Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the "Cultures in Transnational Perspective" : Melissa Tandiwe Myambo


Research projects by Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Melissa Tandiwe Myambo


Melissa Tandiwe Myambo is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in the International Institute at UCLA. After earning her PhD from New York University, she was a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Cape Town. At UCLA, she is teaching in the Department of Comparative Literature and the International Development Studies interdepartmental program whilst working on two interrelated research projects.

In the context of post-1990 cultural globalization, The Politics of Blood: Frontier Migration to China, India and South Africa in a Changing Global Economy explores highly-skilled migration from “developed” countries such as the US to the “emerging market” economies of China, India and South Africa – “frontier” migration. How much does this contemporary migration resemble the colonial migrations from “developed” Europe to the “developing” colonies in the Americas, Asia and Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries? Within contemporary frontier migration, Melissa also explores “heritage” migration, the return of the African and Asian diasporas to their globalizing homelands, the sites of “emerging modernity” and changing experiences of spatio-temporality.

The American Dream Abroad: Privileged Migrants in the Global South Africa analyzes the exportation of the American Dream to lands beyond the continental US. On one hand, privileged migrants fleeing the decline of the middle class in the global North are attracted to industrializing countries where the middle class is growing and thus creating increasing opportunities. But whilst these privileged migrants move in transnational “cultural time zones” that enable them to exploit the prospects created by the American Dream abroad, the intensification of capitalist modernity concurrently produces a “wild wild West” frontier economy which simultaneously subjugates working class migrants.

Melissa is also the author of Jacaranda Journals (www.jacarandajournals.com), a collection of short stories set in Zimbabwe, and {Parenthesis} (www.cuppedhands.net/melissatandiwemyambo), an electronic chapbook for charity containing stories about people on the move including her 2012 Caine Prize-shortlisted story, “La Salle de Départ.” She posts monthly essays on her website www.homosumhumani.com.

Most vitally: she is an aerobics instructor and particularly enjoys teaching boxing and zumba.


Published: Friday, April 11, 2014