Lecture: Different seas, different histories? Reflections on the western Indian Ocean, Sept. 6 2011 @ BIEA
Date: Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Venue: The British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) seminar room
Location: Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa
Entry: Prior registration
To register email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaker: Prof. John Mack, President of the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA)
Chair: Dr. Hassan Wario Arero, Director of Museums, Sites, & Monuments – National Museums of Kenya (NMK)
Abstract: Different seas, different histories? Reflections on the western Indian Ocean
The seminar discusses some of the arguments in the speaker’s recent book The Sea, A Cultural History. It begins by suggesting that seas have different characteristics which need to be taken into account in assessing the human engagement with them. Interpretations based on the Mediterranean or the North Sea have dominated interpretation of wider histories as have terrestrial understandings of what it means to be at sea.
Topics discussed will include navigational practices, conceptions of the sea, trading practices and piracy. The occupation of Madagascar and the Swahili islands is instructive in terms of the implications of moving across the Equator. The mismatch between astrological systems and navigational knowledge, both based on observations of the stars, provides a suggestive conclusion.
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