We are looking for a fourth panelist who works on East Africa (preferably outside of Kenya) and whose research regards culture, social life, religion, or leisure.

More than 30 years ago, Frederick Cooper (1983) framed the city as a central site of struggle between the capitalist agenda of the state, and the values, cultural practices, and aspirations of African urban dwellers. Scholars of Africa have since increasingly recognized the importance of cities as dynamic spaces of political mobilization, cultural production, and creation of new identities. On the other hand, cities have been centers of poverty, state repression, and material struggle for housing, water and social amenities. This panel brings together recent field research into the “struggle for the city,” with a particular focus on how the material dynamics of urban life affected the production of culture. This panel asks: what is the state’s interest and concern in urban citizens’ social, cultural and political lives? How is state control tempered and affirmed through city dwellers’ creativity, identity making, and political mobilization? Should resistance continue to be the dominant approach for interpreting urban Africans’ political organization and cultural lives? How have the material constraints of the city (wages, housing shortages, regulations) shaped people’s social and cultural experiences? This panel will bring together papers discussing the politics of land and recreation in urban Nairobi, the politics, economics, and struggles of street-food vendors Mombasa, and would like to add a forth paper on related themes outside of the Kenyan context in East Africa.

Please submit a short abstract to Caleb Owen ([email protected]) or Devin Smart ([email protected]) by 13 March 2015.