The Africa Institute presents its second symposium titled, Legacies of Race and Slavery In the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as part of the third edition of its country-focused season highlighting the Indian Ocean region.

Recent calls for racial justice in the United States have resonated with other parts of the world. In particular, there is a growing recognition that colorism and racism are not unique to the Atlantic world. Across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, scholars and non-scholars alike are excavating legacies of slavery and racialized forms of discrimination based on color and ethnicity that go beyond the encounter with European colonialism. Yet, there are also striking divergences in the historical experience of slavery and servitude in the “Old World”: the centrality of the household economy and kinship relations, not profit-generating mercantilism, appears to lie at the heart of forced labor regimes in societies across the Indian Ocean rim. Moreover, in these societies, most notably in the Arab world, slaves from the Caucasus and the Balkans existed alongside those from Western India and the Swahili Coast. There are, in other words, vital differences in the role of slaves and their social status as well as the racialized hierarchies in which they found themselves places. 

This project seeks to make sense of the similarities and differences between the historical legacies of race and slavery in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. We wish to assess what the idea of racial justice might look like via a comparative lens. Moving beyond the disciplinary silos in which knowledge production typically takes place, we hope to stimulate a new scholarly dialogue between specialists working on key sites in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds. In this project, we solicit answers to a series of critical questions: How does the memory of slavery and/or servitude differ in the Indian Ocean in comparison with the Atlantic world? To what extent does color or colorism matter to legacies of slavery today beyond world regions dominated by state-sponsored discourses of “whiteness”? What might the Indian Ocean contribute to our existing understanding of race in the modern world? How might scholars play an engaged role in educating the wider public about the pernicious role of race and slavery outside the Atlantic world? 

The conference is convened by leading scholars namely Jeremy Prestholdt, Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego; Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf, Professor of Anthropology, Georgetown University in Qatar; and Uday Chandra, Assistant Professor of Government, Georgetown University in Qatar. This segment of the multi-interdisciplinary conference series follows the inaugural and first symposium titled, Reimagining Mobilities/Immobilities in the Indian Ocean held in December 2022 in Sharjah UAE.

 The dates and program agenda for this conference will be announced. 

This program is free and open to the public. The health and safety of guests and participants are of utmost priority to The Africa Institute. All COVID-19 precautionary measures will be in place on the day of the program.

 

The Africa Institute presents its second symposium titled, Legacies of Race and Slavery In the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as part of the third edition of its country-focused season highlighting the Indian Ocean region.

The Africa Institute presents its second symposium titled, Legacies of Race and Slavery In the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as part of the third edition of its country-focused season highlighting the Indian Ocean region.

Recent calls for racial justice in the United States have resonated with other parts of the world. In particular, there is a growing recognition that colorism and racism are not unique to the Atlantic world. Across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, scholars and non-scholars alike are excavating legacies of slavery and racialized forms of discrimination based on color and ethnicity that go beyond the encounter with European colonialism. Yet, there are also striking divergences in the historical experience of slavery and servitude in the “Old World”: the centrality of the household economy and kinship relations, not profit-generating mercantilism, appears to lie at the heart of forced labor regimes in societies across the Indian Ocean rim. Moreover, in these societies, most notably in the Arab world, slaves from the Caucasus and the Balkans existed alongside those from Western India and the Swahili Coast. There are, in other words, vital differences in the role of slaves and their social status as well as the racialized hierarchies in which they found themselves places. 

This project seeks to make sense of the similarities and differences between the historical legacies of race and slavery in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. We wish to assess what the idea of racial justice might look like via a comparative lens. Moving beyond the disciplinary silos in which knowledge production typically takes place, we hope to stimulate a new scholarly dialogue between specialists working on key sites in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds. In this project, we solicit answers to a series of critical questions: How does the memory of slavery and/or servitude differ in the Indian Ocean in comparison with the Atlantic world? To what extent does color or colorism matter to legacies of slavery today beyond world regions dominated by state-sponsored discourses of “whiteness”? What might the Indian Ocean contribute to our existing understanding of race in the modern world? How might scholars play an engaged role in educating the wider public about the pernicious role of race and slavery outside the Atlantic world? 

The conference is convened by leading scholars namely Jeremy Prestholdt, Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego; Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf, Professor of Anthropology, Georgetown University in Qatar; and Uday Chandra, Assistant Professor of Government, Georgetown University in Qatar. This segment of the multi-interdisciplinary conference series follows the inaugural and first symposium titled, Reimagining Mobilities/Immobilities in the Indian Ocean held in December 2022 in Sharjah UAE.

 The dates and program agenda for this conference will be announced. 

This program is free and open to the public. The health and safety of guests and participants are of utmost priority to The Africa Institute. All COVID-19 precautionary measures will be in place on the day of the program.

 

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