The Indian Ocean: Oceanic Connections and the Creation of New Societies

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9781849044264: The Indian Ocean: Oceanic Connections and the Creation of New Societies
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The Indian Ocean was the first venue of global trade, connecting the Mediterranean and South China Sea. Inspired by the insights of Fernand Braudel, and by Michael Mollat, who saw it as 'a zone of encounters and contacts ... a privileged crossroads of culture,' this volume explores two inter-related themes. The first, on oceanic linkages, presents the diversity of the peoples who have traversed it and their relationships by tracing their tangible movements and connections. The second, on the creation of new societies, revisits better-known socio-historical phenomena --such as slavery, indentured labour, the Swahili language and Muslim charitywhich tie the genesis of these social formations to the seascape of an interconnected, transcultural ocean. The chapters offer a broad and diverse view of the mobile, transregional communities that comprise Indian Ocean society, while in-depth case studies allow students and specialists to see how individual research projects may contribute to developing a view of the Indian Ocean as a transcultural arena, one in which individual societies were and are shaped by their interactions with others from across the waters. This volume will be suitable for courses in the burgeoning fields of world history, transcultural anthropology and the Indian Ocean.

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Abdul Sheriff is Director of the Zanzibar Indian Ocean Research Institute and the author of Dhow Cultures of the Indian Ocean Cosmopolitanism, Commerce, and Islam, published by Hurst. Engseng Ho is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and author of The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean, which tells of how Muslim sailors, scholars, merchants and settlers from Yemen have made a place for themselves across the Indian Ocean over the last 500 years.

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