Nov 30 Racial Violence & Clandestine Migration from Mozambique to Zimbabwe

Invisible Histories: Racial Violence and Clandestine Migration from Mozambique to Zimbabwe 1900 ca.-1980

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Heller Hall 537

Allen Isaacman, Regents Professor of History, University of Minnesota

Abstract: From its earliest days, the field of African history has been, above all else, about rendering visible people whose past has been in the shadows of history. Despite efforts of scholars to open up new areas of inquiry, expand their theoretical perspectives and widening the lens of possible sources, there is much that still much remains lingering in the shadows of history. The challenge of invisibility poses significant epistemological and methodological problems for contemporary scholars. These silences are particularly acute in the literature on the clandestine labor migration from Mozambique to colonial Zimbabwe of more than 2 million Mozambicans. Conspicuously absent from voluminous official reports are accounts describing the lived experience of the trekkers many of whom walked hundreds of miles and faced innumerable dangers. Most scholars also understated or overlooked the pre-history of cross border migrations and the and the long tradition of cognitive mapping which helped to guide these labor migrants. In omitting these issues researchers literally jumped over history. It is these two issues which the paper addresses.
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