Communal places and the politics of multiple identities: The case of tanzanian asians

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23 Scopus citations
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-26
Number of pages24
JournalEcumene: A Journal of Cultural Geographies
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

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Nagar Richa Department of Geography University of Colorado Boulder 01 1997 4 1 3 26 sagemeta-type Journal Article search-text 3 Communal Places and the Politics of Multiple Identities: the Case of Tanzanian Asians SAGE Publications, Inc.1997DOI: 10.1177/147447409700400102 RichaNagar Department of Geography University of Colorado Boulder Communal places, identities, and everyday politics ocial identities and places have a dynamic and mutually constitutive relaS tionship that plays a crucial role in defining communities. People are always embedded in multiple identities and social relationships, and their experiences of these identities and relationships are rooted in their day-to-day lives and environments.2 This paper focuses on four South Asian (hereafter referred to as Asian) groups in the city of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and explores how places define multiple identities and communities based on religion, race, gender, class, and caste. This analysis is centred on communal places, that is, places organized and run on religious, caste, sectarian, and sometimes regional lines. The relationship between identity and place has attracted the attention of many geographers in recent years.' Writings on this subject include Western's examination of questions related to 'home', identity, and belonging among Barbadian Londoners; the exploration of 'constructions of race, place, and nation' in Jackson's and Penrose's edited work; and Anderson's work on Chinatown which highlights the complex interconnections among hegemonic power, 'imaginative geographies', and constructions of race and place.4 These works offer valuable theoretical insights into the interrelationships among identity, place, and power hierarchies. What is unfortunate, however, is that religious identities and places are often missing from these discussions. Geographical interest in religion, as Kong aptly points out, has remained largely confined to spatial patterns arising from religious influences.' As a result, despite the crucial role that religious places play as embodiments of social, political, personal, and sacred meanings, they have often been overlooked in geographical literature on identity. This disregard of religion limits our ability to understand social constructions of identity and place in those historical and geographical contexts 4 where religion, along with other axes of difference such as caste and sect, plays a crucial role in shaping the everyday politics of a community. There is a rich body of literature on Swahili identity and culture, and the long and intricate historical processes that have shaped the multi-layered constructions of ethnicity on the Swahili coast. Scholars such as Mirza and Strobel, Fair, and Giles have vividly portrayed the complex ways in which African, Arab, and Asian influences mingled with class, gender, and religion to mould communal life and everyday politics on the coast.' These authors also bring to life neighbourhood- and locality-based communities, and the ways in which they affected the articulation of struggles over power, and the creation and expression of social identities in precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial periods. In the 1970s and 1980s, several humanistic geographers emphasized the need to understand the multiple geographies of the lifeworld and the geography of social action through hermeneutics, ethnography, and logical inference.7 While some of the early works within this stream of humanistic geography were criticized for being too voluntaristic and for ignoring the importance of social structures, later works addressed these gaps by incorporating in their analyses 'modern critical traditions of historical materialism and various extensions as symbolic interactionism and structuration theory'.' Although scholars of identity have been concerned with subjectivities and their intersections with social constructions of space and identities, there has surprisingly been little interest in combining these concerns with approaches that integrate behavioural, humanistic, and radical perspectives in geographical analysis. An excellent example of such an approach is David Ley's A social geography of the city, which examines the geography of everyday life in the city by placing the experiences and perceptions of individuals and groups within the context of broader social and historical processes, political structures, and power relations.9 This paper seeks to understand the geography of everyday life by focusing on communal places, such as temples and clubs, where women and men from different backgrounds regularly come together. The activities and symbolic meanings associated with these places help in reinforcing existing social relations and power hierarchies, and in sustaining crucial economic and social networks. At the same time, identities also mould places. For example, communal places frequently become the most accessible sites for marginalized groups to contest hegemony by challenging the existing norms of exclusion, inclusion, control, and ownership in their communities. Such conflicts and negotiations continually challenge and modify the meaning and structure of communal places.'o However, it is not possible to discuss adequately all the multifaceted and complex relationships between places and identities in one paper. For this reason, my focus here is on the question of how places shape identities. More specifically, I explore how processes operating in communal places define the social worlds of Asian men and women, and selectively reinforce their identities. Communal places are the primary centres where people gather to interact with each other, to build and sustain their multiple communities and networks, and to maintain and modify their gendered identities around religion, caste, and class. At the same time, communal places are instrumental in reproducing exist- 5 ing hierarchies of power, because these places are controlled largely by upper- and middle-class men who run community organizations. Although such individuals often portray their religious and caste-based communities as harmonious and as sharing common interests, the accounts presented here show that interaction in communal places is frequently characterized by dissension and disharmony. In analysing how places mould communal lives and identities, I combine the humanistic tradition of cognitive mapping with recent feminist, postcolonial, and post-structuralist thought that emphasizes how identities are socially constructed and transformed in the continuous play of history, culture, and power.] 1 This integrated approach demonstrates that our understanding of the relationship among places, identities, and community politics can be advanced by examining how women and men embedded in multiple social relationships and power structures experience, interpret, and represent their relationships with everyday places. This study centres on four Asian religious communities: the Hindus and the Khoja Ithna-Asheri sect of Shiite Muslims, who originally came from the western Indian regions of Gujarat, Kutch, and Kathiawar; the Roman Catholic Goans from the ex-Portuguese colony of Goa; and Sikhs, who originally came from Punjab. The fieldwork was carried out in Dar-es-Salaam between 1991 and 1993. I collected 58 life-histories and conducted 150 shorter interviews with Goan, Sikh, Ithna-Asheri, and Hindu women and men in Gujarati, Hindi/Urdu, Punjabi and English, and carried out participant observation on a daily basis in Asian homes, communal places, and neighbourhoods. I also gathered information from community publications and newspapers. As an Indian woman who lived with members of these different communities, spoke their languages, and participated in community gatherings as a friend or adopted family member, my own position as a researcher was laden with complexities. But these same complexities enabled me to gain the trust and affection of my informants, and to participate in their community activities. 