The third edition of The Africa Institute’s annual country-focused season for 2022-2023 themed, Thinking the Archipelago: Africa’s Indian Ocean Islands,” is scheduled to be inaugurated in Sharjah, UAE between December 15-17, 2022. 

Starting in Fall 2022, the inaugural program is themed, Reimagining Mobilities/Immobilities in the Indian Ocean, which aims to highlight the multitudinous forces shaping Africa’s Indian Ocean rim, including overlapping forms of circulation, mobility, cultural production, ecological change, and cosmopolitanism through the lens of Africa’s islands.

Over the centuries, exchanges and interactions across the Indian Ocean created vibrant littoral societies with cosmopolitan identities.  Due to the prevailing circularities of people, objects, and ideas, the Indian Ocean has emerged as a bona fide host to a diversity of cultural exchanges, economic interactions, and human relations. Linguists, for instance, have illuminated the incredible fusions of languages and terminologies showing how Kiswahili had resulted from the marriage of Arabic and the eastern Bantu languages. 

Examples of fusions and microeconomies of cultural interactions abound throughout the ocean’s vast rim. Much like other maritime zones, mercantile, religious, and related translocal linkages have spawned various forms of mobilities and Immobilities in the Indian Ocean littoral societies. Yet, these human interactions have received relatively little attention in the Indian Ocean compared to its Atlantic and Pacific counterparts. Moreover, and in spite of the growing interest in Indian Ocean Studies, scholarship, with few exceptions, has deployed interpretive frameworks predicated on the Atlantic model. This tendency has generated marked limitations in examining patterns and processes that are uniquely molded within the Indian Ocean’s social, political, and historical specificities. 

This symposium, Reimagining Mobilities/Immobilities in the Indian Ocean, brings together scholars from diverse disciplines to address this prevailing lacuna. The symposium will be devoted to covering a vast array of historical and cultural phenomena within an overarching Indian Ocean particularism. From their divergent scholarly interests, the symposium’s participants will explore the ties that bind the overlapping forms of cosmopolitanism, circulation, inequality, and exploitation to elucidate the complex, changing processes of transaction and engagement. 

The multidisciplinary program will cover a vast array of forms of mobility and immobility in terms of these concepts’ metaphorical and theoretical significances. It will delve into topics such as slavery and abolition, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, diaspora, faith traditions, and resistance among other interactions paving the way for expanding the field beyond reductive frameworks all the while recognizing its connectivity and far-reaching impact in global history.  The presentations will highlight how the Indian Ocean is being reimagined as a critical space of social exchange and analysis, a process that has intensified in the twenty-first century as rivalries among global powers intensify and communication technologies proliferate.  

This symposium will be followed by a second rendition titled, Legacies of Race and Slavery In the Atlantic and Indian Oceans  as part of the four part conference series 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 program is free and open to the public. The registration details and program agenda will be announced shortly.

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 third edition of The Africa Institute’s annual country-focused season for 2022-2023 themed, “Thinking the Archipelago: Africa’s Indian Ocean Islands,” is scheduled to be inaugurated in Sharjah, UAE between December 15-17, 2022. 

The third edition of The Africa Institute’s annual country-focused season for 2022-2023 themed, Thinking the Archipelago: Africa’s Indian Ocean Islands,” is scheduled to be inaugurated in Sharjah, UAE between December 15-17, 2022. 

Starting in Fall 2022, the inaugural program is themed, Reimagining Mobilities/Immobilities in the Indian Ocean, which aims to highlight the multitudinous forces shaping Africa’s Indian Ocean rim, including overlapping forms of circulation, mobility, cultural production, ecological change, and cosmopolitanism through the lens of Africa’s islands.

Over the centuries, exchanges and interactions across the Indian Ocean created vibrant littoral societies with cosmopolitan identities.  Due to the prevailing circularities of people, objects, and ideas, the Indian Ocean has emerged as a bona fide host to a diversity of cultural exchanges, economic interactions, and human relations. Linguists, for instance, have illuminated the incredible fusions of languages and terminologies showing how Kiswahili had resulted from the marriage of Arabic and the eastern Bantu languages. 

Examples of fusions and microeconomies of cultural interactions abound throughout the ocean’s vast rim. Much like other maritime zones, mercantile, religious, and related translocal linkages have spawned various forms of mobilities and Immobilities in the Indian Ocean littoral societies. Yet, these human interactions have received relatively little attention in the Indian Ocean compared to its Atlantic and Pacific counterparts. Moreover, and in spite of the growing interest in Indian Ocean Studies, scholarship, with few exceptions, has deployed interpretive frameworks predicated on the Atlantic model. This tendency has generated marked limitations in examining patterns and processes that are uniquely molded within the Indian Ocean’s social, political, and historical specificities. 

This symposium, Reimagining Mobilities/Immobilities in the Indian Ocean, brings together scholars from diverse disciplines to address this prevailing lacuna. The symposium will be devoted to covering a vast array of historical and cultural phenomena within an overarching Indian Ocean particularism. From their divergent scholarly interests, the symposium’s participants will explore the ties that bind the overlapping forms of cosmopolitanism, circulation, inequality, and exploitation to elucidate the complex, changing processes of transaction and engagement. 

The multidisciplinary program will cover a vast array of forms of mobility and immobility in terms of these concepts’ metaphorical and theoretical significances. It will delve into topics such as slavery and abolition, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, diaspora, faith traditions, and resistance among other interactions paving the way for expanding the field beyond reductive frameworks all the while recognizing its connectivity and far-reaching impact in global history.  The presentations will highlight how the Indian Ocean is being reimagined as a critical space of social exchange and analysis, a process that has intensified in the twenty-first century as rivalries among global powers intensify and communication technologies proliferate.  

This symposium will be followed by a second rendition titled, Legacies of Race and Slavery In the Atlantic and Indian Oceans  as part of the four part conference series 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 program is free and open to the public. The registration details and program agenda will be announced shortly.

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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