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Letter from the Chair

Dr. James R. Brennan

Associate Professor of History
Associate Professor of Center for African Studies
Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Center for Global Studies

Contact Info

Areas of Specialization

Urbanization, Political Thought, and Media in East Africa, History of Decolonization, History of the Indian Ocean

Research Focus

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Political History of Tanzania and Kenya


B.A. University of Illinois 1991, M.A. University of Alabama 1994, Ph.D. Northwestern University 2002


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Distinctions / Awards



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Book Contributions

Edited Books

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Journal Articles

  • Beeckmans, Luce, and James R. Brennan. "In between improvisation, compensation and negotiation: a socio-spatial analysis of Kariakoo market (Dar es Salaam) dynamics under British colonial rule (1919-1961)." History of Retailing and Consumption 2.1 (2016): 25-43.
  • "Print, Reading, and Patronage in the 'Colonial-Born' Presses of the Indian Diaspora in Africa." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 35.2 (2015): 369-375.
  • "The Cold War battle over global news in East Africa: decolonization, the free flow of information and the media business, 1960-1980." Journal of Global History 10.2 (2015): 333-356.
  • "Constructing arguments and institutions of Islamic belonging: M. O. Abbasi, colonial Tanzania, and the western Indian Ocean world, 1925-61." Journal of African History 55.2 (2014): 211-228.
  • "Julius Rex: Nyerere through the eyes of his critics, 1953-2013." Journal of Eastern African Studies 8.3 (2014): 459-477.
  • "Rents and entitlements: reassessing Africa's urban pasts and futures." Afrika Focus 26.1 (2013): 37-49.
  • "Politics and Business in the Indian Newspapers of Colonial Tanganyika." Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute 81.1 (2011): 42-67.
  • "Destroying mumiani: cause, context and violence in late colonial Dar es Salaam." Journal of Eastern African Studies 2.1 (2008): 95-111.
  • "Lowering the Sultan's Flag: sovereignty and decolonization in coastal Kenya." Comparative Studies in Society and History 50.4 (2008): 831-861.
  • "Blood enemies: exploitation and urban citizenship in the nationalist political thought of Tanzania, 1958-1975." Journal of African History 47.3 (2006): 387-411.
  • Brennan, James R., and Cedric Barnes. "Political Genealogy, Race and Territory in Eastern Africa." Social Identities 12.4 (2006): 401-404.
  • "Realizing civilization through patrilineal descent: African intellectuals and the making of an African racial nationalism in Tanzania, 1920-1950." Social Identitites 12.4 (2006): 405-423.
  • "Youth, the TANU Youth League, and Managed Vigilantism in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 1925-1973." Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute 76.2 (2006): 221-246.
  • "Democratizing Cinema and Censorship in Tanzania, 1920-1980." International Journal of African Historical Studies 38.3 (2005): 481-511.
  • "South Asian Nationalism in an East African Context: the case of Tanganyika." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 19.2 (1999): 24-39.
  • "Sawn Timber and Straw Hats: The Development of the Lumber Industry in Escambia County, Alabama 1880-1910." Gulf Coast Historical Review 11.2 (1996): 41-67.


