Frank Edward

Frank Edward

Since January 2015, Frank Edward has been working on his PhD project in the Department of History and the Urban Graduate School at Darmstadt University of Technology under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Mikael Hård. Frank wrote his masters dissertation at the University of Dar es Salaam on the historical interplay between health and witchcraft practices and beliefs among the Hehe people of Iringa, Tanzania. He focused on uncovering the hitherto taken for granted implications of witchcraft on health of people in both pre-modern and modern African societies using consensual, psychosocial and socio-cultural constructionism theories. In his PhD project, Frank is combining approaches from both urban and science and technology histories in an endeavour to understand and explain circulation, appropriation and innovations of water and transport technologies and infrastructures in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Frank will finish his program towards the end of 2018.

PhD project

Circulation and appropriation of urban technologies: drainage and traffic infrastructures in Dar es Salaam, 1913-1999.

This project seeks to test two hypotheses. First hypothesis is that analyses and discussions of large technical systems (LTS) always have to take their interconnectedness into account, a perspective that tends to be absent from most scholarly investigations. The second hypothesis is that the present LTS problems are partly the product of processes associated with planning and engineering from the colonial period to the recent past. LTS includes electricity, transport, water, sanitation and telecommunication. The study focuses on Dar es Salaam, the largest and most historically loaded city of Tanzania, especially on the relationship between traffic and drainage infrastructures. Drawing on written, visual and oral material from archives, libraries, authorities and key informants, this PhD project uncovers an hitherto seldom treated area in African history – history of technology – with special focus to urban technologies. The study aims to explain and help us understand the current systemic failure of traffic and drainage infrastructures in Dar es Salaam, particularly its manifestations in periodic floods in the planned areas.

Professional experience

01/2018 – 06/2018 Research Associate, Section for History of Technology, TU Darmstadt
08/2013 – 12/2014 Assistant Lecturer of History at University of Dar es Salaam
02/2011 – 05/2011 Researcher in Chief Mkwawa Documentary
09/2010 Research Assistant in 2010 Tanzania General Elections Opinion Poll
06/2010 – 08/2010 Research Assistant in a project on technology transfer through African Freedom Railway (TAZARA) under Prof. Jamie Monson

University Studies

01/2015 to date Doctoral student in the Department of History, Darmstadt University of Technology, Darmstadt, Germany
08/2013 Master of Arts in History at the University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
11/2008 Bachelor of Arts in History and Archaeology at the University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


06/2017 Awarded ICOHTEC Travel Grant to attend the 25th ICHST Conference in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 23-29, 2017.
11/2016 Awarded HBS Travel Grant to attend the 59th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association in Washington, D.C., USA, Dec.1-3, 2016.
04/2016 Awarded Travel Grant to attend the SHOT Annual Meeting in Singapore June, 2016 by the Society for the History of Technology.
02/2016 Awarded IPD4all Research Grant by the Graduate School for Urban Studies at TU Darmstadt for a Two-week Archival Research in London,UK.
12/2014 Hans-Boeckler Foundation PhD Stipend Scholarship for 2015–2017
02/2009 GEGA-NUFU/GeSoMo M.A. History Scholarship at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for 2009–2010


• Review: Casper Andersen, British Engineers and Africa, 1875-1914. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2011. African Studies Review 59 (3) (December 2016), pp.253-254.

• Review: Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, What Do Science, Technology and Innovation Mean from Africa? Technology and Culture (forthcoming Summer 2018).

• Book chapter: ‘Excavating’ the Sanitation System in Colonial Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (forthcoming Winter 2018)

Talks and Conferences

• July 23-39, 2017: Presented a paper in 25th ICHST Conference held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The title of the paper was: “Technology and Colonialism: Did the British Overrate their Technological Might in the Groundnut Scheme in Tanganyika, 1946-1961?”

• January 30-31, 2017: Participated in the Teaching in English to Non-native Speakers Workshop organized by and conducted at TU Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany.

• December 1-3, 2016: Presented a paper in the 59th African Studies Association annual meeting held in Washington, D.C., USA. Paper of the title was: “Critiquing Postcoloniality? Towards an STS Perspective in African Urbanization”.

• June 22-25, 2016: Presented a paper in the Annual Meeting of the Society for History of Technology in Singapore titled “Drainage Infrastructures in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1891-1960: When Technological Innovation and Health Intersect”.

• May 9-10, 2016: Presented a paper in Graz 2016 STS Annual Conference in Graz, Austria titled “Public Transport Infrastructures and Services in Dar es Salaam: Placing Users into Urban Transport Narratives?”

• March 30, 2016: Attended “The Worlds of Cult: Comparison of European and African Witchcraft Cults” at Queen Mary University of London, UK, organized by Dr. Reuben Loffman.

• December 14-16, 2015: Participated in “Mediation Theory and Philosophy of Technology” Workshop prepared by University of Twente, Netherlands.

• March 9-15, 2015: Participated in “Interdisciplinary PhD Training Week in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania” organized by TU Berlin, TU Darmstadt, Ardhi University and University of Dar es Salaam.


• African Studies Association (ASA) since 2015

• Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) since 2015

• Historical Association of Tanzania (HAT) since 2016