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Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania

James R. Brennan

Publication Year: 2012

Taifa is a story of African intellectual agency, but it is also an account of how nation and race emerged out of the legal, social, and economic histories in one major city, Dar es Salaam. Nation and race—both translatable as taifa in Swahili—were not simply universal ideas brought to Africa by European colonizers, as previous studies assume. They were instead categories crafted by local African thinkers to make sense of deep inequalities, particularly those between local Africans and Indian immigrants. Taifa shows how nation and race became the key political categories to guide colonial and postcolonial life in this African city.

Using deeply researched archival and oral evidence, Taifa transforms our understanding of urban history and shows how concerns about access to credit and housing became intertwined with changing conceptions of nation and nationhood. Taifa gives equal attention to both Indians and Africans; in doing so, it demonstrates the significance of political and economic connections between coastal East Africa and India during the era of British colonialism, and illustrates how the project of racial nationalism largely severed these connections by the 1970s.

Published by: Ohio University Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vi-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

This book began long ago as an idea that I had at the end of my first quarter at Northwestern University, when a small seminar of first-year African History graduate students—Greg Mann, . . .

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pp. 1-20

The title of this book asks the reader to learn one Swahili word from the outset. Taifa (pronounced tă-ēfƏ) is today translated as “nation,” but seventy years ago, “race” would have been an . . .

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Chapter 1: Native and Non-Native: Colonial Urbanization and the Legal Foundations of Identity

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pp. 21-46

In British colonial Africa between the 1890s and 1940s, a person’s first legal identity was either native or non-native. While there was no one definition, in general . . .

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Chapter 2: Identity and Social Structure in Interwar Dar es Salaam

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pp. 47-84

This chapter examines the formation of group identities in interwar Dar es Salaam to show the dialectical interaction between external categorization and internal . . .

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Chapter 3: Posing the Urban Question: War, State Intervention, and the Creation of Urban Entitlement

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pp. 85-117

Sometime around the year 1939, Dar es Salaam’s rate of population growth leaped from its interwar pace of 2 percent to around 8 percent. This latter rate of growth has . . .

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Chapter 4: Continental Shift: Civilization, Racial Thought, and the Intellectual Foundations of an African Nationalism

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pp. 118-158

The intellectual tenets of African nationalism in Tanganyika took firm shape during the 1940s. Black Tanganyikan thinkers—informed by urban experiences in . . .

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Chapter 5: Nationalist Thought, Racial Caricature, and Urban Citizenship in Postcolonial Tanzania

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pp. 159-195

This chapter examines how the language and politics of national citizenship transformed material meanings of urban entitlement. Dar es Salaam continued to grow . . .

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pp. 196-200

This book has been a study of identity and its categories in urban Tanzania, told through multiple lenses of social, economic, political, and intellectual history. Besides presenting . . .


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pp. 201-260


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pp. 261-262


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pp. 263-281


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pp. 283-292

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444177
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821420010

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 804048994
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Taifa

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Subject Headings

  • Ethnicity -- Tanzania -- Dar es Salaam -- History.
  • Nationalism -- Tanzania -- Dar es Salaam -- History.
  • Urbanization -- Tanzania -- Dar es Salaam -- History.
  • Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) -- Race relations -- History.
  • Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) -- Social conditions -- History.
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