Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere

By Prita Meier | Go to book overview

NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1. I draw on studies that consider how mobile objects instantiate multiple experiences across different societies. See especially Appadurai, Social Life of Things; Clifford, Predicament of Culture; Flood, Objects of Translation; Myers, ed., Empire of Things; Spyer, Border Fetishisms; Thomas, Entangled Objects. I am also inspired by Ikem Okoye’s analysis of the interpenetration of European and local building technologies in nineteenth-century southern Nigeria. Okoye, “‘Hideous Architecture.’”

2. For an excellent overview of the varied positions taken up by scholars often identified as new materialists see Coole and Frost, New Materialisms.

3. A perfect example of this trend in art history is Hunter and Lucchini, “Clever Object.”

4. Blier, Anatomy of Architecture.

5. Dean, Culture of Stone.

6. Doris, Vigilant Things.

7. Pietz, “Problem of the Fetish”; Pels, “Spirit of the Matter.”

8. Pietz, “Problem of the Fetish,” 7.

9. Today only the denigration of this transcultural materiality remains. The fetish was reduced to an “African” thing of primitive superstition in the racist imaginary of Europe from the eighteenth century onward.

10. This book is very much informed by Walter Mignolo’s concept of “border thinking,” which allows us to move beyond the local-versus-global binary in our understanding of the cultural dimensions of globalization. Mignolo, Local Histories/Global Designs.

11. Social, political, and ideological differences do divide the diverse Muslims living around the Indian Ocean. For example, contestations between different schools and sects of Islam are very much part of the Muslim experience on the Swahili coast. Yet, the universalism of Islam remains a powerful unifying ideal.

-191-

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Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction - The Place in-between 1
  • One - Difference Set in Stone Place and Race in Mombasa 26
  • Two - A "Curious" Minaret Sacred Place and the Politics of Islam 66
  • Three - Architecture out of Place the Politics of Style in Zanzibar 102
  • Four - At Home in the World Living with Transoceanic Things 139
  • Conclusion - Trading Places 179
  • Appendix 189
  • Notes 191
  • Bibliography 211
  • Index 221
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