Prof. Luise White has been awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship. She is one of two scholars to be awarded a fellowship in African Studies. As a Guggenheim Fellow, Prof. White will work on her project Unpopular Sovereignty: Rhodesian Independence and African Decolonization. Her current project explores the 1960s decolonization of Africa through the images of citizenship in Rhodesia (now the Republic of Zimbabwe). In response to the British decolonization policy precluding independence before majority rule, the European minority government of Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence. During the years that followed, Rhodesia succumbed to civil war as various groups contested the minority rule, culminating in the promulgation of universal suffrage in 1979. Prof. White attempts to chart changes in the imagination of citizenship during this tumultuous time. She relies heavily upon revisions to voter qualifications in the various constitutions implemented by the Rhodesian government. Qualification requirements scrutinized the income and education levels of Africans to determine their voter status. These changing qualifications provide a revealing access into the imagination and negotiation of citizenship between the European minority and the African majority. Moreover, they illustrate a discourse of racial inequalities during the decolonization process.
Prof. White’s previous publications include The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Nairobi (1990), Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa (2000), and The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo: Texts and Politics in Zimbabwe (2003). She has also edited African Words, African Voices: Critical Practices in Oral History (2001, with David William Cohen and Stephan Miescher), and of The State of Sovereignty: Territories, Laws, Populations (2008, with Douglas Howland).
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