'Relationality' and reflexivity were central to apprehending identity politics in communal places.12 As I participated in social gatherings and lived in Asian homes and neighbourhoods, I frequently wrote down my impressions about the place-specific nature of social interactions, based on repeated observations. These impressions, 'tales of the field', serve as snapshots or word pictures of social interactions in particular places at particular times.13 Colonial racial hierarchy and social space The migration of Asian communities to Tanzania began before the colonial period, but it was during the British rule in East Africa that the majority of Asians settled in Tanzania. The colonial racial hierarchy favoured Asians as merchants, traders, and civil servants. Asians dominated commercial activity while Africans were discouraged from participating in commerce; the top and middle rungs of the civil service were largely occupied by European and Asian civil servants ; and generally, Asians enjoyed better educational facilities than Africans.14 106 This colonial social stratification was reinforced by a rigid racial segregation of residential areas. For example, the 1949 master plan of Dar-es-Salaam strengthened the city's prevailing physical status quo by setting apart racially differentiated residential areas through different land uses. Low-density zones, located in salubrious seaside localities, comprised large, one-acre plots designed primarily for Europeans and enjoyed a good standard of service provision ; in the adjoining medium-density zones, plots of between one-sixth to one-half an acre were set aside for Asian residents; high-density zones reserved exclusively for Africans were allocated limited infrastructure and few services of low standard. Barriers between the different zones were created by open space corridors, a role partly fulfilled by the many creeks which interpenetrate Dar's sites Thus, 'the dynamic between place, racial discourse, power, and institutional practice' that Anderson has uncovered in the case of Vancouver's Chinatown can also be seen at work in Dar-es-Salaam - the creation of racially defined residential areas inscribed racial categories and identities in institutional practice and social spaces The colonial racial hierarchy came under attack after Tanganyika's independence (1961) and the Zanzibar revolution (1964). The socialist policies of Africanization and nationalization in the 1960s and 1970s challenged the privileged status of Asians and attempted to redefine the power relations and social boundaries between Asians and Africans. These changes, however, did little to alter the racially segregated character of Dar-es-Salaam (see Figure 1). In 1992-3, about 30 000 of Dar-es-Salaam's estimated 35 000 Asians lived in the city centre, and the adjoining neighbourhoods of Kisutu, Upanga and Kariakoo. 17 Despite the nationalization of private buildings in 1971, the city centre and Upanga attracted few African residents, the majority still residing away from the city centre in the neighbourhoods of Magomeni, Manzese, Temeke, Ilala, Buguruni, Ubungo, Mwenge, and Kinondoni. The only two neighbourhoods that could be described as racially mixed were Kariakoo and Oyster Bay, Kariakoo being a racially mixed residential area of middle- and working-class people while Oyster Bay, once a European area, constituted a racially mixed upper-class neighbourhood which housed ministers, high-ranking officers and managers, and prosperous business families. Thus the patterns of residential segregation have been clearly inscribed in Dar-es-Salaam since colonial times. These racially segregated spaces are, in turn, characterized by separate social spheres defined by religious places, community halls, clubs, bars, and beaches. Figure 2 shows the concentration of Asian communal places in the city centre and Upanga. Since colonial times, these communal places have played an important role not only in maintaining the social divide between the Asians and Africans but also in reinforcing the separate religious, caste, and sectarian identities of the various Asian communities. 117 Figure 1 ~ Neighbourhoods of Dar-es-Salaam Communal places in people's maps The centrality of communal places in the lives of Asians emerged prominently in the sketch maps of Dar-es-Salaam drawn by some informants. The maps presented here were drawn by women and men from diverse backgrounds - middle and lower classes, educated and illiterate, living in both the relatively prosperous Asian-dominated city centre and the relatively poor, racially mixed neighbourhood of Kariakoo (Figures 3-6). While these maps emphasize how people experience, interpret, and represent their communal places, they also suggest that social space is not merely personal. Individual experiences of places are shaped by social and spatial structures rooted in existing hierarchies even as individuals constantly enact, reproduce, challenge, and sometimes modify these structures. The first mental map (Figure 3) was drawn by Jamila, a 46-year-old working- 128 1. Ramghana Dispensary 2. Ramghana Hall 3. Gerezanl School (previously Khalsa School) I 4. Sikh Temple Annexe 5 Sikh Temple (Gurudwara) 6 Sikh Trust Building 7. Mehfile Bibi Fatima 8. Mehfile Sukaiyna 9. Ithna Ashen Mosque/Imambara 10. Musafirkhana 11. Ithna Ashen Madressa and AI Muntezzir Junior School 12 Ithna Ashen Jamaat Office 13 Ithna Ashen Hospital, Dispensary, and Beva Khana 14 Mehfile Abbas 15 Mehfile Zamana 16 Mehfile Asghan 17. Ithna Ashen Graveyard 18 Ithna Ashen Union Office 19 Bilal Muslim Mission Office 20 Laxmi Narayan Temple and Boarding 21 Hindu Mahila Mandal 22. Lohana Community Centre, Boarding and Ram Mandir (temple) 23 T.B Sheth Public Library and Indo-Tanzania Cultural Centre 24 Shishu Kun) (Children's Centre) 25 BhaUa Mahalanwadi 26 Shankarashram (temple) 27 Hanuman Physical Cultural Institute 28 Swamy Narayan Sanstha 29 Dar es Salaam Brahm Mandal 30. Punjab Hindu Stree Satsang 31 Shn Jain Sangh 32 Khalsa Sports Club (belongs to Sikhs) 33 Shn Surat Jila Samaa) 34 Maratha Mandal 35 Upanga Nursery School 36 Patel Samaaj (Dar Brotherhood) 37 Hindu Mandal Hospital 38 Vanzaa Gnati Mandal 39 Upanga Sports Club 40 New Kumbharwada 40a Technical College (Old Kumbharwada) 41 Bohora Graveyard 42 Dar-es-Salaam Institute 43. St Joseph's Cathedral Figure 2 - Asian communal places in Dar-es-Salaam (only the Asian area of Dar-es-Salaam is depicted) class Ithna-Asheri woman. Jamila has to depend on financial help from the Ithna-Asheri community to maintain her family, which includes her husband and four children. She works informally as a part-time sales agent for various small-scale Ithna-Asheri importers. The centrality of the Ithna-Asheri Jamaat (the formal body that organizes the religious, social, and economic affairs of the Ithna-Asheri community) and community-based networks in Jamila's life is reflected in her map. She lives in a subsidized apartment owned by the Jamaat, located close to 139 Figure 3 - Mental map of Jamila other Ithna-Asheri buildings such as the Bilal Muslim Mission and the Ithna-Asheri Union. Most of Jamila's day is spent in an area comprising a few blocks, which is dominated by Ithna-Asheri communal places and businesses. On her map, Jamila pointed out the Ithna-Asheri mosque, the Jamaat office where she frequently goes to borrow money, the Ithna-Asheri charitable hospital where she collects free medicines, some Ithna-Asheri-owned shops, and Mehfile Abbas, where weekly religious gatherings of Ithna-Asheri women are held. Beyond this Ithna-Asheri-dominated area, the only place that appears on Jamila's map is Mkunguni Street, a border between the Asian-dominated area and Kariakoo. Although Jamila gets cheap vegetables from here, she prefers to not venture into the interior of Kariakoo because it is 'too African'. The meaning of Kariakoo is very different from Anna, a 44-year-old middle-class Goan woman. Anna lives in a racially mixed section of Kariakoo with her Goan husband. Kariakoo forms the centre of Anna's life. While drawing her map (Figure 4) she remarked: I will start from Kariakoo because even though it is on the periphery of the town, it is my home. I love Kariakoo. Here's my home, and here's our colourful Kariakoo market ... My mother lives in that building behind us. I have several friends close by. Anna's world is made up of people from various communities. Close to her home live an Arab friend, two Hindu friends with whom she converses in Gujarati (not Anna's mother tongue), and a close friend, Moona, who is racially mixed. Outside Kariakoo, the only places which appear prominently in her map, are the Roman Catholic church in the city centre where she often goes for the Sunday mass, and the United Nations office where she works as a secretary. Figure 5 was drawn by Francis, a 45-year-old working-class Goan man who mainly earns his income by driving Asian children to their schools. He also works 1410 Figure 4 - Mental map of Anna Figure 5 - Mental map of Francis as a part-time taxi driver and motor mechanic. Francis is married and has one son. He lives in the city centre but, being a taxi driver, he feels that he knows 'every bit of this city'. Francis's map begins from his home and the streets close by from where he picks up his school kids, and the schools to which he drives them. The Roman Catholic church, which Francis refers to as 'the Goan church', is a place he visits every morning. The Goan club (Dar-es-Salaam Institute) is another place that Francis visits frequently. Beyond the Asian-dominated city center and Upanga, Francis's map includes the Drive-in Cinema, where he worked as a gatekeeper and ticket-seller during his schooldays. The last map (Figure 6) was drawn by Jasbeer, a 35-year-old lower-middle-class Sikh man who migrated from Punjab twelve years ago and works as a small-scale building contractor. He lives in the Sikh Trust building with his wife and two children. His map shows his home next to the Sikh Temple, his son's nursery school nearby, the shops on India Street where he gets his building materials, 1511 the Daily News office where he goes to place advertisements in the newspaper, and the construction sites in Upanga and Changombe where his projects were going on at the time he drew this map. These maps represent the activity spaces of the map-makers and the manner in which they perceive their city (see 'actual' map of the section of Dar-es-Salaam showing geographical locations of the life- historians, Figure 7). These maps also reflect that different individuals assign different meanings to the same