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JoAnn is Professor of Human Geography and African Studies. She directs the Sussex Africa Centre. She came to Sussex in 2013 from University College London, where she was Reader, and prior to that was based at the University of Reading (Dept of Geography) and the University of Oxford (Refugee Studies Programme). She was educated at University of Oxford, where she secured a first class honours in geography, and at Loughborough, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in the interdisciplinary fields of African studies and migration studies, and cross the boundaries between political, historical-cultural and development geography. She has a particular focus on Southern Africa. On going research projects are on mobility, citizenship and urban governance, histories of Southern African exile and on colonial-era African collections in UK museums.

Her publications include the books Violence and Memory: One Hundred Years in the Dark Forests of Matabeleland (co-authored with Jocelyn Alexander and Terence Ranger, Heinemann 2000), Crossing the Zambezi: The Politics of Landscape on a Central African Frontier (James Currey 2009); Zimbabwe's New Diaspora: Displacement and the Cultural Politics of Survival (co-edited with Ranka Primorac, Berghahn 2010); Politics, Patronage and the State in Zimbabwe (co-edited with Jocelyn Alexander and Blessing Miles-Tendi, Weaver Press 2013); The Transnational Histories of Southern Africa's Liberation Movements (co-edited with Jocelyn Alexander and Blessing Miles-Tendi, Routledge 2020).