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Past Events

Fall 2012 Course

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CCS 3394: African and the Indian Ocean World

Hist. 3391 (Section 36969)/CCS 3394 (“Selected Topics”)
M/W 2:30-4:00 (AH 104)
Taught by Dr. Kairn Klieman, Department of History

This class will focus on the history of trade and contact within the Indian Ocean from the 4th to 19th centuries C.E. Particular foci will be on the role of Islam in creating this network and the variety of ways Africans contributed to the system over time. Africans participated in Indian Ocean world through the development of trade networks on the African continent, as free travelers on the high seas (merchants, sailors, holy persons) and as enslaved individuals (soldiers/mercenaries, concubines, laborers) in lands abroad. After a brief introduction to the origins and spread of Islam, the course will focus on the histories and legacies of various African communities in India, Sind (modern-day Pakistan), and Mesopotamia (Iran/Iraq), highlighting such phenomenon as the rise of Africans as political leaders on the Deccan plateau (India), the first mass uprising of African peoples against enslavement on the globe (Iran), and the role of Africans as religious experts/holy persons at various locations in the Indian Ocean Diaspora. A key text will be the book In An Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh, and the role of diasporic religious communities and religious syncretism (African indigenous religions, early Judaism, Islam, and Sufism) in creating global economic networks will be a key theme of the course.

Topics Include:

  • Africans and the Indian Ocean Trade Systems, 300-1900 CE
  • Islam as a World System
  • Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Swahili History
  • The African Diaspora in: India, Pakistan, Iraq, Oman and Kuwait