places and that there can be no one reading of any given place. The meanings and interpretations that people assign to social places depend on the social relations and structures of power in which people are embedded. For example, the significance of communal Figure 6 - Mental map of Jasbeer places for middle-class women such as Anna lies primarily in the religious or spiritual meanings of these places, and in the opportunities for social interaction that they provide. For poor women such as Jamila, however, dependence on communal places is a matter of survival, physically, economically, and socially. Despite the multiplicity of interpretations, however, the common thread tying all the maps together is the rootedness of people's identities and sense of place in their communal places and neighbourhoods (see 'tales of the field' 1 and 2). Communal places and neighbourhoods not only define each informant's sense of social space, they become salient points of reference in each person's perception of the city irrespective of their gender or class. At the same time, the maps are also characterized by an important gendered difference that cuts across class and community. The maps of Jamila and Anna (Figures 3 and 4) indicate that Asian women's perceptions of their city are associated more intimately with their homes, communities, and neighbourhoods than are those of men (see the maps of Francis and Jasbeer, Figures 5 and 6). Women's maps cover a considerably smaller area than men's. This gendered contrast in maps results from the difference in the activity spaces as well as the physical mobility of women and men. The gendered nature of racial, religious, caste, and class boundaries, which often imposes severe restrictions on women, plays a significant role in shaping women's mobility and activity spaces. Finally, these maps reflect an 'Asian-centric' view of Dar-es-Salaam where the perceived limits of the city coincide with those of Asian residential and business areas. Anna clearly voices this perception when she describes Kariakoo as 'the 1612 Figure 7 - Location of individuals who made mental maps (only the Asian area of Dar-es-Salaam is depicted) periphery of the town', even though it is central to her own life. African areas and institutions are conspicuously absent, or appear only marginally in these maps. The marginal position of Africans in these maps represents the social and spatial distance between Asians and Africans. It also indicates the role that Asian communal places and residential areas indirectly play in intensifying racial segregation and stereotyping by circumscribing people's social activities and lives primarily around their religious, caste and sectarian affiliations. The rootedness of people in their communities and the racially segregated pattern of social interaction are also reflected in my 'tales of the field' below: Tales of the field (1): Social interactions and neighborhood communities (impressions recorded on 20 June 1993) People define their places at every step. I see residents of Mtendeni Street playing volley ball and badminton with their neighbours in the courtyards of their apartment buildings. All the sounds which play on loudspeakers in the downtown area - Hindu devotional songs in the mornings, Hindi movie songs during the rest of the day, prayer calls from the mosques, and the sounds of satellite telecasts of Ithna-Asheri gatherings during Moharram - give the city centre an atmosphere which not only looks and smells 'Indian' but is also full of Indian sounds. Social contacts, visits, lunches and dinners are defined primarily along communal 1713 lines. Ithna-Asheris socialize with Ithna-Asheri friends and relatives, Hindus with Hindus who are often from their own caste, Goans with Goans, and Sikhs with Sikhs. However, this intra-communal contact is almost always with people of the same economic class. Cross-class socializing is rare. Some people also have diverse neighbourhood communities. For example, Nargis's friends are mostly from her Ithna-Asheri community, but she also has a neighbourhood community which includes a Sunni family and three Hindu families. Neighbourhood communities are more predominant in the city centre and Kariakoo, less so in Upanga, and almost nonexistent in wealthy areas such as Mikocheni, Msasani, and Oyster Bay, where people are connected by phones and cars with their friends and relatives, rather than through personal, random and spontaneous interaction that characterizes the neighborhoods in the town and Kariakoo ... Tales of the field (2): Hindu neighbourhood and communal scene (impressions recorded on 4 Feb. 1993) The Hindu communal scene in Dar-es-Salaam is one dominated by middle-class, self- employed shopkeepers with their homes, shops, places of worship, and socializing clustered in a small area. Men leave their shops to their assistants or partners, and frequently drop in and out from the temple and halls as and when they feel like it. Middle-class housewives and old women gather with women from their age group at about 3.30 to 4 p.m. Lower-class women from Bhoi, Rana, Vanand, and Divecha casts from Kumbharwada and Kariakoo escort their children to Pathshala [Hindu religious school] and gather every day for about two hours while their children study religion and Gujarati. Well-off Hindus normally drive with their spouses to the temple in the evenings after 6. With the exception of African domestic servants, vendors and employees who work in Asian shops and businesses, the majority of middle- and upper-class Asians have minimal social contact with Africans. In fact, a quick glance at the Asian communal scene can gain one the impression that the only Africans present in Asian communal places are servants who clean Asian temples, mosques, and community halls. Although it is true that the majority of Africans are marginalized from the mainstream social life of Asians, racial boundaries are not as clear-cut as they might seem. Notions of racially 'pure' communities are continuously challenged and interrupted in Asian communal places by the presence of groups such as African-Asian Sikhs, Seychelloise Roman Catholics, and African Muslims who have embraced the Ithna-Asheri faith. Communal places and reinforcement of religious ° identities How do communal places become central in people's lives and perceptions? What gives communal places their social meanings? How are those meanings related to social identities of individuals and groups? To explore these questions, we must look at the social processes and interactions occurring inside specific places. Perhaps the most crucial role in the formation of communal affiliations and identities among the Hindus, Sikhs, Ithna-Asheris, and Goans is played by the 1814 two Hindu temples, the Sikh Gurudwara (temple), the Ithna-Asheri Imambara (religious place), and the Roman Catholic churches in the city centre and Upanga. These religious places play a crucial role in building and sustaining a deep sense of belonging to a particular religion, caste, or sect. Social and religious gatherings held almost every day in these places enhance the centrality of the religious community in people's lives. Not only do relatives, friends, and marital partners come from this collectivity, but customers and clients also frequently come from the same religious group. The two Hindu temples on Kisutu Street bring together rich and poor men and women from some 20 different castes, and become the symbols of their Hindu identity. The temples are the venue for cultural programmes and dances during religious festivals, and instruction of religion and Gujarati language for children is held in the temples every evening. This religious and linguistic instruction is significant for reinforcing Hindu and Gujarati identities among children, and also for strengthening identification with India as the 'motherland of the Hindus' through lessons compiled from Indian textbooks. And while children learn about religion, Gujarati, and homeland, their parents sit and chat with each other. Thus the two temples provide an opportunity for Hindu men, women, and children to combine religious activity and cultural education with social interaction on a daily basis. The Imambara (Ithna-Asheri religious place) plays a role similar to the Hindu temple in bringing together approximately 7500 Ithna-Asheris from different economic, regional, and linguistic backgrounds, and in reinforcing their Shiite identity as Azadars, or those who mourn the martyrdom of Iman Hussein. The Imambara reinforces Azadari, the central element of the faith of Shia Ithna-Asheris who regard the 12 Imams as their religious leaders: [The] main cause of our identity and institution is Azadari. It is [the] single most powerful factor which has unified us and helped us maintain our traditions and cultural heritage ... Imambara has been our meeting-place where we discuss our problems and celebrate our achievements. There we assess our needs, plan our future and set our programs. Even today, wherever we go, we take Azadari with us and strive to establish Imambara as the first centre of our religious and social activities.'8 Every Thursday and Friday Ithna-Asheri women meet in the Imambara and in Mehfile-Abbas for Majalises (religious gatherings where people listen to sermons, mourn, and pray together) and also to meet and talk to their friends and relatives. In addition, some women also organize weekly Mehfils (gatherings) in their homes independent of the Jamaat. Most