“This volume addresses an important and thus far somewhat understudied topical focus in the field of Indian Ocean studies: the material things that actually traversed the ocean as shipments facilitating and realizing trade and creating various kinds of (often long-sustained) meaningful interaction on different littorals. The result is a unique and stimulating selection of carefully worked case studies, which together make a significant contribution to the growing field of Indian Ocean studies.”
Kai Kresse, vice-director at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, professor at Freie Universität Berlin, and author of Swahili Muslim Publics and Postcolonial Experience
“Burkhard Schnepel and Julia Verne’s Cargoes in Motion is a wide-ranging, thought-provoking, and timely addition to Indian Ocean studies. Contributors to the volume employ diverse approaches to material exchanges, including new lines of inquiry and the critical reconsideration of well-known objects of exchange. An innovative collection that makes important conceptual and empirical contributions to multiple fields, Cargoes in Motion deserves a wide audience.”
Jeremy Prestholdt, author of Domesticating the World: African Consumerism and the Genealogies of Globalization and Icons of Dissent: The Global Resonance of Che, Marley, Tupac, and Bin Laden
An innovative collection of essays that foregrounds specific cargoes as a means to understand connectivity and mobility across the Indian Ocean world.
Scholars have long appreciated the centrality of trade and commerce in understanding the connectivity and mobility that underpin human experience in the Indian Ocean region. But studies of merchant and commercial activities have paid little attention to the role that cargoes have played in connecting the disparate parts of this vast oceanic world. Drawing from the work of anthropologists, geographers, and historians, Cargoes in Motion tells the story of how material objects have informed and continue to shape processes of exchange across the Indian Ocean.
By following selected cargoes through both space and time, this book makes an important and innovative contribution to Indian Ocean studies. The multidisciplinary approach deepens our understanding of the nature and dynamics of the Indian Ocean world by showing how transoceanic connectivity has been driven not only by economic, social, cultural, and political factors but also by the materiality of the objects themselves.
Burkhard Schnepel is a professor of social anthropology at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. From 2013 to 2020, he was head of the Connectivity in Motion: Port Cities of the Indian Ocean fellows group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. He is the author of The King’s Three Bodies: Essays on Kingship and Ritual and a coeditor of Travelling Pasts: The Politics of Cultural Heritage in the Indian Ocean World. More info →
Julia Verne is a professor of cultural geography at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, where she leads a research group on mobility, materiality, and maritimity, with a focus on the western Indian Ocean. Her publications include Living Translocality: Space, Culture, and Economy in Contemporary Swahili Trade and several articles discussing the Indian Ocean as a relational space. More info →
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Between 1600 and 1800, the promise of fresh food attracted more than seven hundred English, French, and Dutch vessels to Madagascar. Throughout this period, European ships spent months at sea in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, but until now scholars have not fully examined how crews were fed during these long voyages. Without sustenance from Madagascar, European traders would have struggled to transport silver to Asia and spices back to Europe.
Between 1500 and 1850, European traders shipped hundreds of thousands of African, Indian, Malagasy, and Southeast Asian slaves to ports throughout the Indian Ocean world. The activities of the British, Dutch, French, and Portuguese traders who operated in the Indian Ocean demonstrate that European slave trading was not confined largely to the Atlantic but must now be viewed as a truly global phenomenon.
Pearls, People, and Power is the first book to examine the trade, distribution, production, and consumption of pearls in the Indian Ocean over more than five centuries. Encompassing the geographical, cultural, and thematic diversity of Indian Ocean pearling, it deepens our appreciation of the historical dynamics of Indian Ocean worlds.
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