Taifa: Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania

Taifa: Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania

by James R. Brennan
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Taifa is the first urban history to tackle nationalist politics in towns, an achievement made possible by Brennan's grounding in two separate sets of secondary literature which gives his work a breadth that is rare in today's monographs.”
— Luise White, author of The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Nairobi

“The book is a rich and insightful account of how the racial, ethnic, and socio-economic pluralism of Dar es Salaam was an inherent part of the emergence of a racially conscious TANU-led independence movement.…Its emphasis on the unintended and the contingent, a view that relativizes and reveals as inherently relational the power and incapacities of important actors and organizations, makes this book a work of depth and detail.…Taifa is as any good academic book should be, replete with the kind of answers that breed a new multitude of questions.”  —African Studies Quarterly

“Brennan’s provocative and important work builds on his impressive range of publications on political culture in Dar es Salaam. It will stimulate others to test his conclusions across Tanzania and Africa.”
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“In a compelling and highly nuanced way, Taifa shows how African colonial subjects conceived and articulated their own ideas about race and citizenship during the final decades of colonialism and the early years of self-rule.”
Comparative Studies in Society and History

“TAIFA is James Brennan's compelling meditation on Tanganyikan nationalism seen through the lens of relations between diasporic Indians and indigenous Africans in colonial and early postcolonial Dar es Salaam. Brennan is regarded as one of the most careful researchers of his generation of Tanzania scholars and his book has been long anticipated. It does not disappoint.…TAIFA combines methodologies drawn from social, political, and intellectual history in a manner that is as enriching as it is rare.…A deeply thoughtful and well-argued account of the ways in which race and nation were articulated [in] one of the continent's frequently-cited cases. TAIFA's appeal will not be confined to Tanzania specialists…”
Journal of African History

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821420010
Publisher:
Ohio University Press
Publication date:
06/12/2012
Series:
New African Histories Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
306
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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