Ithna-Asheri men come to the mosque for the evening prayer, even if they cannot come to the mosque for their morning or afternoon prayers. Men also assemble every Thursday in the Kabristan (graveyard). Once again, the prayer meetings also become social events where people catch up with their friends, exchange the highlights of their day with each other, and talk about business dealings, national and local politics, and the latest exchange rates between Tanzanian shillings and US dollars. The Majalises (religious gatherings marked by sermons, mourning, and praying) held in the Imambara play a crucial role in bringing together people in the religious fold, at the same time reinforcing and modifying gender roles/rela- 1915 tions in the direction desired by the community's current leaders, through preachings on issues such as the compulsory nature of Hijaab (veil), the condemnation of music, the permissibility of Mut'a (temporary marriage), and the appropriate roles for men and women. Imambara is also instrumental in moulding linguistic identities. For example, although almost the entire Ithna-Asheri community speaks Gujarati, Kutchi, or Kiswahili, Mershias (verses of mourning) are read and sermons are given in Urdu, which has been implanted as the religious language in the community despite the discomfort that many community members feel with it. 19 The Shiite identity of the entire Ithna-Asheri community is especially bolstered during the month of Moharram, when men and women gather separately several times during a day to mourn the death of their religious leader, Imam Hussein, in the battle of Kerbala. In addition to being held in the Imambara, religious gatherings are also held in people's homes, as well as in Mehfile Asghari and Mehfile Bibi Fatima throughout Moharram.2° The following account provides a glimpse of women's Majalises (religious gatherings) during Moharram. Tales of the field (3): Nloharram Majalises of women (impressions recorded on 2 July 1993) During the first twelve days of Moharram, men and women met separately three times a day for their Majalises to read Mershias and to participate in the Majalis and Matam [mourning]. At night, women watched men's Majalises on the television monitors installed in the women's section of the Imambara. Men did not watch women's Majalises on TV monitors partly because it would threaten the institution of Hijaab [veiling] and partly because women preachers are not considered as important as male preachers. I saw many more African and racially mixed Ithna-Asheri women during the afternoon Moharram Majalises than I have seen during the rest of the year. On the day of Ashura, about 4000 women gathered in the Imambara. That day women did not have their own Majalis but participated in men's Majalis through television monitors. On Ashura night, women mourned by beating their chests. A group of men mourned by beating their bare chests with iron chairs which no women were allowed to see. As in the Sikh community, seating during each Majalis clearly took place on lines of age, race, class, and linguistic affiliations. African and racially mixed women sat separately from the Asian women; Kiswahili-speaking Zanzibari women preferred to chat with each other while Gujarati and Kutchi speaking mainlanders stuck together; young, middle-aged and old women formed their own clusters; women from 'renowned' families sat in their own group while the inconspicuous ones sat in theirs. Younger women sat upstairs and older women and women with small children sat downstairs. African women sat together in a group on the periphery of upstairs and downstairs halls. Some of the African women present were converted to Ithna-Asheris by the Bilal Mission, while several others were housekeepers who came to mind the children of their Asian employers. The act of mourning and sharing the meals together, and of wearing black clothes for one month, cultivates a deep sense of community across class, gender, race, and linguistic lines. One upper-class woman summarized the importance of the event: Moharram and Safar are the two months [in the Islamic calendar] when our religious sentiments are high. Majalises remind our community members of what they are sup- 2016 posed to do and how they are supposed to live. They remind them that they are not Muslims and Shias for just two months. They must practise Islam, stay away from music, respect the words of our religious leaders all the year round.21 It is not surprising, therefore, that the widespread adoption of the Hijaab took place during the Moharram Majalises a few years after the Iranian Revolution. A middle-class Ithna-Asheri woman remembered the Moharram of 1982: In 1982 ... Zakira Hamida Abbasi preached in our Majalises about the punishments from God for not wearing the Hijaab. She explained that we are not supposed to show our hair, that we can't talk to men unless we are fully covered. She said, 'Why do you deprive yourselves of all the things that God promises you just by not wearing the Hijaab ... ?' She started talking about this on the fourth day of Moharram. By the sixth day, many women were in the Hijaab and soon everyone was putting it on ... [W] hen we started wearing the Hijaab - we were proud of it.2' Haeri's observation that 'the rules for segregation and association of the sexes [are] one of the most fundamental and pervasive rules of social organization, social relations and social control in Iran' is equally applicable to most of the Asian communities in Tanzania. 21 Segregation of men and women is an important feature not only of Ithna-Asheri religious and social gatherings but also of Sikh and Hindu gatherings, despite the absence of Hijaab among the latter two groups. Among the Hindus and Sikhs, men and women are often present in the same room for the same event, but they enter from different doors, sit on different sides of the hall, and socialize with people of the same sex. Women's and men's worlds are considered complementary but separate in both the household and in the community. Among Ithna-Asheris, separate gatherings of men and women acquire a special meaning. In addition to reinforcing people's gender identities, such congregations also strengthen their identities as Muslims by enhancing their respect for the Islamic rules concerning purdah (seclusion) and mahram (lawful) / namahram (unlawful) relationships.24 Youngsters are taught to respect purdah from a young age, right from the time they start receiving their religious, Arabic, and Gujarati instruction at the Ithna-Asheri Madressa (religious school). In the Sikh community, the Gurudwara is the locus around which the daily lives of many Sikh women, men, and children revolve. More than a quarter of Dar-es-Salaam's Sikh families are concentrated in the buildings adjacent to the Sikh temple. In this small neighbourhood, Punjabi culture thrives. They speak Punjabi, cook Punjabi food, wear Punjabi clothes, and watch Punjabi videos. Every Sunday, the whole Sikh community of approximately 250 people, including three African-Asian Sikh families, assembles for a religious gathering in the Gurudwara. This gathering is followed by a community brunch that is cooked by Sikh women and men in their separate groups with assistance from their African male employees. On Saturday evenings, men gather to clean the premises and women come to do preparations for Sunday, and to take a tea and snack break. During engagements, weddings, births, name-givings, house warm- ings, funerals, as well as annual religious festivals, the entire community gathers in the Gurudwara in the same way to pray, cook, and eat together. In addition, 2117 women have a gathering every Wednesday afternoon, and about ten men and women show up every day for morning and evening prayers. Although Ithna-Asheri and Sikh communal places are often marked by the presence of African Ithna-Asheris and racially mixed Sikhs, Goans are the only Asian group who form a numerical minority in their religious places. Goans share their place of worship with African, Asian, Seychelloise, and European Roman Catholics even though their attendance at the English rather than Kiswahili Mass segregates most Goans from the majority of African Roman Catholics. The absence of an exclusively Goan religious place minimizes the role of churches as instruments for constructing a Goan identity. At the same time, this absence encourages Goans to focus on their club to bring together the members of their community, in addition to organizing exclusively Goan religious feasts during the year in honour of various saints. In contrast to the gender-based segregation that is so prominent in the Hindu, Ithna-Asheri, and Sikh gatherings, social interaction between women and men is of a much more open nature in the Goan community. Goan men and women of all ages mix freely with each other within and across racial lines and Goans attribute this to their perceived 'closeness to European culture' that has encouraged a 'westernized outlook on male-female relationships'.25 Reinforcement of class, caste and gender identities, and maintenance of economic networks I have emphasized the role played by communal places in bolstering religious (and, in the case of Ithna-Asheris, also sectarian) identities. However, the significance of communal places is by no means confined to construction of religious and sectarian affiliations and identities. Class, caste, and gender identities are also played upon and moulded in communal places in multiple ways. For example, the temple school becomes the main site of interaction between Hindu children from the lower and middle classes and those from the upper class, and results in the reinforcement of caste-based identities at a very early stage of life. A lower-caste man whose children study in the temple school commented: There has always been a discrimination against the small people by the big people. We small people are from lower castes without a lot of money. They are the big people from upper castes with money. They always like to look down upon us. Even when our children go to Pathshala [temple school], the rich, upper-caste kids form their own group and ask our children, 'Did you see that show?' 