Tasha Rijke-Epstein

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Tasha Rijke-Epstein

Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology & History

  • Affiliation(s)
    • African Studies Center
    • Science, Techonology and Society Studies
    • Museum Studies
  • Fields of Study
    • Colonial and Postcolonial Urban Planning, Architecture, and Landscapes
    • Houses and Materiality
    • Labor
    • Ethnicity
    • Migration and Autochthony
    • Kinship, Marriage and Ancestors
    • Madagascar, East Africa, Indian Ocean
  • About

    My dissertation, provisionally entitled “Architectures of Belonging: Urban Materiality, Historical Imagination, and Shifting Moral Registers in Mahajanga, Madagascar, 1890s to present” examines the history and practices of urban place-making, planning and inhabitance, and focuses on the intersecting work of Malagasy and Comorian city dwellers, laborers, and planning experts in the production of a mid-size African city.  It explores how competing moral economies have been at play in the fashioning of places, especially homes, mosques, and streets; the evaluation of labor; and the framing of cleanliness in everyday and infrastructural life in colonial and post-independent Mahajanga.  I am interested in the creative, spatial strategies employed by urban inhabitants over time as they have navigated tensions of belonging and found ways to imagine new possibilities for their lives, amidst shifting political-economic, social and infrastructural constraints. Finally, I am fascinated by the techno-politics of waste treatment and removal infrastructure and economies in African cities, and how cultural constructions of filth, labor, and material infrastructure have (re)produced bodies, moral practices and discourses over time.


    2013 “The Spatial Politics of Neglect, Forgetting and Remembering in (Post)Colonial Mahajanga: Le Jardin Ralaimongo.” Paper Presentation, Colonial and Postcolonial Urban Planning in Africa, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.

    2010 “The Road to Mahajanga: Mapping Socio-Political Geographies in Madagascar.”
    Madagascar Workshop, University of Toronto, Canada.

    2008 Topographies of War, Registers of Violence in Africa Conference, University of
    Michigan. (Conference Co-coordinator)

    2007 “Discourses and Practices of Land Dispossession and Restitution in South Africa:
    Historical Continuities in the Case of Makhoba.”11th Annual New Frontiers in Graduate History, York University, Toronto, Canada.

    Awards/Grants (selected)

    2014 Rackham Humanities Dissertation Fellowship
    2013 Museum Studies Program Practicum Grant, University of Michigan
    2010 Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award/US/ED (deferred to 2012)
    2010 Rackham International Research Award, University of Michigan
    2010 CAAS African Initiative Grant, University of Michigan
    2009 International Institute Pre-Dissertation Research Award, University of Michigan
    2008,2010 Foreign Language Enhancement Program (FLEP) Award, CIC
    2004 Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship (for M.Phil studies at Univ. of Cape Town

  • Education
    • MPhil Justice and Transformation, University of Cape Town, South Africa
    • BA Psychology and Philosophy, Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore MD
    • Museum Studies Certificate, Universtiy of Michigan
    • Science, Technology and Society Graduate Certificate, University of Michigan (in progress)