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Relating Muscat to Mombasa

Spatial Tropes in the Kinship Narratives of an Extended Family Network in Oman

Zulfikar Hirji

This study calls for a reintegration of space and relatedness in anthropological theories of social formation. It is based on the examination of spatial tropes in the kinship narratives and discursive practices of an extended Swahili-speaking family network historically located between Oman and coastal East Africa.

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Rheumatic Irony

Questions of Agency and Self-deception as Refracted through the Art of Living with Spirits

Michael Lambek

The story of a young man from the Western Indian Ocean island of Mayotte who was prevented from a career in the French army by an illness sent by a spirit who possesses his mother inspires reflection on the nature of agency. I suggest that spirit possession and the ill- nesses it produces are intrinsically ironic. The prevalence of irony implies not that we should disregard agency but that perhaps we should not take it too literally.

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Freedom Papers Hidden in His Shoe

Navigating Emancipation across Imperial Boundaries

Sue Peabody

A microhistorical inquiry into the life of Furcy, a man held in slavery in the French Indian Ocean colony of Île Bourbon (today Réunion), sheds light on shifting French policies and practices regarding race and slavery from the Old Regime to the general emancipation of 1848. The mobility of two enslaved domestic servants, Furcy and his mother Madeleine, who traveled between Bengal, Île Bourbon, Mauritius, and continental France, challenged French and British understandings of who could be legitimately held as slaves. Furcy's tenacious battle to win recognition of his freedom in multiple jurisdictions is a forgotten precursor to many international disputes over the juridical principle of Free Soil in the age of Emancipation.

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Selective Empathy

Workers, Colonial Subjects, and the Affective Politics of French Romantic Socialism

Naomi J. Andrews

Abstract

During the 1830s and 1840s, romantic socialists in France wrote about three subjugated groups in the French empire: metropolitan workers, slaves in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean colonies, and Algerian civilians. Although these three groups ostensibly shared similar conditions of deprivation and violent treatment at the hands of the French state, socialists depicted them in importantly different terms, with the effect of humanizing workers and slaves, while dehumanizing the Algerians suffering French conquest and colonization. This article explores these presentations and examines the way they worked together to champion the socialist priority, the emergent working classes of the July Monarchy, and to indirectly endorse the settler colonial project in Algeria.

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Kate McDonald

A major intervention of mobility studies has been to suggest a new framework for the writing of history. Recent studies of diasporic Indian Ocean communities and trans-Pacific labor migration have shown that mobility history can open the door to histories of mobile subjects rather than static nations and, in the process, lead the way toward a transmodal and transnational research agenda. This article considers what the history of mobility has to offer to the modern history of transport and social life in the Japanese archipelago, which has most often been used to tell the story of the development of the modern Japanese nation-state.

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David Graeber

Many aspects of culture that we are used to interpreting in essentialist or even tacitly evolutionist terms might better be seen as acts of self-conscious rejection, or as formed through a schizmogenetic process of mutual definition against the values of neighbouring societies. What have been called 'heroic societies', for instance, seem to have formed in conscious rejection of the values of urban civilizations of the Bronze Age. A consideration of the origins and early history of the Malagasy suggests a conscious rejection of the world of the Islamic ecumene of the Indian Ocean, effecting a social order that could justifiably be described as self-consciously anti-heroic.

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William F.S. Miles

On 17 April 2008, at the age of ninety-four, the foremost Black French intellectual-cum-politician of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries passed away. Born in the northwestern fishing village of Basse Pointe on the southeastern Caribbean island of Martinique on 26 June 1913, Aimé Césaire rose from humble beginnings to become a giant in the annals of colonial and postcolonial francophone literature. As the holder of several elected offices, from city mayor of the capital of Martinique to representative in the National Assembly of France, he was also a significant political actor. He was largely responsible for the legislation that, following World War II, elevated four of France’s “Old Colonies” in the West Indies and Indian Ocean into full French states (départements). A dozen years later he founded a political party that would struggle to roll back the very assimilating, deculturalizing processes that statehood (départementalisation) unleashed.

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“Nowhere near Somalia, Mom”

On containerizing maritime piracy and being good men

Adrienne Mannov

I met Hardik, a marine engineer, in 2012 on board a container ship trading in the Indian Ocean while doing research on merchant seafarers and contemporary maritime piracy. In the process of a piracy attack, seafarers can be subjected to

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Frances Steel

on the Atlantic and Indian oceans, notably with respect to the imprint of social class and imperial formalities. 7 Were these divisions as marked in the interwar decades too, or did the heightened mobility witnessed in this period generate something

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Ocean, Motion, Emotion

Mobilities and Mobilizations in the Pacific

Matt Matsuda

Australian Historical Association Conference, the University of Wollongong, July 2013. 2 Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean