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Zimbabwe's Cinematic Arts

Language, Power, Identity

Katrina Daly Thompson

Publication Year: 2012

This timely book reflects on discourses of identity that pervade local talk and texts in Zimbabwe, a nation beset by political and economic crisis. As she explores questions of culture that play out in broadly accessible local and foreign film and television, Katrina Daly Thompson shows how viewers interpret these media and how they impact everyday life, language use, and thinking about community. She offers a unique understanding of how media reflect and contribute to Zimbabwean culture, language, and ethnicity.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-x

I owe a great deal to colleagues, students, friends, and members of my family who have helped extend my involvement in African studies, cultural studies, and applied linguistics and who have encouraged...


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pp. xi-xiv

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INTRODUCTION: Cultural Identity in Discourse

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pp. 1-10

This book offers a critical discussion about cultural identity in Zimbabwe by analyzing talk and texts about the cinematic arts. Zimbabwe’s economic and political crises have been well documented...

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CHAPTER 1. A Crisis of Representation

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pp. 11-30

One evening each week in a Shona village in Chiweshe Communal Lands in northeast Zimbabwe, Mrs. Jaunda* gathers up her five children and walks down the dusty road to her neighbor’s yard...

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CHAPTER 2. Cinematic Arts before the 2001 Broadcasting Services Act: Two Decades of Trying to Build a Nation

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pp. 31-70

In 1980 a newly independent Zimbabwe found itself with an inherited cinematic culture dominated by white producers and mostly aimed at white viewers. Only a handful of domestically produced films...

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CHAPTER 3. Authorship and Identities: What Makes a Film “Local”?

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pp. 71-91

At the end of the twentieth century, fictional film and television narratives—dramas as many Zimbabweans call them—became more central to viewers’ interaction with cinematic texts as their access...

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CHAPTER 4. Changing the Channel: Using the Foreign to Critique the Local

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pp. 92-120

Just as filmmakers and viewers construct both their own identities and a film’s identity through talk about “local” cinematic texts, they also discuss and interpret “foreign” cinematic texts...

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CHAPTER 5. Power, Citizenship, and Local Content: A Critical Reading of the Broadcasting Services Act

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pp. 121-142

There is a history of common stereotypes used in Zimbabwean discourse, which are, in complex ways, sometimes reinforced and sometimes subverted in Zimbabwean media. Viewers play an active role...

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CHAPTER 6. Language as a Form of Social Change: Public Debate in Local Languages

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pp. 143-161

In many countries, media in a common language play a primary role in the creation of a “national” identity. Unfortunately, in multilingual countries they also promote one language at the expense...

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CONCLUSION: Possibilities for Democratic Change

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pp. 162-180

As popular cultural phenomena, film and television are by definition shifting, as are the ways Zimbabweans talk about them, making them an amorphous, moving target. So far we have examined...


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pp. 181-190


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pp. 191-204


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pp. 205-220


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pp. 221-226

E-ISBN-13: 9780253006561
E-ISBN-10: 0253006562
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253006462

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 823710283
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Zimbabwe's Cinematic Arts

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Zimbabwe -- Social conditions -- 1980-.
  • Zimbabwe. Broadcasting Services Act.
  • Motion picture industry -- Zimbabwe -- Foreign influences.
  • Motion pictures and television -- Social aspects -- Zimbabwe.
  • Mass media and language -- Political aspects -- Zimbabwe.
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