Race, Place and Power in Zimbabwe

Since 2000, black squatters have forcible occupied white farms across Zimbabwe, reigniting questions of racialized dispossession, land rights and legacies of liberation.

Donald S. Moore probes these contentious politics by analysing fierce disputes over territory, sovereignty and subjection in the country’s eastern highlands. He focuses on poor farmers in Kaerezi who endured colonial evictions from their ancestral land and lived as refugees in Mozambique during Zimbabwe’s guerrilla war.

After independence in 1980, Kaerezians returned home to a changed landscape. Postcolonial bureaucrats had converted their land from a white ranch into a state resettlement scheme. Those who defied this new spatial order were threatened with eviction. Moore shows how Kaerezians’ predicaments of place pivot on memories of ‘suffering for territory’, at once an idiom of identity and of entitlement.

Combining fine-grained ethnography with innovative theoretical insights, this book illuminates the complex interconnections between local practices of power and the wider forces of colonial rule, nationalist politics and global discourses of development.

Donald S. Moore is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

‘This widely suggestive book – a model of hospitable thought – combines erudition, theoretical insights, and literary inventiveness with well-crafted ethnography. In the process it rewrites not only the histories of land, but also the histories of life, race, and sovereignty in Zimbabwe.’ Achille Mbembe, author of On the Postcolony.

‘… an outstanding work of scholarship, which combines theoretical insight with ethnographic detail to produce a unusually illuminating view of rural life in contemporary Zimbabwe.’ James Ferguson, author of Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt.

…a paradigm-shattering work in agrarian studies. … Moore decisively and masterfully rereads the history of Zimbabwe and southern Africa through the prism of settler colonialism, colonial capitalism, and their legacies.’ Elizabeth A. Povinelli, author of The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism.

Suffering for Territory
Race, Place and Power in Zimbabwe
Donald S. Moore
Weaver Press

ISBN 1 77922 037-5


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