This dissertation argues that the complex and different ways in which women organized and imagined their worlds powerfully shaped the making of Tanzania in Lindi District from the mid-1940s to the mid-1980s. Dubbed by scholars as a "critical juncture" in the continent's history, the late 1940s to the early 1980s was a period of immense change for African men and women. Amidst diminishing colonial power, nationalist fervor and nation-building projects following independence, Africans sought security and strived to maintain their livelihoods. Using over a 100 rural women's personal narratives collected in 2010 from the villages of Kitomanga, Ng'apa and Rutamba and Lindi town as its chief sources, this dissertation investigates the multiple and contentious nature of citizenship and development in the domain of women's daily work. It further analyzes how women's daily farm and household work shaped processes of nation-building. Individual chapters point out that women's experiences of colonialism and their daily work shaped their understandings and negotiations of political events such as independence and elections, and their engagement with postcolonial development projects such as adult education programs, villagization and collective farming schemes.
In employing a gendered analysis to understand this critical time period in Tanzania, this dissertation demonstrates a dynamic and complex (post-) colony. It points out that in striving to achieve security and well-being, rural women strategically navigated their life-worlds in pathways that simultaneously intersected and deviated from state goals. In the process, their actions altered the formation of national identity and the Tanzanian government's citizenship and development plans. More importantly, this history challenges scholarships' characterization of the relationship between women and the postcolonial state as an oppositional one. It also shows that the emergence of women's political sensibilities in the late colonial and early postcolonial period continues to shape contemporary Tanzania.
Table of Contents
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About this Dissertation
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