Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga Ehem. Senior Fellow

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga
Januar - Mai 2016


Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga is an associate professor of science, technology, and society at MIT and a visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is the first graduate of the University of Michigan’s Science, Technology & Society (STS) Program and one of few African scholars trained in and publishing at the intersection of African History and STS. He has published many articles and book chapters, including "Vermin Beings." Prof. Mavhunga is the author of Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe (MIT Press, 2014), and has just finished his second book, tentatively entitled What Does Science Mean from Africa? A View from Dzimbahwe and an edited volume entitled What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa? At MIT he teaches courses such as Africa for Engineers; Technology and Innovation in Africa; Technology in History; and Energy, Environment, and Society. His next two book projects focus on African Chemistry and an edited volume on Global South Epistemologies of Science, Technology, and Innovation, which he will also offer as a graduate seminar.

Dated from 2016

Fields of research

Science and Technology, Technology in History, African History, Environmental History



Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe (MIT Press, 2014)
What Does Science Mean from Africa? A View from Dzimbahwe (MIT Press, in press, expected 2016)

Edited Books

What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa? (MIT Press, under review, expected 2016/2017)


2013 “Cidades Esfumaçadas: Energy and the Rural-Urban Connection in Mozambique,” Public Culture 25 (2): 261-271.
2012 “Which Mobility for (Which) Africa? Beyond Banal Mobilities,” T2M Yearbook: 73-84.
2011 “Vermin Beings: On Pestiferous Animals and Human Game,” Social Text 29 (1): 151-176.
2009 With Marja Spierenburg, “Transfrontier Talk, Cordon Politics: the Forgotten History of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park in Southern Africa,” Journal of Southern African Studies 35, 3 (2009): 715-735.
2009 “The Glass Fortress: Zimbabwe’s Cyber-Guerrilla Warfare,” Journal of International Affairs 62 (2): 159-173.
2007 With Marja Spierenburg, “A Finger on the Pulse of the Fly: Hidden Voices of Colonial Anti-Tsetse Science on the Rhodesia and Mozambique Borderlands, 1945-56,” South African Historical Journal (58): 117-141.
2007 “Big Game Hunters, Bacteriologists, and Tsetse Fly Entomology in Colonial Southeast Africa: The Selous-Austen Debate Revisited, 1905-1940s,” ICON (12): 75-117.
2007 With Wolfram Dressler, “On the Local Community: The Language of Disengagement?” Conservation and Society 5 (1): 44-59.
2007 Barbara Tapela, Lamson Maluleke, and Clapperton Mavhunga, “New Architecture, Old Agendas: Perspectives on Social Research in Rural Communities Neighbouring the Kruger National Park,” Conservation and Society 5 (1): 60-87.
2003 “Firearms Diffusion, Exotic and Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the Lowveld Frontier, South Eastern Zimbabwe, 1870-1920,” Comparative Technology Transfer and Society 1 (2): 201-231.
2002 “If they are as Thirsty as all that, Let them Come Down to the Pool’: Unearthing Wildlife History and Reconstructing Heritage in Gonarezhou National Park, from the late 19th century to the 1930s,” Historia 47 (2): 531-558.

Chapters in Books

2012 “Mobility and the Making of Animal Meaning: The Kinetics of ‘Vermin’ and ‘Wildlife’ in Southern Africa,” in Georgina Montgomery and Linda Kalof, eds., Making Animal Meaning. Cambridge: Michigan State University Press, pp. 17-43.
2011 “A Plundering Tiger with its Deadly Cubs? The USSR and China as Weapons in the Engineering of a 'Zimbabwean Nation,’ 1945-2009,” in Gabrielle Hecht, ed., Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 231-66.
2011 “Mugabe, Robert,” in Henry Louis Gates and Emmanuel Akyeampong, ed., Dictionary of African Biography. New York: Oxford University Press.
2011 “The Colony in Us, the Colony as Us,” in Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni and James Muzondidya, eds., Redemptive or Grotesque Nationalism? Rethinking Contemporary Politics in Zimbabwe. Bern: Peter Lang, pp. 349-380.

Other Publications

2014 with Helmuth Trischler, eds., Energy (and) Colonialism, Energy (In)Dependence: Africa, Europe, Greenland, North America. Munich: Rachel Carson Perspectives, in press,

2014 “Seeing the National Park from Outside It: On an African Epistemology of Nature,” in Christof Mauch and Libby Robin, eds., The Edges of Environmental History: Honouring Jane Carruthers. Munich: RCC Perspectives, pp. 53-60,
2014 “What is Innovation in African Terms?” Interview with Eusebius McKaiser on Power FM, South Africa, July 18th,
2012 “Incoming Technology and African Innovation,” Carson Fellow Portraits (Video Series),
2007 “Even the Rider and a Horse are a Partnership: a Reply to Vermeulen and Sheil,” Oryx 41 (4): 441-442.

Book Reviews

2007 Review of Lynnette A. Jackson, Surfacing Up: Psychiatry and Social Order in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1908-1968 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2005) in H-Africa.
2007 Review of Suffering for Territory: Race, Place, and Power in Zimbabwe (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005) in Comparative Studies in Society and History 49 (4): 1013-1014.
In Press
2014 “Organic Vehicles and Passengers: Sarungano’s Tsetse Fly as Transient Analytical Workspace,” Transfers (accepted, in press).