An innovative collection of essays that foregrounds specific cargoes as a means to understand connectivity and mobility across the Indian Ocean world.
While scholars have long appreciated that trade and commerce are central to understanding the connectivity and mobility that underpin complex human experience in the Indian Ocean region, studies of merchant and commercial activities have paid little attention to the role that numerous and diverse 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 from a multidisciplinary perspective, this book makes an important and innovative contribution to Indian Ocean studies. It 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 the editor 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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