Mobility in Contemporary Zimbabwean Literature in English : Crossing Borders, Transcending Boundaries book cover
1st Edition

Mobility in Contemporary Zimbabwean Literature in English
Crossing Borders, Transcending Boundaries

ISBN 9780367637811
Published July 6, 2021 by Routledge
270 Pages

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Book Description

This monograph explores the concept of mobility in Zimbabwean works of fiction published in English between the introduction of the controversial Fast Track Land Reform Programme and the end of the Mugabe era.

Since 2000, Zimbabwe has experienced unprecedented levels of transnational out-migration in response to the political conflicts and economic downturn often referred to as the Zimbabwe Crisis. This, in turn, has led to an increased outpouring of literary texts about migration, both in locally produced texts and in works by authors based in the diaspora. Situating Zimbabwe’s recent literary developments in a wider context of Southern African writing and history, this book focuses on texts that portray movement within Zimbabwe’s cities, between village and city, to South Africa, and overseas. The author examines important developments and trends in recent Zimbabwean literature, investigating the link between state authoritarianism and control of mobility, and literature’s potential to intervene into dominant political discourses. The book includes in-depth analyses of ten recent works of fiction published in the post-2000 era and develops mobility as a key category of literary analysis of Zimbabwe’s contemporary literatures.

Setting out a rich dialogue between literary criticism and mobility studies, this book will be of interest to researchers of African literature, Southern Africa, migration, and mobility.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Zimbabwean Mobility Dynamics in the Twenty-First Century

3. Spatial Orders and Mobility in a Shifting National Landscape

4. Intra-Urban Mobilities

5. Rural-Urban Dynamics

6. Transnational Migrations Between Zimbabwe and South Africa

7. Transcontinental Migrations to the West

8. Conclusion


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Magdalena Pfalzgraf is a research associate in the Department of North American Literary and Cultural Studies at Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany, and an adjunct faculty member in the New English Literatures and Cultures (NELK) research division at Goethe University, Frankfurt.


"Magdalena Pfalzgraf ’s Mobility in Contemporary Zimbabwean Literature in English is an important contribution to the scholarship on Zimbabwean literature and mobility. The book brings into sharp focus how mobility permeates the works of selected Zimbabwean authors and shapes their overall vision of what is commonly referred to as the Zimbabwean crisis…Mobility in Contemporary Zimbabwean Literature invites the reader to see the postcoloniality of Zimbabwean texts on mobility, albeit ones which write back to a metanarrative of place, time, and belonging authored by an authoritarian African regime. Depictions of movement and the ways protagonists engage with multiple spaces mimic the political forms of resistance which preoccupied the African resistance literatures of the 1960s and 1970s. Through a reconceptualization of mobility and a fresh reading of Zimbabwean texts, Pfalzgraf demonstrates what she calls "the subversive and liberatory potential" of literary mobilities."

Cuthbeth Tagwirei, University of the Witwatersrand