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Department of History's Annual Robert K. Webb Lecture

Humanities Forum with Kenda Mutongi



Date & Time

October 20, 2021, 4:00 pm5:30 pm


For the annual Robert K. Webb Lecture, the Department of History presents:

MATATU: A History of Popular Transportation in Kenya

Kenda Mutongi, Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Drive the streets of Nairobi, and you are sure to see many matatus—colorful minibuses that transport huge numbers of people around the city. Once ramshackle affairs held together with duct tape and wire, matatus today are name-brand vehicles maxed out with aftermarket detailing. This talk will focus on the various ways in which matatus offer a window onto the socioeconomic and political conditions of post-colonial Kenya. In their diversity of idiosyncratic designs, they reflect multiple and divergent aspects of Kenyan life—including, for example, rapid urbanization, organized crime, entrepreneurship, social insecurity, the transition to democracy, and popular culture—at once embodying Kenya’s staggering social problems as well as the bright promises of its future.

This event is part of the Dresher Center for the Humanities' Fall 2021 Humanities Forum.

UMBC is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Live-captioning will be provided at all online events. To request additional accessibility accommodations, please contact us at dreshercenter@umbc.edu.

[Image description: A short-haired Kenyan woman wearing blue glasses smiles towards the camera.]

Event number:  2621 581 3651
Event password: ppYWpdUX388 (77997389 from phones)

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 Access code: 2621 581 3651