James R. Brennan

James R. Brennan is an assistant professor in history at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He is the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles.

Listed in: African Studies · African History · Biography, Heads of State




Winner of the 2013 Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize for best book on East African Studies (sponsored by the African Studies Association)

Taifa · Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania
By James R. Brennan

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.

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…”

Andrew Ivaska, Journal of African History