'Did you go to Oyster Bay?' 'Did you buy this or that?' So, since childhood we are aware of the social and economic gulf. It never goes. I don't like to attend anything of the [upper-caste] Hindus ... [T]hey have embittered me too much. 26 Despite the presence of overarching Hindu organizations such as the two temples and the children's centre where Hindu children from all castes come and play together, organization of weekly gatherings, wedding celebrations, and annual festivals on caste lines significantly reinforces caste identities. Caste halls become important markers of caste status even for schoolchildren, and the own- 2218 ership or lack of communal premises becomes one of the main elements in defining people's class and caste-based identities.27 A lower-caste working-class woman made the following observation about the celebrations ( Garbis) that mark Navratri, or the festival of nine nights: You can just look at the women in the Garbis and tell whether they are rich or ordinary from their clothes and ornaments ... Most women dress well when they go to the Garbis but some come in very ordinary clothes and you can tell that they are poor. Others come all glittering, and these women are mostly from higher castes. If you have to see ordinary people, go to the Garbi of Bhois and Ranas [both are lower castes] in the two temples. If you want to see the glitter of silk and gold, go to the caste halls of Lohanas, Bhatias, or Patels [high castes]. 21 For many Sikhs, especially Asian Sikh women who mostly work as housewives, the block consisting of the Sikh Trust Building, the Sikh Council Building, the Ramgharia hall, and the Sikh temple forms the world enveloping their entire religious, social and familial lives. 21 In this space, they share their joys and pains with each other; cook, gossip, sing, dance and celebrate together; show off their new clothes, or feel embarrassed at their old ones. This is where class divisions are both felt and reinforced. Whose daughter has been betrothed in London and whose in India, whose son is migrating to London and whose son cannot find a job in Dar-es-Salaam, whose children study in the expatriate school and whose in the International School, all these topics are discussed and class- and region-based identities and associations are strengthened. A working-class woman who lives with her family in what used to be the Sikh girls' dormitory hall remarked: Inside the main hall [of the Gurudwara], everything is religious. But outside that hall, we talk about everything. If there is a death or a birth, we plan when we should visit them ... We talk about our families, share our problems. [We discuss who is good or bad], new designs of clothes, what looks nice on whom ... We exchange embroidery and knitting patterns, or new recipes ... Older women usually like to talk just about themselves. Some men talk about business and money matters, others just pull each others' legS.30 Communal functions become occasions for Hindu, Sikh, Ithna-Asheri, and Goan women to show off new dresses, shoes and jewellery. Thus, the festival of nine nights (N~zvratri) among the Hindus, Sunday gatherings among the Sikhs and Goans, and Khushhali (birthday celebrations of various Imams) among the Ithna-Asheris provide opportunities for showing off one's wealth and status. Class distinctions are nowhere else clearer than during these functions, where the expensive imported possessions of the rich stand in sharp contrast to those of the poor. A poor Ithna-Asheri woman commented: I enjoy listening to rich women's conversations in the Imambara. They talk about clothes, jewellery, shoes, and styles. They talk about their guests, and the phone calls, letters, dress materials and perfumes that they get from their relatives overseas. Sometimes listening to them makes me frustrated and angry. But most of the time I try to think of it as fun. 31 2319 In the context of this discussion it is important to point out that social places of women were easily accessible to me as a woman and I could become a part of the social interactions that occurred there. However, gender segregation frequently rendered men's gatherings inaccessible to me, especially in the case of the Ithna-Asheri, Sikh, and, to some extent, Hindu communities. This makes it harder for me to comment on similar dynamics in men's gatherings. Nevertheless, a few men shared with me their observations about men's gatherings in their community. An upper class Ithna-Asheri man commented: I don't rush to the mosque for prayers ... Many of my friends have left the country and in the religious congregation I can hardly relate to anyone ... [T]his is pretty much the social atmosphere of the mosque - business and gossip. All kinds of business and container deals are made there. 32 It is clear that, although the stated objective of communal congregations is often religious, communal events play a key role in bringing together people socially, and in facilitating the creation of informal networks and communities among men and women. Gender segregation plays an important part in community-building and identity formation that goes beyond a mere maintenance or reinforcement of pre-existing gender and religious identities. Women's and men's gatherings provide opportunities for them to build new relationships, and to create new networks and communities based on age, class, and caste affiliations. Among the Hindus, women of different castes organize their own religious and social gatherings on a weekly basis in the afternoons. While women from prosperous castes such as Lohanas and Bhatias fulfil their upper class aspirations by organizing picnics, parties, fancy dress shows, and cooking and art competitions, many overworked women from lower castes regard their weekly gatherings as a respite from work and an opportunity to meet their friends and relatives, to fulfil religious obligations, and to discuss family problems, business matters, matrimonial matches, and fashions as well as local, national, and communal politics. Women's functions provide important bases for women to build close networks with other women from their own castes and classes. A young Divecha woman from a working-class background commented: [W]hile the older women sing devotional songs, young women and unmarried girls sit aside and talk. For many poor girls, weekly gatherings provide the only chance of dressing up, ... of having fun. They talk about great bargains on sarees or clothes, new fashions ..., and movies ... More importantly, these gatherings enable us to find out about jobs from other women through each others' brothers or cousins. Many [seamstresses] find customers in these gatherings, especially during festival time.13 The economic significance of communal congregations for middle- and working-class women cannot be overemphasized. Many Ithna-Asheri, Hindu, Goan and Sikh women work as small caterers to their communities by supplying pastries, cakes, and sweets for weekly and annual communal congregations and also for family celebrations during weddings, engagements, and birthdays. Several Hindu, Sikh, and Ithna-Asheri women provide meals primarily for Asian men 2420 who live alone, whose wives are away, or who have recently migrated to Dar-es-Salaam to start a new job. Because eating patterns differ substantially between Asian communities, people prefer to eat food prepared by women of their own communities. Communal congregations become the main centres where women involved in informal catering businesses collect information about potential customers. In all Asian communities, it is common for women from middle- and low-income households to work as seamstresses. It is an occupation that both housewives and unmarried women can easily accommodate in the realm of their domestic responsibilities, and since most of them sew for a middle-class clientele, they do not require any elaborate training. Communal gatherings become indispensable business meetings for many seamstresses. An Ithna-Asheri woman who does good business as a seamstress observed: My Ithna-Asheri customers bring their friends to me. And then I have my friends who refer their friends to me. So people try you, see your work and then if they like you they send others to you. Most of our orders come in the month of Ramazan ... Women find me during our weekly gatherings and tell me that they would like me to sew a dress for them ... After our religious gatherings, we [seamstresses] often share our patterns, sometimes if we get new patterns we lend them to other friends ... There's not much sharing with seamstresses of other communities because we don't see them much. But we see women of our own community in our gatherings all the time. If I have extra orders, I pass them on to my Ithna-Asheri friends who sew. s4 Several Asian women