Karim F Hirji is a retired Professor of Medical Statistics and a Fellow of the Tanzania Academy of Sciences. A recognized authority on statistical analysis of small sample discrete data, the author of the only book on the subject, he received the Snedecor Prize for Best Publication in Biometry from the American Statistical Association and International Biometrics Society for the year 1989. He has published many papers in the areas of statistical methodology, applied biomedical research, the history and practice of education in Tanzania, and written numerous essays on varied topics for the mass media and popular magazines. He is the author of Exact Analysis of Discrete Data (Chapman and Hall/CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2005), Statistics in the Media: Learning from Practice (Media Council of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, 2012) and Growing Up With Tanzania: Memories, Musings and Maths (Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2014). He also edited and is the main author of Cheche: Reminiscences of a Radical Magazine (Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2011). His most recent books are The Enduring Relevance of Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Daraja Press, Montreal, 2017), The Banana Girls (Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2017) and The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher (Daraja Press, Montreal, 2018). He resides in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and may be contacted at [email protected].

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  • Religion, Society and the Pandemic: A complex entanglement

    In nearly three years, starting from early January 2020, the coronavirus directly and indirectly consumed the lives of nearly 20 million people worldwide. This book explores the interplay between the coronavirus pandemic and religion on the theological, institutional and societal dimensions. It focuses on Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and secularism, but some minor faith systems are also covered. Exploring the evolution of the pandemic in seventeen nations, it asks: Was religious belief an obstacle or a positive factor in understanding the scientific basis of the coronavirus pandemic? Did religious institutions, leaders and laity facilitate or block the implementation of the official pandemic control measures? Was the role played by religion in the coronavirus pandemic affected by historical, social, economic and political factors? How did secularism operate in the coronavirus pandemic? Did the coronavirus pandemic enhance or undermine religiosity? The basic aim is to draw lessons from this pandemic that will facilitate how humanity may deal with future pandemics in a just and egalitarian social order.

    USD $ 7.99USD $ 50.00
  • Banana Girls, The

    The Banana Girls chronicles 2003 days in the lives of two bosom friends, Rehema and Fatuma, and millions of days in the existence of the banana, the fruit which, eaten either ripe or cooked, the girls at some point determine will be the only solid component of their daily diets. The banana becomes not only the symbol of ideal nutrition but also, by turns, of social engineering and neo-imperialist exploitation. …Rehema and Fatuma are Tanzanians by nationality and brainboxes by genetic coding, with an enduring monopoly of either the first or second position in any examination for which they sit. They excel in Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics particularly and are always the first two to solve any mathematical or scientific challenges that are presented to their successive year groups and, by extension, to readers of the book.

    … As the days go by, Rehema and Fatuma abandon junk food forever, they also adopt wholesome tastes in what they watch and what they listen to, and they make a good friend, Alice, who, unlike them, is from a rich family but who is adequately informed to join them as committed activists in the BLF, the Banana Liberation Front. Their activism lands them in jail. All three girls see through the machinations of their own government to oppress their own people and of global capitalism to bring about régime change, the better to sustain a stranglehold over poorer economies and to prop up aptly named ‘banana republics’. One malevolent operator is pointed out by name: he is President Ronald Grump of the United States of America.

  • Religion, Eugenics, Science and Mathematics: An Eternal Knot

    Religion, Eugenics, Science and Mathematics by Karim F Hirji examines the dynamic relationship between religion, on the one hand, and science and mathematics, on the other, on historical and conceptual grounds. It focuses on Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and various shades of secularism, including Marxism. Where relevant, other faiths are integrated into the analysis. The questions it addresses include: Are religion and science mutually exclusive, opposing entities? Do divine beings and divine realms exist? Are science and religion valid but different forms of truth? What are the societal roles of science and religion? Can science provide a tenable, exalted code of ethics? What are the futures of religion and science? Can religion and science cooperate in resolving the daunting, existential problems facing humanity today? All issues are explored in an interdisciplinary, historical manner. Examination of the religious dimension of the doctrine of eugenics, which culminated in the Nazi era extermination pogroms, forms a major case study in the book.
    Among other things, the book peruses scriptures, explores practice, enjoins analysis with anecdotes, and contrasts the beliefs of scientists and religious luminaries. Though it is directed toward the general reader, its novel approach, broad consideration of social and economic factors, and the nature of the evidence it has marshalled makes it of interest to theologians and scientists as well.
    Religion, Eugenics, Science and Mathematics builds on the foundation laid in Religion, Politics and Society by Karim Hirji. In addition to eugenics, by relating religion to mathematics, genetics, neurology, climate change and other issues, the book reveals that the relationship between religion and science is a complex, entangled knot, not reducible to a simplistic summary.
    The ultimate message of the book is that science and religion can exist harmoniously on the moral plane and that the primary obstacle facing human progress today is neither religion nor science but the dominant neoliberal system that generates vast inequality, deep social divisions, including religious divisions and a callous disregard for the global biosphere.

