Dr Melissa Myambo

Dr. Melissa Tandiwe Myambo is a writer, researcher and fitness instructor.  After earning her PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University, she was a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town where she taught in the sociology department and then a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in the International Institute at University of California, Los Angeles where she taught in the Department of Comparative Literature and the International Development Studies program.  Her research interests span political economy to postcolonial literature and urban space to sociology because she draws on both the Humanities and Social Sciences to make sense of the changing global cultural economy of the 21st century.  She is currently a Fulbright-Nehru scholar.

Her current research project, 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 “developing” economies of China, India and South Africa, a process she terms frontier migration.  She examines why these frontier migrants are heading to the “global South” and where they work, live, send their children to school, socialize etc. in their new homes.  Within contemporary frontier migration, Melissa also explores frontier heritage migration – the African and Asian diasporas raised in the global North who are now “returning” to their globalizing homelands.

The first phase of this research resulted in a manuscript entitled The American Dream Abroad: Privileged Migrants in the Global South Africa which analyzes the global cultural, political and socio-economic “frontier” conditions that allow for the exportation of the American Dream to lands beyond the continental US. She pays special attention to patterns of global gentrification and the global architecture of privilege which produce what she calls transnational cultural time zones that simultaneously contribute to increasing inequality and relative uneven development.

Melissa posts monthly essays on her website www.homosumhumani.com and is 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 which includes her 2012 Caine Prize-shortlisted story, “La Salle de Départ.” She particularly enjoys teaching boxing and zumba.