Human Resources: Professional Labor and Nation Building in Southeastern Africa


ACLS Fellowship Program




“Human Resources” tells the story of decolonization and its aftermath from the perspective of African professionals whose labor fueled national development in vital but overlooked ways. Focusing on Tanzania and Zambia since the 1950s, it examines the education, labor, and circulation of the first generations of African professors, doctors, and nurses alongside the broader dynamics of nation building, the Cold War, and neoliberalism with which they were intertwined. These individuals shouldered the weight of their governments’ aspirations toward national sovereignty, the demands of their students and patients, and the expectations of the foreign donors who paid for their training and equipment. Over time, they struggled to reconcile personal ambition with nationalist commitment in the face of tempting job opportunities abroad and resource shortages and contentious workplace politics at home. By following their lives and careers, “Human Resources” offers a new portrait of African nationhood and the late twentieth-century world.