Street Archives and City Life

Popular Intellectuals in Postcolonial Tanzania

Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: 16 illustrations Published: December 2017

Author: Emily Callaci

African Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

In Street Archives and City Life Emily Callaci maps a new terrain of political and cultural production in mid- to late twentieth-century Tanzanian urban landscapes. While the postcolonial Tanzanian ruling party (TANU) adopted a policy of rural socialism known as Ujamaa between 1967 and 1985, an influx of youth migrants to the city of Dar es Salaam generated innovative forms of urbanism through the production and circulation of what Callaci calls street archives. These urban intellectuals neither supported nor contested the ruling party's anti-city philosophy; rather, they navigated the complexities of inhabiting unplanned African cities during economic crisis and social transformation through various forms of popular texts that included women's Christian advice literature, newspaper columns, self-published pulp fiction novellas, and song lyrics. Through these textual networks, Callaci shows how youth migrants and urban intellectuals in Dar es Salaam fashioned a collective ethos of postcolonial African citizenship. This spirit ushered in a revolution rooted in the city and its networks—an urban revolution that arose in spite of the nation-state's pro-rural ideology.


"A brilliant book. . . . Callaci’s original approach enables readers to better understand the making of urban life beyond colonial and postcolonial cities. . . . She does this in such a way that the reader is engrossed by novelty and guided by a sense of theoretical clarity." — Patrick Hege, H-Soz-Kult, H-Net Reviews

"Explores a variety of texts—didactic booklets aimed at young women, pulp fiction novellas, and song lyrics . . . A notable strength of the book is its treatment of these sources not only as reflective and productive of a particular moral imagination but also as inextricably entangled in the making of material gender positionalities through the material and reputational economies involved in the creation of these texts. . . . A valuable contribution to the historiography of this well-studied city [Dar es Salaam] and its inhabitants." — Leander Schneider, American Historical Review

"Callaci has provided an excellent exploration of a crucial aspect of Tanzanian history and urban studies, and in the process, she creates a model for scholars seeking a broad understanding of African city dwellers and communities. This volume will be valuable reading for upper division students as well as graduate students and scholars in history, African Studies, post-socialist studies, urban studies, qualitative sociology, and anthropology." — Anne S. Lewinson, International Journal of African Historical Studies

"Under the revered Nyerere a peculiar dialectic was put in place: a strong villagization and thus anti-city rhetoric in the face of the persistent migration of rural dwellers into the city. This is the focal point of Emily Callaci's Street Archives and City Life, and by exploring this she gives us a distinctive account of the relation between African postcolonial socialist politics, the city of Dar, and the aspirations of the thousands of Tanzanians who flocked to the city. Callaci's book is without a doubt going to be a classic in studies of the African city." — Ato Quayson author of Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism

Street Archives and City Life is an enormously eloquent contribution to scholarship on the postcolonial politics of gender and the formation of new writing and reading publics. By locating a plethora of Swahili-language sources—ranging from advice booklets and magazines to dance songs and pulp fiction—in the material infrastructures and moral imaginations from which they emerged, Emily Callaci produces a deeply humanizing account of creativity and precarity in 1970s Dar es Salaam.” — Lynn M. Thomas, author of Politics of the Womb: Women, Reproduction, and the State in Kenya


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Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Emily Callaci is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction  1
1. TANU, African Socialism, and the City Idea  18
2. "All Alone in the Big City": Elite Women, "Working Girls," and Struggles over Domesticity, Reproduction, and Urban Space  59
3. Dar after Dark: Dance, Desire, and Conspicuous Consumption in Dar es Salaam's Nightlife  102
4, Lovers and Fighters: Pulp-Fiction Publishing and the Transformation of Urban Masculinity  141
5. From Socialist to Street-Smart: A Changing Urban Lexicon  180
Conclusion  207
Notes  215
Bibliography  253
Index  277
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6991-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6984-4
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