and men from all communities operate as pedlars. Those from middle- and working-class backgrounds make frequent trips to Zanzibar, a free port, to import dresses, scarves, perfumes, and electronic goods. Others with more finances import dresses, shoes, and perfumes from India, Pakistan, the UK and Canada. Women sell these imported items in Dar-es-Salaam primarily through informal communal networks. In addition, some women also give tuition to school children, while others have started informal day-care centres in their homes. Some young unmarried women who have recently finished their secondary education also offer photo and video coverage of women's communal events, engagements, weddings, and parties, and thrive on business contacts made within their communities. Thus the segregated worlds of women and men within their communities play a crucial role in bolstering gender identities and religious and social norms. Segregated social interactions also enable women to build new communities on the lines of age, class, and race, foster economic and social linkages with other women, and give birth to new social relations in the process. Bars and clubs In addition to relatively formal and religious communal places, Asian communities also interact informally in clubs and bars. Unlike communal places, where social interaction is relatively structured due to the primarily religious nature of those places, clubs and bars allow opportunities for less structured and freer 2521 interaction among people across gender, racial, and communal lines. However, gendered identities formed in communal places and residential neighbourhoods around race, religion, class, and caste continue to reproduce social groupings that are more or less the same as those witnessed in temples, Imambara, Gurudwara, and caste halls. Clubs such as Upanga Sports Club and Patel Samaaj, owned by prosperous Asian communities, are expensive and attract rich Asians from all communities (see Figure 2). The less expensive ones, such as the Khalsa Sports Club and Dar-es-Salaam Institute, attract young and middle-class people. For many lower-class Asians, the favourite haunt is the Maratha Club. These sports clubs and bars are dominated by Asian men, except for Dar-es-Salaam Institute (DI), owned by the Goans, which encourages mixed gatherings of Goan men and women and also has several Seychelloise and African members. Among the Goans the borders between genders and races are least visible, although communal borders are strong due to a strong sense of Goan identity. The following provides a glimpse of gatherings held at the DI. Tales of the field (4): Friday evening at the Dar Institute (impressions recorded on 23 July 1993) Just like other Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, the DI is bursting with activity, sounds, and smell of spicy food tonight. The scene is the usual one ... Men are playing cards and billiards, and some men and women are playing badminton in the hall. Most of the people are Goans but there are some non-Goans as well. Children are playing downstairs. A Goan couple runs a cafeteria downstairs and their food is popular. Women, men and children start coming to the club at around 7:30 pm and stay until about midnight. The bar remains the domain of men. People form little groups consisting mainly of close friends and relatives. I see several African men and women here. Seychelloise make their own, quite multicoloured and multilingual group. In all clubs and bars interaction takes place primarily on communal lines, although there is some mixing across religions, sects and castes. Most Muslim groups do not have their own bars, and so quite a few Muslim men come to bars owned by the Hindu, Sikh, and Goan communities. Clubs are also places where Hindu men from upper castes who cannot eat meat in their homes are able to break the law of vegetarianism. In the case of Hindus, Sikhs and Ithna-Asheris there is no strong communal identification with clubs or bars. However, for Goans, who take pride in being a community of fun-lovers, musicians, and party people, the Dar-es-Salaam Institute is an important symbol of community identity, as is reflected in the following lines written by a Goan woman in her community souvenir: 'Goans! that's what we are, One place to find us is surely the bar.'35 Furthermore, since Goans share their churches with African and European Roman Catholics, the club becomes the nucleus that draws the entire community together. This sense of community that the club symbolizes is reflected in the following sentiment expressed by a Goan man: [Goans] never forgot Goa ... [They] established institutions and clubs ... which in essence ... were little Goas where many of them met every evening and practically all of them gathered at the special functions held there to mark the feast of St Francis 2622 Xavier or Christmas or New Year's Day, during which they tried to recapture the Goan atmosphere and aroma with Goan folk music and food.*" Like temples, mosques, religious schools, and caste halls, clubs and bars become important centres for socialization and for creation of social networks based on religion, class, and gender. The relatively informal and less structured nature of activities held in clubs and bars might cause one to expect greater social interaction among men and women across class, race, religious, and linguistic lines. Although one does see more cross-racial and cross-gender mixing among the Goans, for the most part the identities created and reinforced in the religious places and caste halls continue to predominate, and to reproduce the social distances among the different religious, caste, and linguistic groups; among men and women; among upper, middle, and lower classes; and among Africans, Asians, and racially mixed people. The words of a half-Seychelloise, half-Goan woman capture the manner in which power, difference, and defiance are expressed in social spaces such as the Dar-es-Salaam Institute: Cliques are strong in everything Goans do. You will see the same Goan faces and families in the limelight during every event. So we Seychelloises also stick together. We sit together in our big group and we talk in Kiswahili. And in this way, we tell the Goans: 'Here we are. We are racially mixed. We don't speak your language [Konkani] . We don't share your homeland. But we are still as Goan as you are.' I can choose whether or not I want to be a part of the Goan community, but no Goan can tell me that I don't belong here. 37 Conclusion Asian communal places in Dar-es-Salaam are organized and run on religious, caste, and sectarian lines, and are central to the maintenance and modification of social relations and gendered identities based on race, religion, sect, caste, class, and language. A close look at the activities and complex social interactions in temples, mosques, churches, caste halls, clubs, and bars reveals the ways in which these places define the social, religious, and economic worlds of Asian men and women. On the one hand, these places reinforce the existing patterns of social relationships and power hierarchies by serving as nodes where people gather to sustain their gender-, class-, and caste-based social networks within their religious groups. On the other hand, these places allow marginalized people from the lower castes and racially mixed groups to express their discontent through criticism, separation, or non-participation. The exploration of the complex links among identity, space, place, and politics in recent years has underscored the intricate and mutually constitutive relationship between social relations and places. However, few works have examined in depth the empirical connections between identities and social processes occurring in specific places. Furthermore, much of the discussion on identity has been limited to identity politics surrounding gender, sexuality, race and class. Consequently, other crucial axes of difference, for example, religion, sect, caste, and language, that define and complicate the politics of multiple identities have 2723 been overlooked. It is perhaps due to this neglect that religious places have received little attention in the literature on identity, in spite of their critical importance as embodiments of deep sociopolitical, sacred, and personal meanings, and as social spaces that play a key role in shaping and reinforcing multiple social relations and hierarchies. The above analysis suggests that contextuality is central to understanding which identities become salient in a given spatio-temporal setting, and the manner in which people enact or reproduce these identities in social spaces. If identity theory is to be of greater social relevance, it must be expanded and modified according to the specific geographical and historical context.38 Our consideration of the social multiplicities that shape people's experiences, and of the places where different social interests and structures reinforce, reproduce, and modify those multiplicities, must be rooted in contextual realities. Acknowledgements This research was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (SES- 9205409) and from the Department of Geography, the MacArthur Program and the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota. I am grateful to David Faust, Helga Leitner, Don Mitchell, and my referees for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper, and to Mui Le and Jim Robb for their assistance with the figures. Notes 1 See D. Massey, 'A place called home?', New Formations 17 (1992), pp. 3-15; 'The polit ical place of locality studies', Environment and Planning A 23 (1991), pp. 267-81. 