homosexuality, sexual practices that differ from normative heterosexuality, and the gay rights movement that is taking place in Africa. Although homosexuality has been widely criticized by church officials and others in Africa, a gay and lesbian rights movement has been building since the 1980s. Epprecht also discusses the need for open discussion about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.

A contributor to Reference & Research Book News said that Epprecht's book helps to illuminate how gays and lesbians are able to "forge new identities" through the gay rights movement in Africa.

Epprecht told CA: "Writing has been a passion of mine since grade school. I started publishing as a journalist with the York University student newspaper in 1977. I wrote my first novel (science fiction, unpublished) before finishing my B.A. at York. I wrote another novel (‘coming of age’ story, unpublished) after completing my M.A. then, after marrying and working as a teacher in rural Zimbabwe for three years, yet another unpublished novel (political drama, one day I might try to publish this one). This kind of writing was a hobby for me as I pursued my academic studies and gained my political consciousness, particularly of global inequalities and the many injustices implicit in so-called modernization or development.

"I went to Zimbabwe as a volunteer imbued with idealism for a country newly liberated from colonialism and just recovering from a brutal war. These were beautiful, profoundly enriching years for me. The experience of living in ostensibly socialist Zimbabwe and observing firsthand the contradictions and frustrations of development work in Africa convinced me to return to university to get my doctorate. My dissertation, based on fieldwork in Lesotho, became my first published book. I had found my métier[specialty] in this line of research and writing, which combines creative expression with political activism primarily motivated by antisexism, antiracism and lately, antihomophobia principles.

"In addition to writing for academic audiences, I have ‘translated’ some of my work into popular-level language to make it available to wider, general audiences. With Hungochani I entered into the fray of sexuality and human rights debates. In the future I hope to continue activist research and writing with an eye to raising awareness of environmental issues in southern Africa."



American Historical Review, June, 2006, Amy Kaler, review of Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa, pp. 937-938.

Canadian Journal of History, April, 2003, Teresa Barnes, review of "This matter of women is getting very bad": Gender, Development and Politics in Colonial Lesotho, 1870-1965, p. 160.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, February, 2002, R.I. Rothberg, review of "This matter of women is getting very bad," p. 1099.

International Journal of African Historical Studies, winter, 2006, K. Limakatso Kendall, review of Hungochani, p. 170.

Journal of African History, July, 2002, Anne Mager, review of "This matter of women is getting very bad," p. 337.

Journal of Women's History, autumn, 2004, Sita Ranchod-Nilsson, "Colonialism and Beyond: Gender and Culture in Recent Histories and Tanzania, Ghana, and Lesotho," p. 213.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2001, review of "This matter of women is getting very bad," p. 135; August, 2006, review of Hungochani.

TLS: Times Literary Supplement, December, 9, 2005, Adam Ashforth, review of Hungochani, p. 28.


Columbia University Web site,http://www.columbia.edu/ (November 9, 2007), profile of Marc Epprecht.

History Cooperative,http://www.historycooperative.org/ (November 9, 2007), review of Hungochani.

McGill-Queen's University Press Web site,http://mqup.mcgill.ca/ (November 9, 2007), description of Hungochani.

Southern African Research and Documentation Centre Web site,http://www.sardc.net/ (November 9, 2007), "Gender Policies in Southern Africa and Beyond."