From: "Thomas G. Vernet"
Date: Sat, November 27, 2010 4:42 am
CALL FOR PAPERS
SLAVE TRADE, SLAVERY AND TRANSITION TO INDENTURE IN MAURITIUS AND THE
11 April – 13 April 2011
An international conference hosted by the Truth and Justice Commission
and the University of Mauritius, in collaboration with the Centre
d’Études des Mondes Africains (CNRS - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Location: University of Mauritius, Reduit, Mauritius.
This international conference has been initiated by the Truth and
Justice Commission, Mauritius, with the aim of bringing together
scholars who have undertaken recent research on slave trade and slavery
related to Mauritius and the Mascarenes, as well as members of the Truth
and Justice Commission who have been undertaking an evaluation of the
historiography of slavery and slave trade, in light of the mandate of
the Commission. The United Nations has also declared the year 2011 as
the “International Year for People of African Descent”.
The Conference is particularly interested in papers which shed new light
on the impact of slavery and slave trade on these societies, as well as
papers that use new sources or review the existing historiography. The
Conference would like to promote reflection that emphasizes the place of
the Mascarene in the wider Indian Ocean basin, through links with
Africa, Madagascar, India, South-East Asia, or the Atlantic economy.
Activists and community based organizations based in Mauritius are also
The conference will also reflect on memorial aspects and how the slave
trade should be remembered. The focus of research having been on
neglected aspects of the French slave trade and slavery in Isle de
France/Mauritius, participants whose focus of interest is Mauritius will
be particularly welcome.
Some of the questions we would like papers to discuss include:
Slave Trade: Given that the bulk of our evidences on the French slave
trade are in France and have yet to be fully researched by scholars,
many questions about the slave trade have remained unanswered, the most
important of which is how many slaves actually came to Mauritius? What
was the volume of the slave trade to Mauritius, Réunion and the
Seychelles? What connections existed between slave trading companies and
individual armateurs and relations in Mauritius and the other islands of
the Mascarenes? How far did the profits of the slave trade serve to
boost the economic development of Mauritius (as well as Bourbon and the
Seychelles)? What networks were created in the Indian Ocean as a result
of the slave trade?
Slavery: What was the contribution of slaves to the economic, political
and social life of Mauritius in the French period? Where did slaves
actually come from? What part did ethnicity play in allocation of tasks
in the work place? What were the material, moral and psychological
condition of slaves in Mauritius, Réunion, and Seychelles, during the
French period? What was the legacy of slavery? How should slavery be
Forced labour, unfree labour and indenture What was the situation of
ex-slaves after abolition? Did it bring freedom? How were the new
systems of labour put in place? How did the transition from slave to
‘free’ labour take place? How did the institutions created under slavery
evolve after abolition?
Main themes of the conference
1. Slavery in Ile de France, new directions
2. Converging historiographies: the cases of Bourbon/Réunion and the
3. Slave Trade connections: the Mascarenes at the heart of Indian
4. Agents and capital in the slave trade
5. From slavery to indentured labour
6. The Legacy of Slavery
Contributors may submit their proposals to be presented in a maximum of
20 minutes. These will be combined into sessions of four papers.
Titles and abstracts are due by 15 December 2010.
To apply, please send the following:
- Abstract (maximum of 200 words)
- Short, one-page, curriculum vitae.
Conference languages are English and French.
All proposals will be reviewed and decisions will be made by 15 January
According to contributors’ specific situations, travel expenses may
partly be funded.
Please send your participation and abstract as an attached Word file to
both the Conveners:
Vijaya Teelock: firstname.lastname@example.org and Thomas Vernet:
and/or to the
Research Coordinator, Truth and Justice Commission, at email@example.com
Truth and Justice Commission
Vijaya Teelock (Associate Professor, University of Mauritius and
Vice-Chairperson, Truth and Justice Commission)
Thomas Vernet (Associate Professor, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
APPEL A CONTRIBUTIONS
Traite, esclavage et transition vers l’engagisme à l’Île Maurice et aux
11 Avril – 13 Avril 2011
Commission Vérité et Justice / Truth and Justice Commission
University of Mauritius
Centre d’Études des Mondes Africains (CNRS – Université Paris 1
Lieu : Université de Maurice, Réduit, Île Maurice.
