Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Andy Baker

Second Advisor

Janet Donavan

Third Advisor

Rolf Norgaard


Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the most homophobic place in the world in terms of both state institutions and public opinions. Many scholars have blamed this on the former colonial powers of Africa who imposed homophobic policies on their landholdings. In order to explain variations in African homophobia, this study conceptualizes homophobia in two forms: institutional, using a measure of the homophobic actions of African states, and personal, using a composite score of multiple opinion surveys regarding homosexuality. Using linear regression models, this paper contends that Inglehhart’s post-materialist framework does a much better job of explaining variation in homophobia within Sub-Saharan Africa than could be explained by colonial influence alone. While colonial influence seems to have had a lasting impact on the homophobic culture of many Sub-Saharan states, the reinforcement of religious norms through economic underdevelopment also appears to be crucial in explaining contemporary African homophobia.