2 See M. Somers, 'Narrativity, narrative identity and social action: rethinking English working-class formation', Social Science History 16 (1992), pp. 591-630. 3 See D. Bell et al., 'All hyped up and no place to go', Gender, Place and Culture 1 (1994), pp. 31-47; M. Keith and S. Pile, 'Introduction, part 1: the politics of place', in M. Keith and S. Pile, eds, Place and the politics of identity (New York, Routledge, 1993), pp. 1-21; G. Pratt and S. Hanson, 'Geography and the construction of difference', Gender, Place and Culture 1 (1994), pp. 5-29. 4 J. Western, A passage to England: Barbadian Londoners speak of home (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1992); P. Jackson and J. Penrose, Construction of race, place and nation (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1993), p. 13; K. J. Anderson, Vancouver's Chinatown: racial discourse in Canada, 1875-1980 (Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991). 5 L. Kong, 'Ideological hegemony and the political symbolism of religious buildings in Singapore', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 11 (1993), pp. 23-45. Examples of such geographical works on religion are L. Biswas, 'Evolution of Hindu temples in Calcutta', Journal of Cultural Geography 4 (1984), pp. 73-85; J. R. Curtis, 'Miami's Little Havana: yard shrines, cult religion, and landscape', Journal of Cultural Geography 1 (1980), pp. 1-15; H. B. Johnson, 'The location of Christian missions in 2824Africa', Geographical Review 57 (1967), pp. 168-202. 6 S. Mirza and M. Strobel, Three Swahili women: life histories from Mombasa, Kenya (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1989); L. Fair, 'Pastimes and politics: a social history of Zanzibar's Ng'ambo community, 1890-1950' (PhD dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1994); L. L. Giles, 'Spirit possession on the Swahili coast: peripheral cults or primary texts? (PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1989). 7 A. Buttimer, 'Grasping the dynamism of the lifeworld', Annals of the Association of American Geographers 66 (1976), pp. 277-92; P. Jackson, 'Urban ethnography', Progress in Human Geography 9 (1985), pp. 157-76; D. Ley, 'Social geography and social action', in D. Ley and M. S. Samuels, eds, Humanistic geography: prospects and problems (London, Croom Helm, 1978), pp. 41-57; S. Smith, 'Practicing humanistic geography', Annals of the Association of American Geographers 74 (1984), pp. 353-74. 8 R. J. Johnston, D. Gregory, and D.M. Smith, eds, The dictionary of human geography (Oxford, Blackwell, 1986), p. 208, 209, 259. 9 D. Ley, A social geography of the city (New York, Harper & Row, 1983). 10 For more details, see R. Nagar, 'Making and breaking boundaries: identity politics among South Asian in postcolonial Dar-es-Salaam' (PhD dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1995); R. Nagar and H. Leitner, 'Contesting social relations in communal places', in R. Fincher and J. Jacobs, eds, Cities of difference (New York, Guilford Press, forthcoming). 11 Examples of such feminist, postcolonial, and post-structuralist writings include: G. Anzaldua, Borderlands/la frontera: the new mestiza (San Francisco, Aunt lute Books, 1987); S. Hall, 'Minimal selves', ICA Document on Identity 6 (1987), pp. 44-6; P. Jha, 'Writing the nation: Hindi and the politics of cultural identity in colonial India' (MS, 1991); L. Lowe, 'Heterogeneity, hybridity, multiplicity: marking Asian American dif ferences', Diaspora 1 (1991), pp. 24-44; R. Rosaldo, Culture and truth: the remaking of social analysis (Boston, Beacon Press, 1989); J. Scott, 'Gender: a useful category of his torical analysis', American Historical Review 91 (1986), pp. 1053-75; M. Watts, 'Space for everything (a commentary)', Cultural Anthropology 7 (1992), pp. 115-30. 12 For a detailed discussion of personal situatedness as a researcher, see R. Nagar, 'Exploring methodological borderlands through oral narratives', in J. P. Jones, H. Nast and S. Roberts, eds, Thresholds in Feminist Geography (Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming). 13 The phrase comes from J. Van Maanen, Tales of the field (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1988). 14 For a detailed discussion, see Nagar, 'Making and breaking boundaries'; A. Coulson, Tanzania: a political economy (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982), p. 61; J. Nyerere, Freedom and development (Dar-es-Salaam, Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 269; I. Shivji, Class struggles in Tanzania (New York, Monthly Review Press, 1976), p. 69. 15 A. A. Armstrong, 'Master plans for Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania: the shaping of an African city', Habitat International 11 (1987), p. 136. 16 K. J. Anderson, 'The idea of Chinatown: the power of place and institutional practice in the making of a racial category', Annals of the Association of American Geographers 77 (1987), p. 580. 17 Since all racial categories were removed from national statistical tables, abstracts, and censuses after the Arusha Declaration of 1967, no 'official' figures are available to show the present racial composition of Dar-es-salaam or its neighbourhoods. The Asian population for 1993 has been estimated on the basis of the following commu nity publications and interviews: Shree Hindu Mandal, Hindu link (Dar-es-Salaam, Shree Hindu Mandal, 1991); Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat, Biennial report, 1988-89 2925(Dar-es-Salaam, Ithna-Asheri Jamaat, 1992); interviews with the President of the Ithna- Asheri Jamaat, Dar-es-Salaam (28 Nov. 1992); the Treasurer of St Xavier's Society, Dar- es-Salaam (16 Aug. 1993), and the Manager of the Sikh Temple, Dar-es-Salaam (11 July 1993). The racial composition of the various neighbourhoods of Dar-es-Salaam has been roughly estimated on the basis of: The United Republic of Tanzania, 'Table 3: Population in the regions by district and ward,' in Tanzania sensa 1988, population cen sus : preliminary report (Dar-es-Salaam, Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning, 1990), p. 80. These figures reveal that in 1988 approx imately 80% of the Asian population lived in the wards of Kisutu, Upanga East, Upanga West, Kariakoo, Jangwani, Gerezani, Mchikichini, and Kivukoni. 18 Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat, Dar-es-Salaam, Biennial report 1988-89, p. 1. 19 Interviews: 23 Sept. and 21 Nov. 1992; 15 Jan. and 30 July 1993. 20 Mehfile Asghari and Mehfile Bibi Fatima refer to the buildings in which Mehfils or religious gatherings by tht name are held. These Mehfils take place on different days of the week, and are named after various heros and heroines who participated in the religious battle of Kerbala. 21 Interview, 21 July 1993. 22 Interview, 11 Nov. 1992. 23 S. Haeri, Law of desire: temporary marriage in Shi'i Iran (Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University Press, 1989), p. 76. 24 According to Haeri (ibid., p. 76), Islamic law conceives of gender relationships within the two categories of lawful (mahram) and unlawful (namahram ). Men and women must not associate freely with each other unless their relationship is prescribed either by blood or by marriage. A mahram relationship is formed either through birth or marriage. Consanguineously, it involves ego's immediate family, paternal ancestors, maternal and paternal siblings, and siblings' children. Outside this limited circle, the only legitimate medium for establishing cross-sex relationships is marriage. Affinally, a mahram relationship includes parents, paternal ancestors of ego's spouse (s), spouses of children, and their children. In these categories, veiling is not required for women, and men need not keep their distance. Any gender relationships outside of these two mahram categories are unlawful, namahram: women have to veil and rules of segrega tion apply. 25 Interviews, 26 Sept. 1992, 25, 31 Oct. 1992, 30 July 1993. 26 Interview, 15 July 1993. 27 To investigate whether there was any significant relationship between neighbourhood, caste, and class, I visited the religious classes in the temple school and asked the children their caste and the place where they lived. Some children of grades 1 and 2 did not know their castes, and their classmates told me their caste based on the caste halls where they went for festivities. Some older children who did not know their castes, deduced it from the caste halls or temples where they played Garbis during Navratri. 28 Interview, 30 Jan. 1993. 29 In Dar-es-Salaam there are several families of African-Asian Sikhs who come from poor, working-class backgrounds. It is important to distinguish between them and Asian Sikhs, especially in the case of women, because it is more common for African-Asian Sikh women to work outside their homes than it is for Asian Sikh women. 30 Interview, 16 Feb. 1993. 31 Interview, 30 July 1993. 32 Interview, 16 Feb. 1993. 3026 33 Interview, 30 Jan. 1993. 34 Interview, 11 Nov. 1992 35 M. D'Souza, 'Goans', in St Xavier's Society, Dar-es-Salaam, The Goan community of Tanzania: 100 years souvenir (1992), p. 63. 36 L. Mascarenhas, 'Goa and Africa', in ibid., p. 27. 37 Interview, 3 Aug. 1993. 38 R. Nagar, 'Exploring methodological borderlands through oral narratives', in Jones et al., Thresholds in feminist geography. 