Ce colloque a été initié par la Commission Vérité et Justice (Île
Maurice), afin de réunir les chercheurs ayant entrepris des travaux
récents sur la traite négrière et l’esclavage liés à l’Île Maurice et
aux Mascareignes, ainsi que les membres de la Commission Vérité et
Justice ayant entrepris une réévaluation de l’historiographie de
l’esclavage et de la traite, en accord avec le mandat de la Commission.
Les Nations-Unies ont aussi déclaré l’année 2011 « Année Internationale
des Personnes d’Ascendance Africaine ».
L’intérêt de cette conférence porte particulièrement sur les
communications offrant un éclairage nouveau sur l’impact de l’esclavage
et de la traite négrière sur ces sociétés, ainsi que sur les
communications reposant sur une documentation nouvelle ou revisitant
l’historiographie existante. Le colloque souhaite également promouvoir
une réflexion soulignant la place des Mascareignes dans le bassin de
l’océan Indien, par le truchement des liens avec l’Afrique, Madagascar,
l’Inde, l’Asie du Sud-Est ou l’économie atlantique. Les Forces Vives ou
les organisations communautaires de Maurice sont également invitées.
En outre, le colloque abordera les questions liées à la mémoire et la
manière dont la traite négrière devrait être remémorée. Les recherches
opérées par la Commission Justice et Vérité s’étant focalisées sur des
aspects négligés de la traite négrière et de l’esclavage à l’Isle de
France/Maurice, toute participation ayant comme centre d’intérêt l’Île
Maurice est particulièrement bienvenue.
Les communications porteront principalement (mais non exclusivement) sur
les problématiques suivantes :
Traite négrière : Étant donné que l’essentiel de la documentation sur la
traite négrière française dans l’océan Indien se trouve en France et
qu’elle demeure encore peu étudiée, de nombreuses zones d’ombre
persistent ; la plus importante étant : combien d’esclaves arrivèrent à
l’Île Maurice ? Quel fut le volume de la traite vers Maurice, la
Réunion/Bourbon et les Seychelles ? Quels liens existèrent entre d’une
part les compagnies engagées dans le trafic d’esclaves et, d’autre part,
les armateurs individuels et les familles établis à l’Isle de France et
dans les autres îles de l’archipel des Mascareignes ? Jusqu'à quel point
les profits émanant de la traite contribuèrent-ils au développement
économique de l’Isle de France (de même qu’à la Réunion/Bourbon et aux
Seychelles) ? Quels réseaux furent créés dans l’océan Indien du fait de
la traite négrière ?
Esclavage : Quelle fut la contribution des esclaves dans la vie
économique, politique et sociale de l’Île Maurice pendant la période
française ? D’où vinrent vraiment les esclaves ? Quel fut le rôle de
l’ethnicité dans l’attribution du travail ? Quelles furent les
conditions matérielles, morales, et psychologiques des esclaves à
Maurice, la Réunion et aux Seychelles durant la période française?
Comment remémorer l’esclavage aujourd’hui ?
Travail forcé, travail non-libre, et engagisme : Quelle fut la situation
des ex-esclaves après l’abolition ? Apporta-t-elle la liberté ? Comment
les nouveaux systèmes de travail furent-ils mis en place ? Comment prit
place la transition entre l’esclavage et le travail « libre » ? Après
l’abolition, comment évoluèrent les institutions mises en place sous
Principaux axes de la conférence
L’esclavage à l’Isle de France : nouvelles directions
Des historiographies convergentes : les cas de Bourbon/La Réunion et des
Les connexions de la traite négrière : les Mascareignes au cœur des
réseaux de l’océan Indien
La traite négrière : agents et capitaux du négoce français
De l’esclavage à l’engagisme
L’héritage de l’esclavage
Procédure de sélection des projets de communications :
Les communications (présentées en 20 mn) seront regroupées en sessions
comportant quatre communications chacune.
