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Centre of African Studies: People


George Hamandishe Karekwaivanane

George Hamandishe Karekwaivanane
Dr George Hamandishe Karekwaivanane
Lecturer in African Studies
4.01 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 651 3206
Research Interests
Nationalism and the post-colonial state in Africa, Zimbabwe, Colonial/imperial history, legal history, history of the legal profession, Human rights, digital research, digital publics and counterpublics, Digital humanities, Media and society, new media

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B. A. Economic History, University of Zimbabwe

M. A. African Economic History, University of Zimbabwe

M. Sc. African Studies, University of Oxford

D. Phil. History, University of Oxford


George studied Economic History at the University of Zimbabwe before doing an M. Sc. in African Studies as well as a doctorate in History at Oxford University.  He has taught at universities in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United Kingdom.  Before coming to Edinburgh George was a research fellow in the Centre of African Studies at the University of Cambridge.  He currently serves on the Journal of Southern African Studies Editorial Board, and the African Studies Association (UK) Council.

One of George's key research interests is in exploring the ways that law and legal struggles can be used to shed light on social and political processes in African history. His forthcoming monograph will examine how law was deployed in the constitution and contestation of state power and legitimacy in Zimbabwe between 1950 and 2008.  He is currently working on a research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust which investigates the history of the legal profession in Zimbabwe between 1950 and 2010.  It pays attention to lawyers' roles as legal intermediaries, public intellectuals, politicians, and ‘cultural entrepreneurs’.  In addition to treating of legal professionals as important subjects in their own right, the project also uses them as prisms through which to study the intersections between law, politics and society in Zimbabwe. 

George's second research interest is in investigating the diverse ways that digital media is reshaping social, political and economic life in Africa.  He and colleagues at the University of Cambridge are currently co-ordinating a collaborative research project that explores the ways that digital media has been used to convoke publics and counterpublics in Africa.  Among other things the project considers how these digital publics are reshaping sociality, and the practice of politics.  In addition it investigates the connections between these more recent publics and older ones that pre-date the digital age.

Peer-reviewed Publications

Pursuing Justice in Africa: Competing Imaginaries and Contested Practices, edited with Jessica Johnson, Ohio University Press, (forthcoming).

‘Introduction: Pursuing Justice in Africa’, with Jessica Johnson, in J. Johnson and G. H. Karekwaivanane (eds), Pursuing Justice in Africa: Competing Imaginaries and Contested Practices, Ohio University Press, (forthcoming)

The Struggle over State Power in Zimbabwe: Law and Politics since 1950, Cambridge University Press African Studies Series, (September 2017).

‘Part Issue: Law and Social Order in Africa’, edited with Sarah-Jane Cooper-Knock, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 86, No. 1, (2016).

‘Introduction: Law and Social Order in Africa’, with Sarah-Jane Cooper-Knock, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 86, No. 1,  (2016).

‘“Through the Narrow Door”: Narratives of the First Generation of African Lawyers in Zimbabwe’, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 86, No. 1, (2016).

 ‘Special Issue – Juristes: Faiseurs d’Etat', edited with Sara Dezalay, Politique Africaine, Vol. 138, No. 2,  (2015).

‘Les juristes entre “Africanisation” et transition politique: transformations du champ juridique dans le Zimbabwe postcolonial, 1980-1995', Politique Africaine, Vol. 138, No. 2 (2015).

‘“It shall be the duty of every African to obey and comply promptly”: Negotiating State Authority in the Legal Arena, Rhodesia 1965-1980’, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2, (2011).


Other Publications

Review of B. Ibhawoh, Imperial Justice: Africans in Empire’s, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth Studies, Vol. 43, No. 2, (2015).

'Fed up, unafraid, and just getting started: What Zimbabwe's #ThisFlag must do now', African Arguments Politics Now Blog Series, (2016).

'The Past as Prologue': Re-examining the Role of Law in Zimbabwean Politics Since 2000', University of Durham Centre for Contemporary African History Blog Series, (2016).

Zimbabwe Civil Society Millennium Development Goals Report 2006, with Karenga K., Masuko L., and Anyona N. K., National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations – Zimbabwe, (2007).

 “Taking Stock of the Humanitarian Response to Operation Murambatsvina,” NGO Alert, February-March, (2007).

Topics interested in supervising

Zimbabwean social and political history; histories of law, crime, and justice; nationalism and anti-colonial struggles, customary law, African history, digital media, digital humanities, the public sphere, legal professionals

If you are interested in being supervised by George Hamandishe Karekwaivanane, please see the links below for more information:

PhD In African Studies; MSc (R) African Studies