Uneasy images, unstable identities: inscriptions of masculinities in selected post-independent Zimbabwean literary texts
This thesis is premised on the notion that gender and gender studies are essentially dialogic. This highlights the fact that both male and female subjects are gendered and none exist as closed off or isolated sub-sets or categories. This is the orientation that informs the examination of the representation of Zimbabwean male subjects and masculinities in the selected Zimbabwean post-independence literary texts that make up this study. Through a close examination of eleven post-independence Zimbabwean literary texts by both black and white authors, it establishes that the inscriptions of the masculinities are marked and characterized by images that exude dialogic tensions and resonances. Employing a triangulation of theoretical perspectives, this diachronic and synchronic study of these masculinities has as its goals the appreciation of these identities and their dialogic relations with various textual and extra-textual discourses of the post-independence period in Zimbabwe. Here the identities are marked and defined by internal contradictions, ambivalences, and instabilities that challenge and complicate conventional understandings of masculinities. Both black and white masculinities are examined inclusively of their relationship to the evolving nationalist discourses of the country. Some of their trajectories since the attainment of independence from colonialism and their associated implications are also explored. These are multiple and diverse, making visible the complex dialogic relations impacting on these masculinities. The texts reveal that hegemonic masculine attributes are dispersed amongst men and so male homosocial bonds ensure hegemony. The understandings of masculinities so revealed in this study have multiple implications for various discourses such as those of gender equality and the nation, amongst others to be discussed in the course of the thesis.
- Humanities