This article enriches reflections on the circulation of the concept of gender in the Global South by looking at the transformations of Tanzanian research on gender in education between the 1970s and the early 1990s. A close reading of the texts shows how the concept of gender has been used in this field of study since 1990; it considers variations depending on authors and their positioning. Comparing this with the writings of the 1970s and 1980s, when no one used the concept, reveals how it contributed to epistemological change. The article also reflects on the respective role of local factors and international influences (via donor agencies and global epistemologies) in the epistemological evolutions of the field. It highlights that researchers, even in a time of growing international dependency, managed to keep intellectual autonomy.

Note on the Author

I am a PhD student in history at the Université de Paris and lecturer at Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. My research focuses on female education in Tanzania in the late colonial and early postcolonial periods. By discussing female education, I am addressing wider issues on women’s place in Tanzanian colonial and postcolonial society and the building of a nation-state. Contact: florence.wenzek@free.fr.