History of the Automobile: essay on Kenda Mutongi’s Matatu

Need help with my Literature question – I’m studying for my class.

Choose one of the prompts below for your second four-page essay on Kenda Mutongi’s Matatu. Include a combination of specific examples from the book and your analysis of that evidence in light of the prompt and what you’ve learned in the course so far.

Whichever prompt you choose, be sure to cite specific evidence from throughout the book. Neither of these questions can be adequately answered from a single chapter or passage. Your essay will be evaluated for its use of the entire book. You are welcome to refer to other course materials if that would be helpful to your argument, but this isn’t a requirement and shouldn’t crowd out your focus on Matatu. Use of online sources is not allowed.

Make sure that you include a thesis statement in your essay’s introduction. Also be sure that your conclusion and your introduction are consistent with the thesis you’re advancing. Papers must use footnoted, Chicago Style citations. They must also be in 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides. I take “page” to mean a full page.

1. Should historians interpret Nairobi’s matatus primarily as a force for democratization, personal autonomy, and shared prosperity, or for disorder and chaos? Can they be both?

2. Mutongi argues that modern Nairobi and the matatu are “too mutually dependent, too tightly intertwined” to be separated, and that the matatu “helped coalesce the city and the nation.” Does she make a convincing case that this informal transport network, which was previously all but ignored by academic historians, was in fact critical to the coalescence — not only of modern Nairobi — but of the entire Kenyan nation? Or should she have made a more limited, less dramatic claim for the matatu’s significance?