Hannah NEATE, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Geographers working in Africa were heavily involved in the project of development both before and after decolonization. In this paper, we argue that focusing on the collective biographies of academics working in an around one geography department – that of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – after its foundation in 1965, can highlight the tensions and contradictions of this development work. We show how the Geography Department at Dar es Salaam produced radically different development geographies which often pushed in opposing directions. On the one hand, Dar became a centre for the initiation of new critical development geographies, animated by cross-fertilization of ideas as academics from around the world flocked to Tanzania, attracted by President Julius Nyerere’s non-aligned socialist vision for development and self-reliance. At the same time, the department became a hub for applied research that attempted to support and evaluate the government’s development policies – including the controversial villagisation project – which remained technocratic, top-down and sometimes authoritarian. Developing the concept of ‘careering’, and exploring the experiences of Adolfo Mascarenhas, Bashir Datoo, Milton Santos and David Slater at Dar es Salaam we show how these opposing visions and practices of and for geography and development were entangled with the agency, labour, mobility and contingency of academic lives.
Keywords: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania|Development |Decolonization|Biography |History of Geography