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Section 2. Global History and Geography

Performing Geography in Global History1

Carla Bocchetti
p. 77-97

Texte intégral

  • 1 This research was written at different institutions: the library of Scuola Normale Superiore di Pi (...)

1Global history is an innovative approach which permits the integration of research on under-studied subjects, and places, without being attached to the history of Europe. Global history, therefore, challenges the privileged position of European history within the larger discipline of historiography—it is a critique of Eurocentrism. There have recently been several workshops at different institutions to identify the type of research questions that a global perspective can best address. These conferences have included “Writing the History of the Global” The British Academy Conference 2009 held in London; “Global History: New field and new questions” organised by the French Institute for Research in Africa held in Nairobi in 2013; and “Connections and Disconnections in the History and Cultures of Eastern Africa” organised by the British Institute in East Africa and the University of Warwick in Nairobi 2015.

  • 2 Christopher Bayly, in Chistopher A. Bayly, Sven Beckert, Matthew Connelly, Isabel Hofmeyr, Wendy K (...)
  • 3 Frederick Cooper & Jane Burbank, Empires in World History (Princeton, 2009).
  • 4 Isabel Hofmeyr, in Chistopher A. Bayly et al., “AHR conversation: On Transnational History,” p. 14 (...)
  • 5 Maxine Berg, Writing the History of the Global: Challenges for the 21st Century (The British Acade (...)
  • 6 Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy ( (...)
  • 7 Giorgio Riello, Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • 8 Wendy Kozol, in Chistopher A. Bayly et al., “AHR conversation: On Transnational History,” p. 1445.
  • 9 N.K. Chaudhuri, Asia before Europe: Economy and Civilization of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of (...)
  • 10 Globafrica Project. IFRA-IFAS/CNRS.
  • 11 Ibid.
  • 12 Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Connected Histories: Notes towards a Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia (...)
  • 13 Linda Colley, The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History (Random House, 2008); Maya J (...)

2Many suggestions about what constitutes global history research and practice have emerged from these and other similar conferences. Some of the suggestions about what global historians should focus on include transnational history,2 imperial history,3 comparative history,4 economic history,5 divergence;6 commodities and material culture;7 mobility, migration, communication;8 ocean history;9 multilingualism, the circulation of texts and knowledge;10 contagion, ecology and the environment;11 connected histories,12 and biographies crossing borders.13

3However, in spite of the boom, little emphasis has been put on geographical understandings as an important element of enquiry into global history. Not only is geography a crucial way of understanding new human relations beyond nations, but the narrative of space can tell a different story from one rooted in theological chronologies. This paper aims to understand the depiction of Africa in the early modern maps and geographical accounts of the Swahili, Arabs and Portuguese trading along the East African coast from a global perspective; my purpose is to create an awareness about the role that spatial relations (space and place) have in studying different connections beyond the frame of the nation. Maps and geographical accounts (navigation manuals, charts and genealogical surveys) took part in the creation of a sense of self and projected particular identities on vast areas—and thus interact with numerous questions that lie at the base of global history.

Global History and Geography

  • 14 Christopher Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World 1780–1914 (Blackwell, 2004); Maxine Berg, Writing (...)
  • 15 Henry Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Blackwell, 1991).
  • 16 David Harvey, The Condition of Post-modernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Wil (...)
  • 17 Michel Foucault, “Space, Knowledge, and Power.” In The Foucault Reader (Pantheon Books, 1984); Mic (...)
  • 18 Carl Sauer, “The Morphology of Landscape.” University of California Publications in Geography 2 (1 (...)
  • 19 Don Mitchell, Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction (Blackwell, 2000); Edward Soja, Postmode (...)
  • 20 Doreen Massey, Space, Place and Gender (University of Minneapolis Press, 1994).
  • 21 Foucault, “Space, Knowledge, and Power,” p. 70

4By emphasizing a global perspective, this new sub-discipline of history asserts that historians cannot continue to focus primarily on nations and nationalism, but must go beyond borders. Traditionally, the history of nations has been the dominant historiographical model, and most scholars working in history departments focus on the history of the particular country in which they are based. Global history’s focus, however, is not the study of nations.14 Instead, it examines the interconnections between places, people and objects in transit, spatial representations, and communication. Thus, geographical references are of genuine interest to global historians, not just as a narrow frame of investigation but as a subject of interrogation. Although geography is implicit in all scholarship within global history, it has yet to be at the centre of global historical enquiries. More recent trends in cultural geography—a discipline which also aims at embracing marginalized perspectives—have similarly drawn on the work of Henri Lefebvre,15 David Harvey,16 Michel Foucault,17 Carl Sauer,18 postcolonial studies scholars19 and feminists20 who have critiqued the concept of geographical determinism. Following Foucault’s lead, cultural geographers have reached a consensus that it is space, more than time, which influences contemporary preoccupations,21 and I contend that global history must undertake a similar decisive turn towards focusing on projections and performances of space and place.

  • 22 Frederick Cooper, Africa in the World: Capitalism, