Dr. Chambi Chachage (Princeton) discusses his intellectual journey from Dar es Salaam to Cape Town, Edinburgh, and Cambridge, Mass., his book manuscript on the history of Black entrepreneurs in Dar, and the changing role of digital humanities in the field of African studies. The interview concludes with Chachage’s insights on the controversial recent elections in Tanzania.
Bonny Ibhawoh (McMaster Univ.) and Christian Williams (U. Free State) on historicizing refugees in Africa. Looking at children evacuated from the Biafran War to Gabon and Ivory Coast, Ibhawoh discusses the politics of “refugee” labeling. Williams’s biography of a woman born in a SWAPO camp in exile in Tanzania shows how displaced people are agents of history, not just faceless victims. The interview ends with lessons for refugee crises today.
John Mugane (Harvard University) on his book, The Story of Swahili, a history of the international language and its speakers. Mugane sheds light on enduring questions: Who is Swahili? What is authentic Swahili? He also discusses the state of publishing in Swahili, and the challenges and approaches to teaching African languages in the U.S.
Part of a podcast series in collaboration with the U.S. African Studies Association.
Anthropologist Rosemarie Mwaipopo (U. of Dar es Salaam) on artisanal and small-scale mining in Tanzania. She discusses the roles of women;grassroots dimensions, including cultural and gender dynamics; and government policies. The interview concludes with a comparative look at small-scale mining in Africa.
Abdilatif Abdalla is the best-known Swahili poet and independent Kenya’s first political prisoner. He discusses poetry as a political instrument and as an academic field; publication prospects for African poets; and how poetry enabled him to survive three years of solitary confinement, after which he spent 22 years in exile. The interview ends with Abdalla reciting his poem “Siwati” (“I Will Never Abandon My Convictions”).
With guest host Ann Biersteker.
Aili Mari Tripp (U. of Wisconsin – Madison and ASA President) on African women’s movements and paradoxes of power in Museveni’s Uganda. Includes discussion of democratization and highlights the need for the African Studies Association to challenge the U.S. government’s draconian cuts to international education. With guest host Prof. Kiki Edozie (International Relations, Michigan State).
Derek Peterson (University of Michigan) on the politics and practice of archives in East Africa, the precarious state of some archives, and exciting possibilities of preservation and digitization at Mountains of the Moon University in Uganda; “homespun” historians in Recasting the African Past and Mau Mau prisons in Kenya; and his forthcoming book Pilgrims & Patriots: Conversion, Dissent, & the Making of Civil Societies in East Africa.
Dorothy Hodgson (Anthropology, Rutgers) on Maasai pastoralists in Tanzania, with a focus on the experiences and perspectives of women. She discusses the intersections of gender, ethnicity, and Christianity, and then turns to the subject of her new book, Being Maasai, Becoming Indigenous, which explores local activists’ engagement with the transnational indigenous rights movement.
Mwalimu Deo Ngonyani (MSU Linguistics) on his research on Kikisi — a Bantu language spoken by 10,000 people on the shores of Lake Malawi in southwestern Tanzania. Ngonyani elaborates on projects committed to preserving ‘small’ languages and highlights the significance of government language policies, especially in regards to English and Swahili.
Dr. Sheryl McCurdy (University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health) on drugs, gender, and violence in East Africa. McCurdy examines heroin use in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — its recent history, enabling conditions, and the differences between men and women users. She concludes with observations on the local ‘war on drugs’ and then offers policy recommendations.