ACAS Bulletin 82: Reflections on Mahmood Mamdani’s ‘Lessons of Zimbabwe’

Edited by Sean Jacobs and Jacob Mundy

Mahmood Mamdani, a university professor of anthropology at Columbia University in New York City remains one of the pre-eminent scholars of African Studies in the West. He also remains prolific, often taking the lead in unpacking controversial debates. For example, this month he has a new book out on the Darfur crisis, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror (Knopf, 2009). And few can disagree about the impact of his previous two books. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror (Pantheon, 2004) certainly contributed—especially in popular media—to our understanding of the historical roots of the “War on Terror”: to the United States’ engagement in proxy wars in Southern Africa, Latin America and Afghanistan and the antecedents of “collateral damage.” A decade earlier, his Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton, 1996) became a must-read in universities. So when, in early December 2008, the London Review of Books (hereafter LRB) published a long essay by Mamdani on the ongoing political and economic crises (at least for a decade now) in Zimbabwe, it was inevitable that it would provoke debate. As one critic of Mamdani’s concedes in this issue, “…whatever Mamdani writes he is always brilliant and provocative.” Read the rest of the introduction.

Table of Contents

Editor’s Introduction | PDF
Sean Jacobs

Lessons of Zimbabwe: Mugabe in context | PDF
Mahmood Mamdani

Re: ‘Lessons of Zimbabwe’ | PDF
Terence Ranger

Re: ‘Lessons of Zimbabwe’ | PDF
Timothy Scarnecchia, Joceyln Alexander, et. al.

Re: ‘Lessons of Zimbabwe’ | PDF
Mahmood Mamdani

Zimbabwe: Where is the Outrage? Mamdani, Mugabe and the African Scholarly Community | PDF
Horace Campbell

Zimbabwe Ten Years On: Results and Prospects | PDF
Sam Moyo and Paris Yeros

Mamdani on Zimbabwe sets back Civil Society | PDF
Patrick Bond

The Measure of Just Demands? A Response to Mamdani | PDF
Amanda Hammar

A Reply to Mamdani on the Zimbabwean Land Question | PDF
Ben Cousins

Some Observations on Mamdani’s ‘Lessons of Zimbabwe’ | PDF
Elaine Windrich

Mamdani’s Enthusiasms | PDF
David Moore

Critique of the Article by Mahmood Mamdani | PDF
Wilfred Mhanda

Response to the Mamdani Debate | PDF
Brian Raftopoulos

Further Reading on Zimbabwe | PDF

Download the entire Bulletin (63pp PDF) (2.1MB)