Land and Nationalism in Fictions from Southern Africa: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Land and Nationalism in Fictions from Southern Africa

1st Edition

By James Graham


204 pages

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pub: 2014-09-11
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In this volume, Graham investigates the relation between land and nationalism in South African and Zimbabwean fiction from the 1960s to the present. This comparative study, the first of its kind, discusses a wide range of writing against a backdrop of regional decolonization, including novels by the prize-winning authors J.M Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Chenjerai Hove, and Yvonne Vera. By employing a range of critical perspectives—cultural materialist, feminist and ecocritical—this book offers new ways of thinking about the relationship between literature, politics and the environment in Southern Africa.

The return of land has been central to the material and cultural struggles for decolonization in Southern Africa, yet between the advent of democracy in Zimbabwe (1980) and South Africa (1994) and Zimbabwe’s decision to fast-track land redistribution in 2000, it has been limited land reform rather than widespread land redistribution that has prevailed. During this period nationalist discourses of reconciliation and economic development replaced those of revolution and decolonization. This book develops a critique of both forms of nationalistic narrative by focusing on how different and often opposing idea of land and nation are reflected, refracted and even refused in the fictions.


"A compelling comparative study of nationalism which goes beyond our conventional understanding of it as a derivative discourse…one of the first to draw attention to the themes common to Zimbabwe and South Africa."James Ogude, Wits University, Scrutiny2

"Elegantly composed and theoretically sound…The key strength of Land and Nationalism in Fictions from Southern Africa is its nonhierarchical comparativism: that the volume is not South Africa-centred is an achievement in itself; furthermore, the cross-border, cross-historical compositional alternation enables innovative readings of both contexts." Ranka Primorac, University of Southampton, Journal of Southern Africa Studies

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Promised Lands in Southern Africa 2. Melancholy Possessions: Nationalisms and the Land in Black Writing from Zimbabwe 1975-1989 3. Revolutionary Repossessions: Subterranean Nationalism in South African Fictions 1969-1979 4. Reconstructions: Abjection and the Re-writing of Cultural Nationalism in Zimbabwean Fiction 1989-2002 5. From Repossession to Reform: A New Terrain in South African Fiction 1990-2000 6. Conclusion

About the Author

James Graham is a visiting lecturer at Middlesex University.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures

Edited in collaboration with the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, University of Kent at Canterbury, Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures presents a wide range of research into postcolonial literatures by specialists in the field. Volumes concentrate on writers and writing originating in previously (or presently) colonized areas, and include material from non-anglophone as well as anglophone colonies and literatures.

Part of our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections, this series considers postcolonial literature alongside topics such as gender, race, ecology, religion, politics, and science. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics. Series editors: Donna Landry and Caroline Rooney

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