New book by alumna Susanne Verheul examines how power is enacted in Zimbabwe's courts

18 November, 2021

Focusing on political trials in Zimbabwe's Magistrates' Courts between 2000 and 2012, a new book by Susanne Verheul explores why the judiciary have remained a central site of contestation in post-independence Zimbabwe.

Drawing on rich court observations and in-depth interviews, this book foregrounds law's potential to reproduce or transform social and political power through the narrative, material, and sensory dimensions of courtroom performances. Instead of viewing appeals to law as acts of resistance by marginalised orders for inclusion in dominant modes of rule, she argues that it was not recognition by but of this formal, rule-bound ordering, and the form of citizenship it stood for, that was at stake in performative legal engagements.

In this manner, law was much more than a mere instrument. Law was a site in which competing conceptions of political authority were given expression, and in which people's understandings of themselves as citizens were formed and performed.

Find out more about the book here.