Freaking Nation: Disability and the Differently Bodied in Imaginaries of Culture and Politics in Zimbabwe


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




The project, initially inspired by the well-known story of the South African athlete Caster Semenya, uses the optic of the differently bodied to explore questions of culture and politics in Zimbabwe. The project researches the ways in which figurations of the differently bodied configure structures of cultural and political articulation. Put in another way, it asks whether the enfreaked body is the foundation for modes of social and political inscription or whether modes of social and political inscription enable diasbility/enfreakment. Following these questions: if one thinks of critical redress as a mode of social justice, and social justice in terms of representation in its aesthetic as well as political dimensions, what modes of representational redress are available in figuring the differently bodied? The research is located in a socio-political context characterised by the willful production of disfigurements as a form of social control, and the use and abuse of the disfigured/differently bodied as sources of metaphor and symbolism.