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Francis Musoni

Research Interests:
Modern African History; Migration; Refugees
Border Studies; Informal Economies
  • Ph.D, Emory University
  • Graduate Certificate in Education, University of Zimbabwe
  • M.A, University of Zimbabwe
  • B.A Honors, University of Zimbabwe

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 various journals, my book entitled Border Jumping and the Control of Migration in Southern Africa was recently published by 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 have also co-authored a book on African Immigrants in Kentucky, which was published by University Press of Kentucky. Based almost entirely on oral interviews with differently positioned African migrants in 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 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 and as a Writing Fellow at the Johannebsurg Institute for Advanced Study.



  • 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  
  • Migrations in World History
  • International Studies Senior Capstone Seminar on Global Migrations
  • Readings on Forced Migrations and Refugee Resettlement
Selected Publications:


Border Jumping and the Control of Migration in Southern Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020).

(With Iddah Otieno, Angene Wilson and Jack Wilson) Voices of African Immigrants in Kentucky: Stories of Migration, Identity and Transnationality (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2019);…;

Peer-reviewed Articles

“The Ban of ‘Tropical Natives’ and the Promotion of Illegal Migration in Pre-Apartheid South Africa” African Studies Review 61, 3 (2018): 156-177.

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

“Cross-Border Mobility, Violence and Spiritual Healing in Beitbridge District, Zimbabwe,” Journal of Southern African Studies, 42, 2 (2016): 317-331.

“Forced Resettlement, Ethnicity and the (Un)Making of the Ndebele Identity in Buhera District, Zimbabwe 1927 to 1979,” African Studies Review 57, 3 (2014): 79-100.

“Operation Murambatsvina and the Politics of Street Vendors in Zimbabwe,” Journal of Southern African Studies 36, 2 (2010): 301-317.