'Modernisation' was one of the most pervasive ideologies of the twentieth century. Focusing on a case study of the Kariba Dam in central-southern Africa and based on an array of primary sources and interviews the book provides a nuanced understanding of development in the turbulent late 1950s, a time when most colonies moved towards independence.
"This was a book that needed to be written....It exists as an important addition to the historiography of development in sub-Saharan Africa." - Margaret Mielke, Modern African Studies
"Light and Power tells in great and effective detail the story of a dam and a colonial moment. Tischler argues that the dam itself has been underreported in historical literature. Her book addresses that lacuna." - James C. McCann, American History Review
"The great strength of this study is the author's success in writing an 'entangled history' of Kariba, which emphasizes the ways that the ideas, practices, strategies, and understandings of the competing protagonists are constructed as part of a set cross-cultural interactions located within an asymmetrical field of power. Her notion of 'entangled history,' derived from a broad reading of post-colonial and subaltern studies, allows Tischler to moved beyond the familiar binaries of 'colonized and colonizer,' 'black and white,' 'resistors and collaborators,' and 'colonial and post-colonial.' She presents a more nuanced and complicated analysis of the ambiguous, and at times, contradictory, roles which many of the principal protagonists played in the unfolding drama of national building and modernization at both the local, national and global levels." - Allen Isaacman, African Studies Quarterly
"Tischler demonstrates very clearly how, as the impulses that first stimulated Federation began to wane, the Kariba Dam project supremely embodied the contradictory nature of development in late colonial Africa." - Kate Law, African Affairs