Associate Professor, History
Select Research Grants
Ph.D. in History, University of Michigan (Supervisors Frederick Cooper & Nancy Rose Hunt)
M.A. in Arab Studies, Georgetown University
B.S. in Foreign Service, Georgetown University
I am an historian of modern Africa with research interests that center on Africa’s place in the 20th century world. My early work focused on urban contests around gender, global culture, youth, modernity, and the state in early postcolonial Tanzania. This culminated in my first book, Cultured States: Youth, Gender, and Modern Style in 1960s Dar es Salaam, published by Duke University Press in 2011. Cultured States won the Bethwell A. Ogot Prize, awarded by the African Studies Association for the best book in Eastern African Studies, and was a finalist for the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize, awarded by the Canadian Historical Association for the best book in a field outside of Canadian history. The book reflects my longstanding interest in how everyday landscapes of urban modernity in Africa became entwined with the political cultures of colonial and postcolonial statehood.
My next book project, Liberation Itineraries: Dar es Salaam, Political Exile, and the Making of the 1960s, reconfigures the global map of Sixties political activism from the vantage point of one of its key Third World relay stations. Dar es Salaam hosted an extraordinary range of political exiles in these years; Southern African liberation movement cadres, African American sojourners, Marxist academics, and revolutionary chancers all flocked to the Tanzanian capital. Tracing the networks that fed into, intersected within, and stretched beyond Dar reveals a dense history of connections between far-flung forces conventionally held apart: African student migration, US civil rights, Southern African exile politics, American soft power, worldwide campus struggles, intra-movement class tensions, and revolutionary self-fashioning. While this circuitry was globe-spanning, it was also narrowly channeled and intimate; it generated rich solidarity, as well as inequality and strife. In seeking to understand how these political attachments were formed and frayed, the project looks not just to the realm of formal politics but also to the thick web of social connections and affective ties that marked it. Ultimately, I aim to open up a more emergent history of “global Sixties” political engagement, one attuned to the capacious connections, everyday modes of practice, and socio-material infrastructures through which movements rose and fell. For early pieces from this project, see the list of publications below.
Alongside Liberation Itineraries, I am also completing a co-authored book with James R. Brennan (U. of Illinois). The Career of Leo Milas: Radical Self-Fashioning and the Global Circuitry of African Decolonization is a study of an extraordinary life straddling Mozambican exile politics and postwar America. “Leo Milas” began as Leo Clinton Aldridge Jr., an African American man who befriended African university students in 1950s Los Angeles, and then began posing as Mozambican – successfully enough to be recruited into FRELIMO (the nascent nationalist movement in exile in Tanzania), rise to the level of Defense Secretary, and impress Malcolm X along the way. Eventually exposed and expelled from the party, he changed his name yet again and continued to live out his life as an African working from Nairobi, Mogadishu, and Addis Ababa as a journalist, godfather to Mozambican dissidents, and UN and NGO consultant. The book traces Milas' life through Texas, Los Angeles, Dar es Salaam, and Eastern Africa and uses it as a kaleidoscope onto phenomena of global historical importance: African American working class struggle from the rural South to the docks of San Pedro; African student life in 1950s LA and Hollywood; the politics of rumor and mobility in liberation movement life in exile; and the rise of the NGO as a site of governance and expertise in contemporary Africa.
I welcome graduate students and undergraduate honors majors interested in the history of Africa and its diasporas, 20th century transnational history, global intellectual history, and themes including youth, gender, aesthetics, urbanism, political culture, and histories of the left. For more on student supervision and placement, as well as courses taught, see the teaching section below.
Cultured States: Youth, Gender and Modern Style in 1960s Dar es Salaam. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.
• Winner of the 2012 Bethwell A. Ogot Prize, awarded by the African Studies Association for the best book in Eastern African Studies.
• Finalist for the 2012 Wallace K. Ferguson Prize, awarded by the Canadian Historical Association for the best book in non-Canadian history.
AHR Review of Cultured States: https://www.academia.edu/15103329/AHR_Review_of_Cultured_States_
“Learning from Dar es Salaam: Harvard’s ‘Project Tanganyika’ and a Nodal Perspective on Decolonization’s Itineraries.” Humanity (special issue on “Decolonization and Global History"), Forthcoming April 2023.