    USD $ 7.99USD $ 45.00
  • Religion, Politics and Society: A progressive primer

    Written by Karim F Hirji, a retired professor of Medical Statistics, Religion, Politics and Society focuses on the four major global religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam—together with minor religions like the Ahmadiyya, Confucianism, Sikhism, Seventh Day Adventism and Traditional African Religion as well as on Secularism, New Age beliefs and the ancient Paleolithic and Neolithic era belief systems to explore the origin, spiritual import and social function of religion in human society. Utilizing the canons, beliefs, practices, history, eminent personages, institutions of the diverse faiths, it tackles matters like: How did the social function of religion evolve over time? How does religion relate to the power structure of society? Does religion promote or hinder social harmony, justice and equality? Under what circumstances? Is religion necessary for morality? What are the roots of interfaith conflict? How do modern religions and neoliberalism interact with each other? Does religion have a future? Can religion and secularism be harnessed for resolving the globally vexing yet pivotal concerns of human society? If so, how?
    These and related issues are tackled with the help of a variety of past and contemporary individual level and broader type of richly illustrated examples. The role of women in religion a topic of focus throughout the text. The varied functions of religion under slavery, feudalism, capitalism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism. socialism, and neoliberalism are also attended to.
    The foundational premise of this book is that while spiritual beliefs differ, all humans are equal in dignity and have equal rights. No religion is more exalted than others; there are no chosen people. We all belong to the global human family. Our religious and cultural diversity is a cause for celebration, not conflict.
    Respectful in style and targeted towards the general and knowledgeable readers, Religion, Politics and Society is the first of a two-book project. The second book, Religion, Science and the Pandemic, addresses the relationship between religion, science and mathematics. The key objective of these books is to help uplift the quality and tenor of the current discourse on religion and explore how faith can promote human dignity, equality, social justice and harmony. A genuine consensus and peaceful coexistence cannot emerge from diluting the truth.

    USD $ 6.99USD $ 55.00
  • Under-Education in Africa: From Colonialism to Neoliberalism

    Under-Education in Africa: From Colonialism to Neoliberalism is a collection of essays on diverse aspects of educational systems that were written over a period of four and a half decades, written from the point of view of an activist educator.

    With the focus on Tanzania, they cover education in the German colonial era, the days of Ujamaa socialism and the present neo-liberal times. Themes include the social function of education, the impact of external dependency on education, practical versus academic education, democracy and violence in schools, the role of computers in education, the effect of privatization on higher education, misrepresentation of educational history, good and bad teaching styles, book reading, the teaching of statistics to doctors and student activism in education.

    Two essays provide a comparative view of the situation in Tanzania and the USA. Linking the state of the educational system with society as a whole, they explore the possibility of progressive transformation on both fronts. They are based on the author’s experience as a long-term educator, his original research, relevant books, newspaper reports and discussions with colleagues and students.

    The author is a retired professor of medical statistics who has taught at colleges and universities in Tanzania and at universities in the USA and Norway.

  • The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher

    The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher is a riveting account of the bumpy first decade of the work life of Karim F Hirji, a retired Professor of Medical Statistics. Filled with a distinctive variety of eye-opening episodes, it covers lecturing at the University of Dar es Salaam, the life of a political exile in a remote rural area and the challenges of setting up from scratch a one-of-a-kind educational institute in Africa. With a style that seamlessly combines the personal with the general, Hirji provides an illuminating description of different aspects of the Tanzanian political, educational, economic and rural landscape during the 1970s. Starting with a commentary on teacher training, he concludes with a critical comparison of modern university education in the nation with that of the earlier era.

  • The Enduring Relevance of Walter Rodney’s ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’

    Soon after its publication in 1972, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa gained global popularity among students, scholars, activists and people concerned with African affairs. His innovative application of the method of political economy transformed the paradigm for rendition of the continent’s past. Because it stridently took the traditional historians and the prevailing neo-colonial order to task, it was also pilloried by the defenders of the status quo. And, in these neoliberal times, mainstream scholars and pundits proclaim that it is no longer relevant for Africa.

    In Walter Rodney: An Enduring Legacy, Karim Hirji makes a systematic case that, on the contrary, Rodney’s seminal work retains its singular value for understanding where Africa has come from, where it is going, and charting the path towards genuine development for its people. After giving a broad picture of Rodney and his times, Hirji examines in detail the criticisms levelled against his work, and conducts a focused review of modern day textbooks on African history. It is seen that most of the claims against Rodney lack a sound basis and that direct representations of his ideas are replete with distortions, unfair selectivity and political bias. Yet, the long term influence of Rodney on African history is unmistakable.

    Hirji’s succinct, coherent defence of an intellectual giant who lived and died for humanity is an essential read for anyone with an interest in Africa and related regions.