Ph.D., Emory University, December 2013
Robin Pariser specializes in the history of colonial and post-colonial Africa, labor, gender, urbanization, and the 19th and 20th century British Empire. Her dissertation, Houseboy: Domestic Service and the Making of Colonial Dar es Salaam, 1916-1961, constructs a history of the largest occupational group in colonial Dar es Salaam -- domestic servants. She investigates how domestic service changed from being a well-paid, respected occupation in the early years of colonial rule to cheap work at the bottom of the urban labor hierarchy, and examines the struggle between servants and the state over labor standards and servants' status as workers. Her analysis of correspondence between servants and state officials, union documents and petitions, labor legislation, personal memoirs, and official discussions about domestic service in Dar es Salaam sheds new light on the shifting visions and meanings of work in the colonial era. Complicating accepted paradigms of African labor and colonial rule, her research reveals that the state possessed multiple, conflicting images of African labor and African laborers. Moreover, African notions of honor and masculinity became increasingly tied not only to work, but to permanent, regulated wage labor and ideas of time.
Pariser's teaching interests include African and World History. She currently teaches "World History to 1500" at Georgia State. She has also taught introductory and upper-level courses in African History at Emory University and Morehouse College, where she worked as a Mellon Teaching Fellow. Previous courses include "The Making of Modern Africa" and "African Cities: Colonization and Urbanization in 20th Century Africa."