  • Rev. of George Padmore and Decolonization from Below: Pan-Africanism, the Cold War, and the End of Empire, by Leslie James. Journal of British Studies 55.3 (2016): 627-629.
  • Rev. of Empire and Globalization: Essays in Honor of A. G. Hopkins, ed. Toyin Falola and Emily Brownell. Britain and the World 8.2 (2015): 254-257.
  • Rev. of Africa after Apartheid: South Africa, Race and Nation in Tanzania, by Richard Schroeder. Journal of Modern African Studies 52.3 (2014): 504-505.
  • Rev. of Aspects of Colonial Tanzania History, by Lawrence Mbogoni. Tanzanian Affairs 106 (2013): 52-54.
  • Rev. of The Karimjee Jivanjee family: merchant princes of East Africa 1800-2000, by Gijsbert Oonk. Business History 55.5 (2013): 1-3.
  • Rev. of Ethnographic Sorcery, by Harry G. West. Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 5.1 (2010): 145-148.
  • Rev. of Carriers of Culture: Labor on the Road in Nineteenth-Century East Africa, by Stephen J. Rockel. Journal of African History 50.3 (2009): 451-453.
  • Rev. of Surrogates of the State: NGOs, Development and Ujamaa in Tanzania, by Michael Jennings. African Affairs 108.431 (2009): 334-336.
  • Rev. of Imperial Connections: India and the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860-1920, by Thomas Metcalf. Journal of African History 49.2 (2008): 330-332.
  • Rev. of A History of the Excluded: Making Family a Refuge from State in Twentieth-Century Tanzania, by James L. Giblin. Journal of African History 48.2 (2007): 337-340.
  • Rev. of Extended Handshake or Wrestling Match? Youth and Urban Culture Celebrating Politics in Kenya, by Fibian Kavulani Lukalo. H-Review (2007): 7 April 2007.
  • Rev. of The Global Worlds of the Swahili: Interfaces of Islam, Identity and Space in 19th and 20th-century East Africa, ed. Roman Loimeier and Ruediger Seesemann. Journal of African History 48.3 (2007): 512-514.
  • Rev. of Urban Africa: Changing Contours of Survival in the City, ed. AbdouMaliq Simone and Abdelghani Abouhani. African Studies Review 50.2 (2007): 221-223.
  • Rev. of Witchcraft, Violence and Democracy in South Africa, by Adam Ashforth. Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft 2.2 (2007): 199-202.
  • Rev. of Africa Since Independence, by Paul Nugent. Journal of Agrarian Change 48.2 (2006): 140-141.
  • Rev. of 'Civil Disorder is the Disease of Ibadan': Chieftaincy and Civil Culture in a Yoruba City, by Ruth Watson. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 68.3 (2005): 40-41.
  • Rev. of The Forgotten Front: The East African Campaign 1914-1918, by Ross Anderson. Journal of Military History 69.4 (2005): 1231-1232.
  • Rev. of Voices of the Poor in Africa, by Elizabeth Isichei. Journal of African History 46.3 (2005): 541-543.
  • "Revisiting nationalism in Tanganyika." Rev. of TANU Women and The life and times of Abdulwahid Sykes, by Susan Geiger and Mohamed Said. Afrika Spectrum 37.3 (2003): 367-371.
  • Rev. of Challenge to Colonialism: the struggle of Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee for equal rights in Kenya, by Zarina Patel. International Journal of African Historical Studies 34.2 (2001): 433-435.
  • Rev. of Quest for the Jade Sea: Colonial Competition around an East African Lake, by Pascal James Imperato. Journal of Asian and African Studies 36.3 (2001): 320-321.
  • Rev. of Out of One, Many Africas: Reconstructing the Study and Meaning of Africa, ed. William Martin and Michael West. International Journal of African Historical Studies 33.2 (2000): 481-483.
  • Rev. of Personality and Popular Culture in Modern Africa: Studies presented to Professor Harold G. Marcus, ed. Melvin E. Page, Stephanie F. Beswick, Tim Carmichael, and Jay Spaulding. Journal of Modern African Studies 38.1 (2000): 152-153.
  • Rev. of The Making of a Periphery: Economic development and cultural encounters in southern Tanzania, ed. Pekka Seppala. Journal of Contemporary African Studies 18.1 (2000): 302-305.
  • Rev. of Making Ethnic Ways: Communities and Their Transformations in Taita, Kenya 1800-1950, by Bill Bravman. H-Review (1999): 12 December 1999.
  • Rev. of Divide and Rule: The Partition of Africa, 1880-1914, by H. L. Wesseling. H-Review (1997): 25 June 1997.