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  • Vortrag

Montagskolloquium Sommersemester 2024

The British Railway Musings in Tanganyik

Frank Edward (University of Dar es Salaam):

“'Tool of Empire' or a Technological Modernisation? The British Railway Musings in Tanganyika.”

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Zoom conference link: https://zoom.us/j/91255064760?pwd=TlRpeXZPaWVMbGx3Q2tTSi9SU2dZUT09

Frank Edward (University of Dar es Salaam):

“'Tool of Empire' or a Technological Modernisation? The British Railway Musings in Tanganyika.”

Abstract
In their article on maintenance and repair of urban infrastructures, Edward and Hård (2020) have contended that during the interwar period, the British did not invest in any serious infrastructural building and development in Tanganyika. The British were only engaged in maintenance and repair of the German technological legacy. While the contention is largely valid, this paper posits that there was an exception on railway infrastructure development. Using archival and documentary sources, it argues that the British invested not only in expanding the network and conducting experiments in roadless trains, but also in finding ways to link Tanganyika with other colonies. The British brought funds, facilities and even encouraged conferences and correspondences on railway transport. Answering the question why railway transport was unique in the interwar colonial development, the paper uncovers how technical knowledge was shaped by local and imperial forces during the ‘hungry years’. While there may be distant parallels between nineteenth century metropolitan United Kingdom and interwar Tanganyika in transformation; the paper concludes that the interwar period was the zenith of British railway development. The latter became the second best to German railway investment—discursively and materially—in Tanzania during the first half of the twentieth century.

Bio
Dr. Frank Edward is a lecturer in history of technology and urbanisation at University of Dar es Salaam. He attained his PhD in History of technology in 2022 at Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. His current research interest revolves around histories of transport, urban infrastructure, and urban epidemics. From 2018 to September 2023, Dr Edward worked as a Book Reviews editor for Tanzania Zamani journal. From March 2024, he was appointed the managing editor of the new journal, Zamani: A Journal of African Historical Studies. He is also a member of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) and African Studies Association (ASA). Over years, he has attended numerous academic conferences in different countries organised by different global societies and associations on urban and technological histories of Dar es Salaam city and global South.
Dr Edward has also published in several journals including Technology and Culture, African Studies Review, Medical History, History of Science and Technology and Tanzania Zamani. Some of the recent publications is “Planned vulnerabilities: Street Flooding and Drainage Infrastructure in Colonial Dar es Salaam”, HoST 16 (1) (June 2022); and Circulation and appropriation of urban technologies: Drainage and Traffic Infrastructures in Dar es Salaam, 1913-1999 (Darmstadt 2023). In 2011, Dr Edward was main researcher of Mkwawa: Hero of Heroes documentary that was produced by Alkemist Media in Tanzania. The documentary provided the first ever audio-visual history of the unification of the Hehe sub-chiefdoms, rise of Mkwawa and how he ably and skilfully resisted the German colonial penetration in his Hehe Empire. (http://bit.ly/2FhBI6Q)
Research-wise, Dr Edward is at the early stage of a postdoc research project on cycling history in Tanzania. In particular, he seeks to understand how cultural and political forces shaped cycling in the colonial and postcolonial Tanzania. Also, he is generating a MOOC on flood risk disaster reduction and management in urban Tanzania funded by TU Berlin’s DAAD Project by the Global Centre on SMUS. The MOOC will be posted online from July 2024.  Finally, Dr Edward is a member of Collaborative Research Centre (CRC TRR 288) at University of Cologne in which they investigate the (past)futures of health planning and infrastructures in colonial and postcolonial Tanzania.

Poster

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