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Global Urban History Project

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George Roberts
Basic Information
Trinity College, University of Cambridge
Junior Research Fellow (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Trinity College


Additional Information
About My Work
I am a historian of politics in post-colonial Africa, especially Tanzania. I am currently working on a book project derived from my PhD, entitled 'Politics, African liberation, and the Cold War in post-colonial Dar es Salaam'. My research uses the urban lens of the Tanzanian capital as a means for bringing into conversation local, national, transnational, and international histories. During the 1960s and 1970s, Dar es Salaam hosted an array of African liberation movements, which set up their offices in exile in the city. Their presence drew the attention of various Cold War actors, and also became entangled with domestic Tanzanian politics and state-building efforts. Dar es Salaam thereby became a 'Cold War city', on the frontline of both the global superpower rivalry and decolonisation in Africa.

I am interested in exploring these intersections as they played out in Dar es Salaam's urban networks, where a cosmopolitan crowd interacted in the city's hotels, bars, cafés, embassy receptions, newspaper offices, and streetcorners. Its vibrant, gossip-filled public sphere presented challenges to a Tanzanian government attempting to establish an 'African socialist' state'. It was deeply suspicious of urban unrest: President Julius Nyerere referred to his capital as 'Rumourville'. The histories which emerge from these encounters call into question established narratives of Tanzanian national history, as well as those of the liberation movements.

More broadly, I am interested in the idea of the 'Cold War city' and 'Cold War public sphere' as a means of rethinking the international history of the second half of the twentieth century.
Rumourville: Politics, African Liberation, and the Cold War in Post-Colonial Dar es Salaam (book manuscript under preparation).

'The assassination of Eduardo Mondlane: FRELIMO, Tanzania, and the politics of exile in Dar es Salaam', Cold War History, 17/1 (2017), 1-19.
Professional Associations
African Studies Association (US and UK)
British International History Group
Society for the History of American Foreign Relations

I studied for my PhD at the University of Warwick between 2013 and 2016. During the 2016-17 academic year, I was a Teaching Fellow in Modern African History there. In July 2017, I began a four-year Junior Research Fellowship (a postdoctoral role) at Trinity College, University of Cambridge.