Benedito Machava

Lecturer in the Council of Humanities and History
Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows
2018-2021 Cohort

Benedito Machava received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan. He holds a Masters in History from the University of Michigan and a Licenciatura in History and Archaeology from Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique. He specializes in the history of colonial and postcolonial Southern Africa and in Lusophone Studies. In his scholarly work, he combines archival research and oral histories to explore twentieth-century’s political imaginations (nationalist and nativist), decolonization, socialism and socialist experiments, nation-building and citizenship. With grants from the Social Science Research Council, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rackham Graduate School, and the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities, Machava's doctoral dissertation investigated the ideological and material infrastructure of the socialist experiment in postcolonial Mozambique. The study examines the conception and organic functioning of internment camps, which the socialist-ruling party of independent Mozambique built to reform putative wayward members of society and to mold them as new citizens, and it illustrates that the camps were an important component of the project of social transformation that the revolutionaries espoused in Mozambique. It foregrounds the contradictions of the socialist experiment and the gap between the ideals of social reform and the reality of the internment regimen. Titled “Social Reform, Citizenship and the Carceral Regime in Socialist Mozambique: A History, 1974-1988,” his book project expands the arguments of his doctoral dissertation and situates Mozambique’s camps within the global history of mass internment and the carceral state. He has publications in the Journal of Southern African Studies and Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais.

During his time in the Society of Fellows at Princeton, Machava holds an appointment as lecturer in the Department of History and has been teaching  courses on African history, society and culture in Lusophone Africa, socialism, and internment camps.