Whitehead Blog 6: Historiography

For week six I worked on the historiography of my paper as an extension of the previous baby-steps assignment.

This week was much more difficult than previous weeks as it was the first time I compared the works of previous scholars to each other. To do this. I started by looking at the changing explanations of the failures of ujamaa socialism in Tanzania. The three studies that I compared in my historiography are African Socialism in Postcolonial Tanzania: Between the Village and the World, Towards Socialism in Tanzania, and Economic Policy and Household Welfare During Crisis and Adjustment in Tanzania. The time period ranges from 1979 to 2015 and mainly focuses on the economics and policies of the ujamaa period from 1967 to 1985. Since one of the studies was written before scholars today established this period in Tanzania, there are some details missing from the 1979 study, but it makes up for this by making predictions based on the trends they were experiencing and seeing at the time.

When comparing the first two books, written in 1979 and 1993, to the last one, written in 2015, there is a clear shift in thinking. The first two books are focused on the economic problems of ujamaa socialism and each of the different problems that are impacting the economy. This would include the 1974 crisis and the many food-related problems that were impacting prices. There was also the problem of minimum wage and a large wealth gap on average between the urban and rural population as well as a difference in consumption and spending overall between those with similar income. This focus on the economy is not as apparent in the more recent 2015 book and is instead more interested in the policies of the time. This would include the structure of how the government wanted to shape the economy in the form of a top-down economic system. The book also looks at the role of nationalism and family which are important issues for a multiethnic nation.

With my current historiography, I only look at three sources, but I have thought there might be gaps in my timeline that could be filled out. In the near future, I may end up adding one or two more sources to fill out the historiography of Tanzanian socialism.

Leave a Reply