Death, Corporeality, and Uncertainty in Zimbabwe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Existing scholarship on death in Zimbabwe has become increasingly sophisticated in its analysis of nationalist historiography, contested commemoration and heritage, and changing funerary practices. These all turn on contested and contingent processes of (re)constituting the past and the dead. But the entanglement of human remains as material substances in these processes is only beginning to be understood, despite growing recognition of the transforming significance of human corporeality. This chapter explores how Zimbabwe's "politics of the dead" is imbricated with the indeterminate materialities of human remains. It links this indeterminacy of human substances to the productive but precarious uncertainties of rumors and spirits, and the "unfinished" nature of death, to examine how the uneasy mutual dependency of the material and immaterial is intertwined with, and thereby constitutive of, the incomplete work of postcolonial politics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to the Anthropology of Death
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781119222422
ISBN (Print)9781119222293
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Ancestors
  • Corporeality
  • Exhumations
  • Materiality
  • Necropolitics
  • Politics of the dead
  • Reburials
  • Uncertainty
  • Unfinished death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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