Tubman Talks: “Gendered Migrant Labour: Serial Monogamy and the Political Economy of Cash Crops and Wage Labour in post-WWII Southern Tanganyika”, 8 February 2018

Dr. Husseina Dinani will present a paper entitled, Gendered Migrant Labour: Serial Monogamy and the Political Economy of Cash Crops and Wage Labour in post-WWII Southern Tanganyika,” on February 8, 2018 at the Harriet Tubman Institute from 2:30 – 4:00.


My presentation examines how the expansion and intensification of a male dominated cash economy profoundly altered the sexual division of labor within households, strained marital unions, and created new insecurities for rural residents in Lindi district, (Lindi region, located in the southeast of Tanganyika) from the 1940s and onwards. I argue that the emergence of a lopsided gendered political economy that enabled men to engage in different types of work, but confined women to the household economy, resulted in men and women having different ideas about marriage, work and the quality of life they wanted; in the case of women, they increasingly approached marriage as a provisional resource. Taking advantage of the changing nature of conjugal relations and household economies, women pursued serial monogamy to enhance their security and craft unions that reflected their understandings of marriage.

Women’s perennial mobility— travelling across and beyond the southern region to repeatedly re-create their lives in different (marital and kin’s) households—illuminates their inventiveness to navigate a gendered political economy that created profound instability in their daily lives and marginalized their productive capabilities to the household economy. Additionally, women’s itinerancy challenges prevalent understandings of mobility being solely a feature of wage labor economies and urbanization, or as being hinged on borders. In fact, one could argue that women’s engagement in serial monogamy as a life strategy is a form of gendered migrant labor.


Dr. Husseina Dinani is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at University of Toronto Scarborough. She received her PhD from Emory University. She is currently completing a book manuscript–Women of Lindi: Gender, Nation-building and Resourcefulness in Tanzania (1945-1985)–which is a history of the early African postcolony from the perspective of rural women in Lindi district, Tanzania. She has published on this topic in the International Journal of African Historical Studies.

Posted in Events, Tubman Talks.