Abdul Sheriff is a professor of history at the University of Dar es Salaam and the author of The History and Conservation of Zanzibar Stone Town and coeditor of Zanzibar under Colonial Rule. He is also the principal curator of Zanzibar Museums.

Zanzibar Stone Town presents the problems of conservation in its most acute forms. Should it be fossilized for the tourists? Or should it grow for the benefit of the inhabitants? Can ways be found to accommodate conflicting social and economic pressures? For its size, Zanzibar, like Venice, occupies a remarkably large romantic space in world imagination. Swahili civilization on these spice islands goes back to the earliest centuries of the Islamic era.

Zanzibar stands at the center of the Indian Ocean system’s involvement in the history of Eastern Africa. This book follows on from the period covered in Abdul Sheriff’s acclaimed Slaves, Spices and Ivory in Zanzibar. The first part of the book shows the transition of Zanzibar from the commercial economy of the nineteenth century to the colonial economy of the twentieth century.

Slaves, Spices and Ivory in Zanzibar

Integration of an East African Commercial Empire into the World Economy, 1770–1873

By Abdul Sheriff

The rise of Zanzibar was based on two major economic transformations. Firstly slaves became used for producing cloves and grains for export. Previously the slaves themselves were exported. Secondly, there was an increased international demand for luxuries such as ivory. At the same time the price of imported manufactured gods was falling. Zanzibar took advantage of its strategic position to trade as far as the Great Lakes.

Athens and Jerusalem
For more than two thousand years, philosophers and theologians have wrestled with the irreconcilable opposition between Greek rationality (Athens) and biblical revelation (Jerusalem).

African Miracle, African Mirage
Transnational Politics and the Paradox of Modernization in Ivory Coast
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Ivory Coast was touted as an African miracle, a poster child for modernization and the ways that Western aid and multinational corporations would develop the continent.

South Sudan
A New History for a New Nation
Africa’s newest nation has a long history. Often considered remote and isolated from the rest of Africa, and usually associated with the violence of slavery and civil war, South Sudan has been an arena for a complex mixing of peoples, languages, and beliefs.

The Art of Life in South Africa
From 1952 to 1981, South Africa’s apartheid government ran an art school for the training of African art teachers at Indaleni, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal. The Art of Life in South Africa is the story of the students, teachers, art, and politics that circulated through a small school, housed in a remote former mission station.

Women in the Shadows
Gender, Puppets, and the Power of Tradition in Bali
Wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, connects a mythic past to the present through public ritual performance and is one of most important performance traditions in Bali. The dalang, or puppeteer, is revered in Balinese society as a teacher and spiritual leader.