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|Leiden University catalogue
|Whither Nationalism? Are we Entering an Era of Post-Nationalist Politics in Southern Africa?
|Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
|African nationalist and pan-Africanist scholars, wary of so-called postnationalist political projects, have characterized postnationalism as a political project detached from the pan-African ideal and free of its moral imperatives, which promotes an exclusionary and adversarial image of the nation. Focusing on southern Africa, this paper draws on the arguments of this group of scholars to provide a critique of both leftist and liberal intellectuals who have rushed to embrace postnationalism while disparaging nationalism and nationalist leaders. The new critics, intent on exposing nationalist leaders as the new emperors without clothes, have focused on the material basis and bourgeois and elitist character of postcolonial nationalism. The political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe illustrates both the limitations of the nationalist project as well as postnationalist alternatives. The paper argues that, while there is certainly a need to challenge nationalist leaders on their record, the national project needs to be taken seriously by critically revisiting and deconstructing the nationalist agenda rather than consigning nationalism to the dustbin of history. Bibliogr., note. [ASC Leiden abstract]