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“Mostly we are white and alone”: identity, anxiety and the past in some white Zimbabwean memoirs

Law, Kate


Nottingham Research Fellow


Using the space created by the land invasions, over the last ten years or so there has been a proliferation of exile memoirs written by white Zimbabweans living in the diaspora, which foreground colonial nostalgia and postcolonial anxiety. This article profiles elements of this latest wave of “white (female) writing”, arguing that writers such as Alexandra Fuller construct their own personal narratives based on an extremely teleological and narrow interpretation of the history of Zimbabwe. It is argued that memoirs are used as a mechanism to uphold an idealised (i.e. powerful) white identity, because whites’ current “destabilised” identity has resulted in them clinging to a seemingly utopian version of both what it meant to be white and the past. The article also examines some aspects of whiteness studies, utilising Peter McLaren’s framework to argue that these memoirs are beset by a whiteness of social amnesia.


Law, K. (2016). “Mostly we are white and alone”: identity, anxiety and the past in some white Zimbabwean memoirs. Journal of Historical Sociology, 29(3), 297-318.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 17, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 17, 2014
Publication Date Sep 14, 2016
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 24, 2019
Journal Journal of Historical Sociology
Print ISSN 0952-1909
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 3
Pages 297-318
Public URL
Publisher URL


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