Les titres et les résumés sont attendus au plus tard le 15 Décembre 2010.
Merci de bien vouloir envoyer les documents suivants :
- Titre de l’exposé
- Résumé (200 mots maximum)
- Bref Curriculum Vitae (une page maximum).
Les langues utilisées pour la conférence sont l’anglais et le français.
Toutes les propositions seront examinées et les réponses seront envoyées
au plus tard le 15 Janvier 2011.
Une aide au transport et/ou à l’hébergement pourra être accordée en
fonction de la situation personnelle des participants.
Veuillez envoyer votre projet de communication en fichier attaché Word
aux deux responsables :
Vijaya Teelock : firstname.lastname@example.org et Thomas Vernet :
et/ou à la
Coordinatrice des Recherches, Commission Vérité et Justice :
Coordinateurs de la conférence
Commission Vérité et Justice
Vijaya Teelock (professeur associé, Université de Maurice et
Vice-Présidente, Commission Vérité et Justice)
Thomas Vernet (maître de conférences, Université Paris 1
Panthéon-Sorbonne / CEMAf)
November 29, 2010
From: "Thomas G. Vernet"
November 17, 2010
If you are in DC tomorrow, you'll want to check this out:
Can the Gulf be Green?
Environmental Challenges and Opportunities in the Arabian Gulf
Dr. Mohamed Raouf
Gulf Research Center
Thursday, 18 November 2010, 3:00-4:30pm
The Arabian Gulf countries face an array of environmental problems ranging from chronic air pollution to increasing water scarcity. The petroleum production that has fuelled their phenomenal economic growth also damages their marine ecosystems and contributes to climate changes that threaten the region with stronger storms and higher seas. One meter of sea-level rise could submerge 14% of Bahrain. Can the Gulf countries move towards more sustainable development patterns? Could Islam provide them with ethical guidance toward a more sustainable future? Please join us for a discussion with Dr. Mohamed Raouf of the Gulf Research Center.
Dr. Mohamed Raouf is Program Manager and Senior Environment Researcher at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. Dr. Raouf has been a lecturer of Environmental Accounting and Economics and a consultant for the World Bank, the Ministry of Industry in Egypt, and the Ministry of Planning in Yemen. He helped formulate the National Environmental Action Plan of Egypt as well as Egypt’s Clean Development Mechanism Strategy and the Red Sea Sustainable Tourism Initiative. In addition, he served on the project team that prepared the Green Gulf Report (2006) and was a Bapetco-Shell Egypt Sustainable Development Team Member. He received his PhD in environmental sciences from Ain Shams University in Egypt.
Please RSVP to Mr. Corey Sobel at email@example.com.
The Stimson Center is located at
1111 19th St NW, 12th Floor
Washington DC, 20036
November 15, 2010
Good morning AzanianSea readers! Ralph over at BabKubwa just dropped this in my maibox this morning: A remix of Goapele's Closer with lyrics in Kiswahili and a chorus sung by Grace Matatu. Big up Ralph! Listen. Enjoy. Peace.
November 12, 2010
Mwenda Ntarnagwi’s talk at Northwestern University on Monday Oct. 25, 2010 reminded me of another similarly engaged work of scholarship: Gerald Horne’s book “Mau Mau in Harlem”. Horne devotes a significant section of the book to Malcolm’s linkage of the revolutionary black struggle in America during the 1960s with the Land and Freedom Armies of Kenya (the so-called “Mau Mau”) who retreated into the highland forests and engaged in guerilla warfare against white settlers and their black collaborators. The ideological nodes connecting these diverse expressions of liberation have given birth to the term “black internationalism” in the extant historical literature.