1 See D. Massey, 'A place called home?', New Formations 17 (1992), pp. 3-15; 'The polit ical place of locality studies', Environment and Planning A 23 (1991), pp. 267-81. 2 See M. Somers, 'Narrativity, narrative identity and social action: rethinking English working-class formation', Social Science History 16 (1992), pp. 591-630. 3 See D. Bell et al ., 'All hyped up and no place to go', Gender, Place and Culture 1 (1994), pp. 31-47; M. Keith and S. Pile, 'Introduction, part 1: the politics of place', in M. Keith and S. Pile, eds, Place and the politics of identity (New York, Routledge, 1993), pp. 1-21; G. Pratt and S. Hanson, 'Geography and the construction of difference', Gender, Place and Culture 1 (1994), pp. 5-29. 4 J. Western, A passage to England: Barbadian Londoners speak of home (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1992); P. Jackson and J. Penrose, Construction of race, place and nation (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1993), p. 13; K. J. Anderson, Vancouver's Chinatown: racial discourse in Canada, 1875-1980 (Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991). 5 L. Kong, 'Ideological hegemony and the political symbolism of religious buildings in Singapore', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 11 (1993), pp. 23-45. Examples of such geographical works on religion are L. Biswas, 'Evolution of Hindu temples in Calcutta', Journal of Cultural Geography 4 (1984), pp. 73-85; J. R. Curtis, 'Miami's Little Havana: yard shrines, cult religion, and landscape', Journal of Cultural Geography 1 (1980), pp. 1-15; H. B. Johnson, 'The location of Christian missions in Africa', Geographical Review 57 (1967), pp. 168-202. 6 S. Mirza and M. Strobel, Three Swahili women: life histories from Mombasa, Kenya (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1989); L. Fair, 'Pastimes and politics: a social history of Zanzibar's Ng'ambo community, 1890-1950' (PhD dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1994); L. L. Giles, 'Spirit possession on the Swahili coast: peripheral cults or primary texts? (PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1989). 7 A. Buttimer, 'Grasping the dynamism of the lifeworld', Annals of the Association of American Geographers 66 (1976), pp. 277-92; P. Jackson, 'Urban ethnography', Progress in Human Geography 9 (1985), pp. 157-76; D. Ley, 'Social geography and social action', in D. Ley and M. S. Samuels, eds, Humanistic geography: prospects and problems (London, Croom Helm, 1978), pp. 41-57; S. Smith, 'Practicing humanistic geography', Annals of the Association of American Geographers 74 (1984), pp. 353-74. 8 R. J. Johnston, D. Gregory, and D.M. Smith, eds, The dictionary of human geography (Oxford, Blackwell, 1986), p. 208, 209, 259. 9 D. Ley, A social geography of the city (New York, Harper & Row, 1983). 10 For more details, see R. Nagar, 'Making and breaking boundaries: identity politics among South Asian in postcolonial Dar-es-Salaam' (PhD dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1995); R. Nagar and H. Leitner, 'Contesting social relations in communal places', in R. Fincher and J. Jacobs, eds, Cities of difference (New York, Guilford Press, forthcoming). 11 Examples of such feminist, postcolonial, and post-structuralist writings include: G. Anzaldua, Borderlands/la frontera: the new mestiza (San Francisco, Aunt lute Books, 1987); S. Hall, 'Minimal selves', ICA Document on Identity 6 (1987), pp. 44-6; P. Jha, 'Writing the nation: Hindi and the politics of cultural identity in colonial India' (MS, 1991); L. Lowe, 'Heterogeneity, hybridity, multiplicity: marking Asian American dif ferences', Diaspora 1 (1991), pp. 24-44; R. Rosaldo, Culture and truth: the remaking of social analysis (Boston, Beacon Press, 1989); J. Scott, 'Gender: a useful category of his torical analysis', American Historical Review 91 (1986), pp. 1053-75; M. Watts, 'Space for everything (a commentary)', Cultural Anthropology 7 (1992), pp. 115-30. 12 For a detailed discussion of personal situatedness as a researcher, see R. Nagar, 'Exploring methodological borderlands through oral narratives', in J. P. Jones, H. Nast and S. Roberts, eds, Thresholds in Feminist Geography (Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming). 13 The phrase comes from J. Van Maanen, Tales of the field (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1988). 14 For a detailed discussion, see Nagar, 'Making and breaking boundaries'; A. Coulson, Tanzania: a political economy (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982), p. 61; J. Nyerere, Freedom and development (Dar-es-Salaam, Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 269; I. Shivji, Class struggles in Tanzania (New York, Monthly Review Press, 1976), p. 69. 15 A. A. Armstrong, 'Master plans for Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania: the shaping of an African city', Habitat International 11 (1987), p. 136. 16 K. J. Anderson, 'The idea of Chinatown: the power of place and institutional practice in the making of a racial category', Annals of the Association of American Geographers 77 (1987), p. 580. 17 Since all racial categories were removed from national statistical tables, abstracts, and censuses after the Arusha Declaration of 1967, no 'official' figures are available to show the present racial composition of Dar-es-salaam or its neighbourhoods. The Asian population for 1993 has been estimated on the basis of the following commu nity publications and interviews: Shree Hindu Mandal, Hindu link (Dar-es-Salaam, Shree Hindu Mandal, 1991); Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat, Biennial report, 1988-89 (Dar-es-Salaam, Ithna-Asheri Jamaat, 1992); interviews with the President of the Ithna- Asheri Jamaat, Dar-es-Salaam (28 Nov. 1992); the Treasurer of St Xavier's Society, Dar- es-Salaam (16 Aug. 1993), and the Manager of the Sikh Temple, Dar-es-Salaam (11 July 1993). The racial composition of the various neighbourhoods of Dar-es-Salaam has been roughly estimated on the basis of: The United Republic of Tanzania, 'Table 3: Population in the regions by district and ward,' in Tanzania sensa 1988, population cen sus : preliminary report (Dar-es-Salaam, Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning, 1990), p. 80. These figures reveal that in 1988 approx imately 80% of the Asian population lived in the wards of Kisutu, Upanga East, Upanga West, Kariakoo, Jangwani, Gerezani, Mchikichini, and Kivukoni. 18 Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat, Dar-es-Salaam, Biennial report 1988-89, p. 1. 19 Interviews: 23 Sept. and 21 Nov. 1992; 15 Jan. and 30 July 1993. 20 Mehfile Asghari and Mehfile Bibi Fatima refer to the buildings in which Mehfils or religious gatherings by tht name are held. These Mehfils take place on different days of the week, and are named after various heros and heroines who participated in the religious battle of Kerbala. 21 Interview, 21 July 1993. 22 Interview, 11 Nov. 1992. 23 S. Haeri, Law of desire: temporary marriage in Shi'i Iran (Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University Press, 1989), p. 76. 24 According to Haeri ( ibid., p. 76), Islamic law conceives of gender relationships within the two categories of lawful ( mahram ) and unlawful ( namahram ). Men and women must not associate freely with each other unless their relationship is prescribed either by blood or by marriage. A mahram relationship is formed either through birth or marriage. Consanguineously, it involves ego's immediate family, paternal ancestors, maternal and paternal siblings, and siblings' children. Outside this limited circle, the only legitimate medium for establishing cross-sex relationships is marriage. Affinally, a mahram relationship includes parents, paternal ancestors of ego's spouse (s), spouses of children, and their children. In these categories, veiling is not required for women, and men need not keep their distance. Any gender relationships outside of these two mahram categories are unlawful, namahram: women have to veil and rules of segrega tion apply. 25 Interviews, 26 Sept. 1992, 25, 31 Oct. 1992, 30 July 1993. 26 Interview, 15 July 1993. 27 To investigate whether there was any significant relationship between neighbourhood, caste, and class, I visited the religious classes in the temple school and asked the children their caste and the place where they lived. Some children of grades 1 and 2 did not know their castes, and their classmates told me their caste based on the caste halls where they went for festivities. Some older children who did not know their castes, deduced it from the caste halls or temples where they played Garbis during Navratri. 28 Interview, 30 Jan. 1993. 29 In Dar-es-Salaam there are several families of African-Asian Sikhs who come from poor, working-class backgrounds. It is important to distinguish between them and Asian Sikhs, especially in the case of women, because it is more common for African-Asian Sikh women to work outside their homes than it is for Asian Sikh women. 30 Interview, 16 Feb. 1993. 31 Interview, 30 July 1993. 32 Interview, 16 Feb. 1993. 33 Interview, 30 Jan. 1993. 34 Interview, 11 Nov. 1992 35 M. D'Souza, 'Goans', in St Xavier's Society, Dar-es-Salaam, The Goan community of Tanzania: 100 years souvenir (1992), p. 63. 36 L. Mascarenhas, 'Goa and Africa', in ibid., p. 27. 37 Interview, 3 Aug. 1993. 38 R. Nagar, 'Exploring methodological borderlands through oral narratives', in Jones et al., Thresholds in feminist geography.

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