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    ACLS Fellow Rian Thum presented his research on Islamic China at the 2018 ACLS Annual Meeting 

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    Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow John Murphy leading a tour of his exhibit

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Michael Jason Degani F'18, F'14

Michael Jason Degani

Assistant Professor
Anthropology
Johns Hopkins University
last updated: 04/04/18

ACLS Fellowship Program 2018
Assistant Professor
Anthropology
Johns Hopkins University
The City Electric: Infrastructure and Ingenuity in Postsocialist Tanzania

This book project is an ethnographic account of an urban power grid in a postsocialist, African metropolis. Over 20 years of neoliberal reform, electricity in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has become less reliable even as its importance has increased. “The City Electric” describes the informal economies that develop around emergency power contracts, blackouts, reconnection, repair, and theft, and charts their effects on the rhythms and textures of daily life. In turn, it explores how infrastructure mediates relations with the state in the aftermath of a morally charged African socialism.

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2014
Doctoral Candidate
Anthropology
Yale University
The City Electric: Infrastructure and Ingenuity in Postsocialist Tanzania

After twenty years of stalled neoliberal reform, electricity in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania has become ever more expensive and unreliable. This dissertation explores how residents close the service-delivery gap by devising channels of informal access, and charts their effects on the rhythms and textures of urban life. At the heart of these arrangements stands a population of unlicensed, part-time, or retrenched technicians of the state energy monopoly. In line with historical dynamics of commerce on the Swahili coast, their career trajectories— from small-time wage laborers to well-compensated fixers—build up a social infrastructure for the power supply. In turn, Tanzanians reckon with nationhood after a period of morally charged African socialism that promised, but often failed to deliver, basic services like electrification.