Ntarangwi drew our attention to other points on this node in his talk on “Globalization, Hip Hop and Youth Agency in East Africa”. Drawing on stories of survival and livelihood amidst the fallout from World Bank and IMF programs of neo-liberal structural adjustment, Ntarangwi detailed how economic liberalization in East Africa created both severe socio-economic dislocation and the opportunity to access Western pop culture on newly unprecedented levels through circulated tapes and videos of hip hop films such as “Breaking 2” and the music of Michael Jackson and other eighties and nineties African American pop stars. Hip hop was part of a whole generation of youths’ attempts to craft an East African modernity in response to chronic underemployment, the movement of immigrants into new economic niches, and newly available communication technologies—a situation, Ntarangwi pointed out, not unlike the conditions which gave birth to hip hop in the South Bronx.
Ntarangwi played samples of the song “Uhiki” or “Wedding” by the Kenyan artist Hardstone, featuring rapping in Kikuyu over a sample of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” and Swaleh Jay’s remix of “Ice Ice Baby” in Swahili, which itself infamously sampled Queen and “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen. “Under Pressure” was released only a year before “Sexual Healing”, thus revealing some of the hybrid geneaologies of hip hop in East Africa and its emergence out of 80s and 90s American popular cultural forms.
Hip hop in East Africa, according to Ntarangwi, is a particular mode of youth political expression that emerged to allow African youth to become more active participants in culture making and astute critics of the political order by making sounds and messages from global black culture part of their local cultural repertoires. For example, in crafting a political approach to their music, groups like Kalamashaka in Kenya explicitly reappropriated the sights and sounds of African liberationists through the lens of black internationalism.
In their song “Ni Wakati” Kalamashaka sample Malcolm’s famous speech “Message to the Grassroots”, which speaks of Mau Mau as “black revolutionaries in Africa”. In Kenya, where the Mau Mau fighters were not even acknowledged as part of the force which helped to liberate Kenya after independence, and where their protests over land were met with silence and marginalization, Kalamashaka’s songs and messages were an important part of rehabilitating the image and message of Mau Mau fighters. In contrast to the neocolonial collaboration of Kenya’s ruling class, the Mau Mau symbolized to Kalamashaka the same values that politically conscious East African hip hop embodied—speaking from the margins, witnessing truth to power, and calling for a radical return to social justice and redistribution of wealth as well as access to education.
Another important node in East African hip hop’s links to black internationalism and the black diaspora goes through the Black Panthers. In 1969, Pete O’Neal, the chairman of the Kansas City Chapter of the Black Panther Party was arrested for allegedly transporting a gun across state lines. O’Neal resolved not to become another victim of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s covert and illegal war against the Panthers and fled to Algeria and then Tanzania with his wife Charlotte. In Arusha, Tanzania, they founded the United African Alliance Community Center in the spirit of Black Panther activism, offering food, education and services to the community free of charge. In 2008, while visiting with a group of students from Howard University, we recorded a song in UAACC’s homemade studio with a producer/emcee who Pete and Charlotte have helped to nurture. The Center, I learned, also has a close relationship with Kalamashaka (now known as Ukoo Flani), and has nurtured the talent of Tanzanian singer Nakaaya Sumari, who was at one point married to M1 (they have since separated). Nakaaya met M1 while working on “Mr. Politician”, her popular critique of vote-seeking vultures in East Africa.
