Western Indian Ocean

Gudrun Dahl (Gudrun.Dahl@TELE.SU.SE)
Mon, 12 Jun 1995 11:39:13 +0200

At the Department of Social Anthropology of Stockholm University a new group
project has been started on the topic of "The Northwestern Indian Ocean As a
Cultural Corridor". The project will encompass a number of subprojects
relating to two kinds of diasporas resulting from the millenium-old trading
relations between Eastern Africa, the Horn, Arabia, the Persian Gulf and the
western coast of India. These are the settlements of the descendants of
ex-slaves and of transcontinental diasporas of traders and specialists in
maritime occupations. The focus is on the traces of these historical
relations in terms of present-day conceptions of people in countries across
the sea and of contemporary ethnic discourse. Particularly, the studies will
examine what role historically derived, collective stereotypes and
self-stereotypes as wel as collectivized versions of the past, play in
ongoing contacts between categories of people within the region. Among the
presently planned sub-projects are: "African, Indian, Arab, Swahili - Ways
of defining identities and constructing histories on the East African Coast"
(Karin Norman), "The descendants of African slaves in Goa today" (Charles
Camara), "Gender and ethnicity in Polyethnic Oman" (Eva Kodrou), "The
invisibility of an old region: constraints to scholarly understanding"
(Gudrun Dahl) , "The architectural heritage of Zanzibar Town" (Minou Fuglesang).

The group is interested in getting in contact with other people interested
in the trans-oceanic relations in the Northwestern Indian Ocean, coastal
diasporas, trading contacts etc. linking Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Southern
Arabia, The Gulf Countries, Iran, Pakistan and India primarily with an eye
to the contemporary importance of history. We are also grateful for hints on
literature, thesises etc.

Thanks in advance,

Professor Gudrun Dahl