Zimbabwe/Rhodesia writing home: Space, place, mobility and diasporic identity in selected novels
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This thesis examines how “unhomeliness” in a Zimbabwean context enjoins mobility and the diasporic particularities that manifest as subjects move back and forth in a homemaking journey between the country-side and the urban, as well as mobility to foreign countries and back to the homeland. Particularities of inclusion and exclusion, (re)emplacement, (re)identity, assimilation, rejection and (un)belonging, all loom large as mobility, paradoxically, takes root and comes to shape experience in as significant a way as being in a homeland or hostland. This thesis is also about the ways in which the “diasporic” settler, in one of the novels which destabilises the familiar paradigms of diasporic literature, can exist and be dominant in the foreign but colonised spatial setting without needing to assimilate, and how this attempt to territorialise can traumatise those marginalised by the settler community. Since the end of the twentieth century, there has been a rise in the significance of space in humanities and literary studies. Theories about diaspora, identity and belonging have featured strongly in works of scholars of space and place such as Henri Lefebvre, Yi-Fu Tuan, Doreen Massey, Edward Soja, Tim Cresswell, Nigel Thrift, Robin Cohen, John Agnew, and Kelly Baker. Space is largely regarded as a dimension within which matter is located.