African Studies Seminar: Understanding Zimbabwe: from Liberation to Authoritarianism

sara dorman

Conveners: Sebabatso Manoeli and Thomas Hendriks

Speaker: Sara Dorman, University of Edinburgh

Understanding Zimbabwe’s trajectory from liberation to authoritarianism requires drawing on a broad set of debates that incorporate citizenship, voice, and nation-building, as well as the more obvious material drivers and power politics.  This is a story of ambiguity and complexity in which the state and civil society mimic and learn from each other. We learn how both structural and direct violence are deployed by the regime, but also how ad-hoc and unplanned many of their interventions really were. Even as the liberation war generation reluctantly exits the Zimbabwean political stage, their influence continues to shape interaction between citizens and the state.

Sara teaches African Politics at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focusses on post-liberation states and the politics of nationalism, nation and state-building, especially in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa. She is a former Editor and Book Reviews Editor of African Affairs, and currently Senior Editor Journal of Southern African Studies and co-ordinator of the AEGIS African Politics & IR Collaborative Research Group. Her book: Understanding Zimbabwe: From Liberation to Authoritarianism was published in September 2016.