The Africa Institute presents its third symposium as part of its annual country-focused season —an annual initiative exploring one African country or African diaspora community through a range of scholarly and public programs. This symposium titled, Intertwined Ecologies and Interconnected Histories: The Indian Ocean Rim is the penultimate rendition as part of the multi-series conference themed, Thinking the Archipelago: Africa’s Indian Ocean Islands.

The Indian Ocean is the fastest-warming ocean in the world. Its rim, encompassing the eastern seaboard of Africa, the Persian Gulf, Peninsular India, the Southeast Asian mainland, and western Australia, is home to diverse, interconnected societies in rapidly urbanizing and fragile ecologies threatened by climate change. Islands and their inhabitants in the Indian Ocean face their own ecological crises as unsustainable models of economic growth, often driven by tourism, deplete natural resources steadily. Between the coasts and islands are the emerald waters of the ocean, in which endangered animals such as dugongs and giant tortoises coexist with thousands of smaller marine species from oysters to seagrass. The warming and rising waters of the Indian Ocean today threaten livelihoods and habitats as much as the future of entire species and complex ecologies from mangrove forests to salt marshes. Today’s profound ecological crises also remind us of the history of regional environmental challenges and the initiative and resilience of coastal communities in the face of catastrophe.

Moreover, as we broaden our conception of the “social” to embrace nonhuman actors, we must also deconstruct and decenter received ideas of environmental and/or climate justice from the North Atlantic world in ways that ensure equity, fairness, and agency for the communities that live by and from the sea. Bringing together environmental historians, anthropologists, climate scientists, and marine biologists, this symposium seeks to create a new dialogue between sub-spaces and historical regions along the Indian Ocean rim, notably across Indian Ocean Africa. Such a dialogue braids the “local” and “global” as interconnected scales on which just, shared environmental futures can emerge.   

This symposium builds on the first two renditions as part of this multi-series conference program for 2022-2023 that explores the Indian Ocean region. The first symposium titled, Reimagining Mobilities/Immobilities in the Indian Ocean (December,15-17 2022) followed by Legacies of Race and Slavery In the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (TBA, 2023) brings together scholars, writers, artists, and activists from diverse disciplines to address and highlight the multitudinous forces shaping Africa’s Indian Ocean rim.

The final symposium of this season is titled, Colorful Threads: The Interwoven Worlds of Art and Culture in the Western Indian Ocean 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.

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 third symposium as part of its annual country-focused season —an annual initiative exploring one African country or African diaspora community through a range of scholarly and public programs. This symposium titled, Intertwined Ecologies and Interconnected Histories: The Indian Ocean Rim is the penultimate rendition as part of the multi-series conference themed, Thinking the Archipelago: Africa’s Indian Ocean Islands.

The Africa Institute presents its third symposium as part of its annual country-focused season —an annual initiative exploring one African country or African diaspora community through a range of scholarly and public programs. This symposium titled, Intertwined Ecologies and Interconnected Histories: The Indian Ocean Rim is the penultimate rendition as part of the multi-series conference themed, Thinking the Archipelago: Africa’s Indian Ocean Islands.

The Indian Ocean is the fastest-warming ocean in the world. Its rim, encompassing the eastern seaboard of Africa, the Persian Gulf, Peninsular India, the Southeast Asian mainland, and western Australia, is home to diverse, interconnected societies in rapidly urbanizing and fragile ecologies threatened by climate change. Islands and their inhabitants in the Indian Ocean face their own ecological crises as unsustainable models of economic growth, often driven by tourism, deplete natural resources steadily. Between the coasts and islands are the emerald waters of the ocean, in which endangered animals such as dugongs and giant tortoises coexist with thousands of smaller marine species from oysters to seagrass. The warming and rising waters of the Indian Ocean today threaten livelihoods and habitats as much as the future of entire species and complex ecologies from mangrove forests to salt marshes. Today’s profound ecological crises also remind us of the history of regional environmental challenges and the initiative and resilience of coastal communities in the face of catastrophe.

Moreover, as we broaden our conception of the “social” to embrace nonhuman actors, we must also deconstruct and decenter received ideas of environmental and/or climate justice from the North Atlantic world in ways that ensure equity, fairness, and agency for the communities that live by and from the sea. Bringing together environmental historians, anthropologists, climate scientists, and marine biologists, this symposium seeks to create a new dialogue between sub-spaces and historical regions along the Indian Ocean rim, notably across Indian Ocean Africa. Such a dialogue braids the “local” and “global” as interconnected scales on which just, shared environmental futures can emerge.   

This symposium builds on the first two renditions as part of this multi-series conference program for 2022-2023 that explores the Indian Ocean region. The first symposium titled, Reimagining Mobilities/Immobilities in the Indian Ocean (December,15-17 2022) followed by Legacies of Race and Slavery In the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (TBA, 2023) brings together scholars, writers, artists, and activists from diverse disciplines to address and highlight the multitudinous forces shaping Africa’s Indian Ocean rim.

The final symposium of this season is titled, Colorful Threads: The Interwoven Worlds of Art and Culture in the Western Indian Ocean 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.

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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