Unsettled Land
Title Details

240 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Imprint: James Currey

Unsettled Land

State-making and the Politics of Land in Zimbabwe 1893-2003

by Jocelyn Alexander

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
This book engages with current debates on land and politics in Africa and provides a much needed historical narrative of the Zimbabwean case.

In early 2000, a process of land occupation began in Zimbabwe. It involved the movement of hundreds of thousands of black farmers onto mostly white-owned farms, often under the leadership of veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberationwar. The ZANU(PF) government cast this moment as the end of colonialism. Others saw it as mere electioneering, the desperate machinations of an illegitimate government.
This poorly understood crisis has deep roots. In the settler period the government of Rhodesia divided the land along racial lines leaving the black population in poor and overcrowded reserves. Independent Zimbabwe not only inherited this profoundly unequal division of land but also apotent institutional and ideological legacy of contested claims to authority over the land. This combustible mix shaped political desires and discourses, as well as state and African institutions, setting the stage for the dramatic upheavals of 2000 and beyond.

North America: Ohio U Press; Zimbabwe: Weaver Press (PB)
Introduction
Making the settler state: authority & the land
Remaking the reserves: The Native Land Husbandry Act
Remaking rural administration: knowing African society
Chiefs, nationalism & the land: knowing the colonial state
Governing the land in independent Zimbabwe
Political conflict, authority & the land in Insiza
Nationalism, 'squatters' & chiefs in Chimanimani
The new politics of an unsettled land
"...will undoubtedly make a valuable contribution to the literature on Zimbabwean politics. Its strengths are the author's ability to take the long duree in understanding the land question, revealing the issue in all its complexities and the trajectory from one policy perspective to another, all contributing to a changing configuration of the status of the powerful and the dispossessed in that troubled country. -" Chris Alden, London School of Economics & Political Science
"Alexander has made a valuable contribution to the history of Zimbabwe and to the study of African power and authority more broadly." AFRICAN AFFAIRS
"This book is rich in empirical material and insights....Anybody interested in Zimbabwe and the relevance of its historical trajectory for African studies is highly recommended to read this book." MODERN AFRICAN STUDIES
"This careful treatment is sure to set a new standard for histories of state-making in Africa." AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW
"This excellent analysis of Zimbabwe's unresolved land question is built on an extensive bibliography and careful field research. Highly recommended." CHOICE
"A well-researched book that makes a major contribution to scholarship and complements existing literature on the history of the colonial state and the land question in Zimbabwe. [...] It is highly recommended to all Zimbabweanists and scholars of colonial African history." H-SAFRICA
"Offers valuable historical background to the current crisis in Zimbabwe. The depth of research and rich detail stand out, as does Alexander's ability to see complexity where others have tended toward reductionism." AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

Paperback

9780852558928

October 2006

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Hardcover

9780852558935

October 2006

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$75.00 / £50.00

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Title Details

240 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Imprint: James Currey