"Romancing the Frontline: A View from Dar es Salaam on Intimacy and Political Attachment." The Global Sixties (special issue on "The Global Sixties in the Global South"), January 2023, pp. 1-19.
"Leveraging Alternatives: Early FRELIMO, the Soviet Union, and the Infrastructure of African Political Exile.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (special issue on “An African-Soviet Modern”) 41.1 (2021), 11-26.
“Tensions of an Oeuvre: Historical Materialism and Cultural History in the Work of Frederick Cooper.” History in Africa 46 (2019), 1-10.
“Liberation in Transit: Eduardo Mondlane and Che Guevara in Dar es Salaam.” The Routledge Handbook of the Global Sixties: Between Protest and Nation Building, ed. Chen Jian, Martin Klimke, Masha Kirasirova, Mary Nolan, Marilyn Young, and Joanna Waley-Cohen. London: Routledge, 2017.
“Movement Youth in a Global Sixties Hub: The Everyday Lives of Transnational Activists in Postcolonial Dar es Salaam.” In A Global Age: Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century, eds. Richard Ivan Jobs and David M. Pomfret. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series (series editor: Akira Iriye), 2015. pp. 188-201.
“Consuming ‘Soul’ in 1960s Tanzania.” In New World Coming: The Sixties and the Shaping of Global Consciousness, ed. Karen Dubinsky et. al. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2009.
“In the‘Age of Minis’: Women, Work and Masculinity Downtown.” In Dar es Salaam: Histories from an Emerging African Metropolis, ed. James R. Brennan, Andrew Burton, and Yusuf Lawi. Dar es Salaam and Nairobi: Mkuki na Nyota and the British Institute in Eastern Africa, 2007.
“Contesting Postcolonial National Culture: The Short Life of a Tanzanian Ban on ‘Soul.’” Moving Worlds 5.1 (2005): 120-32.
“Of Students, ‘’Nizers,’ and a Struggle over Youth: Tanzania’s 1966 National Service Crisis.” Africa Today 51.3 (2005): 83-107.
“’Anti-Mini Militants Meet Modern Misses’: Urban Style, Gender, and the Politics of ‘National Culture’ in 1960s Dar es Salaam,Tanzania,” in Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress, ed. Jean Allman (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004). [revised and reprinted version of the Gender and History article.]
“’Anti-Mini Militants Meet Modern Misses’: Urban Style, Gender, and the Politics of ‘National Culture’ in 1960s Dar es Salaam,Tanzania.” Gender and History 14.3 (November 2002): 584-607.
Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant, Co-Investigator(1 of 3) – “China in Tanzania, Tanzania in China: Beyond High Politics”
Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Standard Research Grant, Sole Principal Investigator – “Black Diasporic Politics and Style in 1960s and 1970s Tanzania: A Transnational History”
Fonds Québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC), Nouveaux chercheurs Fellowship, Sole Principal Investigator – “Gender, Public Space and the Politics of Urban Identity in Postwar Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1945-1980”
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award – “Urban Popular Culture, the Tanzanian State and the Politics of ‘National Culture”
SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship – “Urban Popular Culture, the Tanzanian State and the Politics of ‘National Culture”
I am committed to mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in preparation for further work in and beyond academia. Since arriving at Concordia, I have supervised two Ph.D. students (one still current), eight M.A. theses, and three B.A. honors theses, in addition to serving as a committee member for over a dozen more. Several of my former students have gone on to top international doctoral programs and to jobs in academia, government, and the NGO sector. For details, see below.
I welcome email inquiries by potential graduate students and honors undergraduate majors interested in the history of Africa and its diasporas, twentieth-century transnational history, global intellectual history, and themes including youth, gender, aesthetics, urbanism, political culture, and histories of the left.
Samantha Moyes (in-program)
Introduction to African History
20th Century Global History
20th Century Africa
Nationalism in Africa
African Popular Culture
The Philosophy and Practice of History
Transnational Networks in Modern Times
Culture and the State in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa
Globalization and Culture
Colonial and Postcolonial Histories Via the Novel
Historical Theories and Methods
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