Where's Equality?: Ideology and the Politics of Representation in Tanzanian Fiction in English


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This project examines the influence of different political ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, neo-liberalism, and gender on the representation of Tanzanian fiction in English. Previous scholarship, with its focus on Tanzanian fiction in Kiswahili, has neglected this body of literature. The project argues that, as products of the Tanzanian society, these literary works benefit from as well as exploit the various competing political idelogies to address social, cultural, economic, and political problems besetting the country. Specifically, the study examines how Tanzanian fiction in English exposes the ideologies of dominant social groups and how different writers use ideologies—both dominant and non-dominant—question and criticize the inequality persisting in society. Included in this study are the novels of Ismael Mbise, Hamza Sokko, Moyez Vassanji, Prince Kagwema, Samwilu Mwaffisi, Emmanuel Makaidi, Abdulrazak Gurnah, S. N. Ndunguru P. B. Mayega, and Elieshi Lema.These works reflect the limitations of dominant ideologies in bringing about equitable development for the poor majority, and the politics of representation in an era dominated by competing political idelogies.