Ntarangwi played several other hip hop critiques of corrupt politicians. In Tanzania, where President Jakaya Kikwete also appears poised to win re-election despite critiques that he made extravagant campaign promises, the relevance of Tanzanian rapper Profesa Jay’s critique of Tanzanian politics is especially germane. In “Ndio Mzee” (Yes Sir) and its follow up “Kikao Cha Dharura” (Emergency Meeting) Profesa Jay sketches a political speech made by an aspiring office-seeker in which he promises, among other things, to end poverty, establish schools on the moon, and give every member of the police force a helicopter. In the followup song, the politician finds himself confronted by his constituents post-election and is forced to back track on many of his promises. For instance, he has done research he says, and “its quite cold on the moon, and plus I hear Osama bin Laden has camps there.” He ends by promising to fix everything, if only his constituents will elect him again.
The conversation after the talk ranged far and wide. Professor D, a Ph.D. student in African American studies at Northwestern, and a member of the African hip hop working group, asked Ntarangwi to clarify his use of the term ‘youth’ and his use of the term ‘hip hop.’ From there, discussion ranged over East African b-boys and b-girls, how to model being a ‘hip hop scholar’ on the continent, and the various local genres of hip hop expression in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Fittingly, the night ended with a two hour knowledge cipher at Giordanos with two young Chicago emcee/poets, myself, Professor D and Ntarangwi. The conversation ranged from Kanye’s latest release to Illuminati and the New World Order. In convening these spaces at Northwestern throughout the year, under the auspices of the African hip hop project, our goal more than anything is to create the energy and impetus for these kinds of dialogues that give young people a chance to see themselves as nodes on this transnational network of the “global hip hop imaginary”. I appreciate Professor Ntarangwi for making it possible through his scholarship. If you’re interested in reading more, you can buy the book here.
Interesting documentary. Basically just video of the Chief Justice of Zanzibar and his wife recounting their remembrances of the Zanzibar Revolution.
An innacurate portrayal of African society, Islam, Arab slavery, etc. not to mention extremely racist! Interesting and rare footage nonetheless.
November 4, 2010
In two fascinating talks over this past week, the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University was treated to the prose and reflection of Abdul Rahzak Gurnah, one of the foremost writers in the United Kingdom as well as a Zanzibari exile who writes about East African history, migration, and postcolonial identities in Zanzibar and the UK. In his talks, Gurnah emphasized how two of his major books--Paradise and Admiring Silencewere written after traveling. Traveling, according to Gurnah, unlocks a kind of knowledge different from other kinds of knowledge. In Paradise, which Gurnah wrote the ending to first and then finally finished ten years (and one other novel) later, he wanted to understand what had been lost on the Swahili coast through colonialism, and how his parents' generation might have experienced it. This becomes especially pertinent to Gurnah as a Zanzibari because of the kinds of connections the Zanzibar Revolution celebrated (inter-African). The Revolutionary discourse consigned Zanzibar’s ‘Indian Ocean’ history (its ‘outside’ history) to forgetfulness and shame.
Gurnah, on the other hand, wants neither to celebrate the Omani presence in Zanzibar nor to set it aside, but to see it through the historical framework in which it emerged: the Indian Ocean. What was it like to be young at the end of the nineteenth/beginning of the twentieth century in East Africa? It was to be part of an Indian Ocean world. Gurnah's novel Paradise is a vivid work of historical imagination which is remarkable not only for its intimate portrait of coastal culture but for the silences it acknowledges--the characters on the caravan trail in the interior, speak openly about the barbarism of those they encounter. The main character is a slave of a coastal merchant, and Gurnah writes about slavery on the coast with great subtlety--showing its various hierarchies and subtle gradations of subservience.
Gurnah's characters are not helpless but often powerless. Their way of moving through the world is a different style than open resistance. It is a kind of stoicism, a gracious accepting, a recognition that your way of living is itself a kind of integrity, even in passivity.
Scholars of Kiswahili debate whether a novel like Paradise is properly an English or a Swahili novel, and this is high praise in its own way, because it shows the degree to which Gurnah is able to use English with the rhythm of Swahili, to transform English into something suiting the picture he is trying to paint. The art of storytelling...and reading a Gurnah novel, you are in the hands of a master.