Francis Musoni

  • Assistant Professor
  • African American and Africana Studies
  • History
  • International Studies
1701 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:
  • B.A Honors & M.A, University of Zimbabwe
  • Ph.D, Emory University

My research focuses on migrations and cross-border mobilities, borderland communities, refugees, ethnic identities and informal economies in Africa. In addition to articles published in the Journal of Southern African Studies; Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, the African Studies Review and others, my book manuscript entitled Contested Illegality: Border Jumping and the Control of Mobility across the Zimbabwe-South Africa Border is currently under contract at Indiana University Press. Relying on extensive fieldwork in the Zimbabwe-South Africa border zone, as well as research at the British Library (London), the National Archives of Zimbabwe (Harare), the National Archives of South Africa (Pretoria) and archives of The Employment Bureau of Africa (TEBA) located in the Special Collections of the University of Johannesburg Library (Doornfontein Campus), the book examines how border jumping came to be a salient feature of the Zimbabwe-South Africa border's cultural milieu. 

I am also working on a co-authored book (with Iddah Otieno, Angene Wilson and Jack Wilson) entitled African Immigrants in Central Kentucky, which is under contract at University Press of Kentucky. Based almost entirely on oral interviews with differently positioned African migrants in Central Kentucky, this book provides a refreshing look at people's movements from postcolonial Africa to the United States, the highly debated concept of Africanity, as well as migrants' struggles with and the joys of maintaining connections with "home" while pursuing their dreams in America. 

Before joining the University of Kentucky, I taught at the University of Zimbabwe for five years and held a Visiting Scholar Fellowship at the Five Colleges African Studies Program in Amherst, Massachusetts. In addition, I have also served as a Research Associate at the African Center for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa since 2015.


Undergraduate surveys and Upper-level seminars

  • War and Society in World History, 1945 to present
  • Introduction to African Studies
  • Colonial and Postcolonial History of Africa
  • Migrations Within and Out of Africa
  • Africa’s Borderlands in Global Perspectives
  • Land and Politics in Africa  
  • International Studies Senior Capstone Seminar on Global Migrations

Graduate-level seminars

  • Migrations in World History
  • Readings on Forced Migrations and Refugee Resettlement
General Contributions to the Academic Profession
  • External Examiner for MA thesis, Rhodes University, South Africa (2017)
  • Reviewed an article for Third World Thematics (2016)
  • Reviewed an article for Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies (2016)
  • Reviewed an article for Peace and Conflict Studies (2016)
  • Reviewed a dossier for promotion from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer for Midlands State University, Zimbabwe (2016)
  • Reviewed an article for African Studies Review (2014)
  • Reviewed an article for African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review (2014)
  • Reviewed an article for African Geographical Review (2014)
  • Reviewed an article for Michigan Sociological Review (2012)


Community Involvement and Contributions to Public Debates
  • Board Member, Lexington Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission (August 2015 to present)
  • Board Member, Kentucky Refugee Ministries Board of Advisors (January 2013 to present).
  • Committee member, University of Kentucky International Studies Program Executive Committee (August 2014 to present)
  • Faculty Advisor for University of Kentucky African Student Association (May 2013 to April 2017)
  • “Spiritual Healing in Indigenous African Religions: The Case of the Shona People of Zimbabwe” Lecture presentation at the University of Pikeville, Kentucky (October 11, 2016)
  • Guest at the WLXU 93.9 FM’s Bluegrass Refugee Voices (Lexington, Kentucky, Sept 20, 2016)
  • “Cultural Considerations in Human Services Delivery to African Refugees” Lecture presentation at the Family Care Center, Lexington, Kentucky (August 19, 2016)
  • Guest at Voice of America's Studio 7 (August 3 & 4, 2016).
  • Guest Presenter at the Discussion of “Democrats” a Film Directed by Camilla Nielsson, University of Missouri-Columbia (February 5, 2016)
  • Master of Ceremony at Kentucky Refugee Ministries’ Graduates Recognition Day (May 17, 2014)
  • Charge to the Graduates” Speech delivered at Kentucky Refugee Ministries’ Graduates Recognition Day (May 19, 2013)
  • Guest at the WRFG 89.3 FM Atlanta’s African Experience Worldwide (2008 and 2009).
  • “Prospects for a Peaceful Resolution to the Decade-long Crisis in Zimbabwe” Invited presentation at the Africa-Haiti Peacemakers’ Leadership Seminar, The Carter Center, Atlanta (October 9, 2008)
  • (with Boniface Hlabano), “A Post Mortem of The March 2008 Elections in Zimbabwe: Should Winners Become Losers?” Presentation at the Southern Center for International Studies, Atlanta (22 April 2008)
  • “2008 Elections in Zimbabwe: Challenges and Prospects for Positive Change” Presentation at the Roundtable Discussion of Elections and Violence in Africa, organized by Emory University’s Institute of African Studies (19 February 2008)
  • “Democracy at Risk? Politics in Twenty-first Century Africa” Invited presentation at the Teach Africa Workshop organized by the Southern Center for International Studies, Atlanta (November 8, 2008).
  • “Direct Access to Political Advertising in the Media” Presentation at the Workshop organized by Media Monitoring Project in Zimbabwe (Bronte Hotel, Harare 17 November 2001).
Selected Publications: 

Contesting Illegality: Clandestine Mobility across the Zimbabwe-South Africa Border (book under contract at Indiana University Press).

African Immigrants in Central Kentucky (co-authored book under contract at University Press of Kentucky)

“Contested Illegality: Border Jumping and the Politics of Migration across the Zimbabwe-South Africa Border, 1913-1933” (article under review for a special issue at the African Studies Review)

“Contested Foreignness: Indian Migrants and the Politics of Exclusion in Early Colonial Zimbabwe” African and Asian Studies, 16, 4 (2017): 312-335

“Zimbabwe: Overview of Tourism Policies and Development Trends,” The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Travel and Tourism vol.4 (2017)

“Cross-Border Mobility, Violence and Spiritual Healing in Beitbridge District, Zimbabwe.” In Journal of Southern African Studies, 42, 2 (2016). 

“Forced Resettlement, Ethnicity, and the (Un) Making of the Ndebele Identity in Buhera District, Zimbabwe.” In African Studies Review, 57, 3 (2014).

“Operation Murambatsvina and the Politics of Street Vendors in Zimbabwe” in the Journal of Southern African Studies, 36, 2 (2010).




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