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Priya Lal

assistant professor

Priya Lal

Telephone: (617) 552-3878

Office Location: Stokes Hall S351


Curriculum Vitae


PhD, New York University, 2011


Modern African history, with a focus on East Africa; decolonization and nationalism; development; African socialism; gender


Professor Lal teaches courses on African history, modern world history, and historical methods. She is currently completing a book manuscript about Tanzania's socialist experiment, the ujamaa villagization initiative of 1967-75. This study examines the political imaginary of ujamaa (Swahili for "familyhood") and explores the varied ways in which ujamaa policy was implemented and experienced. More broadly, it seeks to restore a sense of possibility and process to the early years of African independence, refine prevailing theories of nation-building and postcolonial development, and expand our understanding of the 1960s and 1970s world.

Representative Publications:

“Maoism in Tanzania: Material Connections and Shared Imaginaries,” Alexander Cook, ed. Mao’s Little Red Book: A Global History (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2014)

“Self-Reliance and the State: The Multiple Meanings of Development in Early Post-Colonial Tanzania,” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 82, 2 (2012)

“Militants, Mothers, and the National Family: Ujamaa, Gender, and Rural Development in Postcolonial Tanzania,” The Journal of African History 51, 1 (2010)