Cultured States

Youth, Gender, and Modern Style in 1960s Dar es Salaam

Cultured States

Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: 22 illustrations Published: January 2011

Author: Andrew Ivaska

African Studies, Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Cultured States is a vivid account of the intersections of postcolonial state power, the cultural politics of youth and gender, and global visions of modern style in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during the 1960s and early 1970s. Andrew Ivaska describes a cosmopolitan East African capital rocked by debates over youth culture, national cultural policy, the rumored sexual escapades of the postcolonial elite, the content of university education, leftist activism, and the reform of colonial-era marriage laws. If young Tanzanians saw themselves as full-fledged participants in modern global culture, their understandings of the modern conflicted with that of a state launching “decency campaigns” banning cultural forms such as soul music, miniskirts, wigs, and bell-bottoms. Promoted by the political elite as a radical break from the colonial order, these campaigns nonetheless contained strong echoes of colonial assumptions about culture, tradition, and African engagements with the modern city. Exploring the ambivalence over the modern at the heart of these contests, Ivaska uses them as lenses through which to analyze struggles around gender relations and sexual politics, youth and masculinity, and the competition for material resources in a Dar es Salaam in rapid flux. Cultured States is a major contribution to understandings of urban cultural politics; national political culture; social struggles around gender, generation, and wealth; and the transnational dimensions of postcolonial histories too often conceived within national frames.


“Andrew Ivaska has written a highly effective monograph that explores how state ideology, popular cultural practices, historical era, and emergent social structure intersected in postcolonial Tanzania.... Cultured States is a very good monograph full of valuable insights for scholars, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates with an interest in cultural history, politics, anthropology, African studies, globalization, popular culture, and postcolonial studies.” — Anne S. Lewinson, International Journal of African Historical Studies

“Andrew Ivaska’s book may stand as a pioneering work in the historiography of postcolonial Africa. In its ?nely textured depictions of the distinctive cultural imaginaries fueling of?cial and unof?cial visions of nation building and citizenship in postindependence Tanzania, the book offers compelling material for broader studies in comparative nationalisms worldwide. The same can be said of its potential contributions to comparative studies of the cosmopolitan sensibilities and social movements of the global 1960s.” — Jay Straker, American Historical Review

“Andrew Ivaska’s fascinating book explores the raucous and hotly contested cultural politics of 1960s Dar es Salaam, showing how debates over national culture were simultaneously critical public discussions about changing gender roles, intergenerational tensions and growing material inequalities – all of which were visible in the public spaces of Tanzania’s rapidly expanding capital city…. Cultured States will surely attract a wide readership in African studies, but it merits an audience beyond this as well, in areas including urban studies, the global history of the 1960s and postcolonial studies.” — Emily Callaci, Social History

Cultured States is a welcome contribution to the growing field of histories that explore cultural politics in the decades immediately following decolonization… This book should be extremely effective in graduate and upper-level undergraduate classrooms. It is well-organized, explores theoretically complex issues in clear language, and is very entertaining. Ivaska carefully places the study within the larger body of literature on youth culture and gender debates in the global 1960s. He succeeds in showing the richness and complexity in Tanzanian conflicts over socialism, culture, and young people.” — Jeremy Rich, Canadian Journal of History

“On the whole, Andrew Ivaska’s Cultured States is a well-written book that documents a fascinating historical period and offers significant theoretical insights.” — Daniel Mains, American Ethnologist

“Overall, Cultured States is captivating and will surely prompt more scholarly discussion of competing notions of modernity and national culture.” — Charlotte Miller, African Studies Review

“Ivaska’s account of 1960s-era university government struggles in Dar es Salaam fills a major gap in published scholarship…. Clearly, Cultured States provides interesting materials and food for thought. Ivaska’s account of university-government struggles in Tanzania offers a much-needed contribution to postcolonial and development studies.” — Amy Stambach, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“Andrew Ivaska… offers, in this fine study, a significant contribution to the understanding of Tanzania’s capital city, Dar es Salaam, during the post-independence decade of the 1960s…. The book is well written… and is both relevant and accessible for an audience well beyond African studies.” — Heike I. Schmidt, History: Reviews of New Books

"Ivaska brilliantly captures the essence of debates about fashion, student activism, women’s work, marriage, and sexuality." — Corrie Decker, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth

“Andrew Ivaska brings historical depth and nuance to an inherently fascinating subject: cultural politics in early postcolonial Africa. His original, conceptually sophisticated chronicle of the heated cultural debates that took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during the 1960s demonstrates a masterful grasp of comparative scholarship on popular culture, modernity, and globalization.” — Lynn M. Thomas, author of Politics of the Womb: Women, Reproduction, and the State in Kenya

“Cultured States is an enormous contribution to scholarship on the cultural politics of postcolonial East Africa. It is filled with rich and wonderful insights into youth, fashion, and the political culture of the 1960s.” — Luise White, author of Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Andrew Ivaska is Associate Professor of History at Concordia University in Montreal.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Postcolonial Public Culture in Sixties Times 1

1. National Culture and Its Others in a Cosmopolitan Capital 37

2. "The Age of Minis": Secretaries, City Girls, and Masculinity Downtown 86

3. Of Students, 'Nizers, and Comrades: Youth, Internationalism, and the University College, Dar es Salaam 124

4. "Marriage Goes Metric": Negotiating Gender, Generation, and Wealth in a Changing Capital 166

Conclusion 206

Notes 219

Bibliography 253

Index 271
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Winner, 2011 Bethwell Ogot Award from the African Studies Association

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4770-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4749-1
Publicity material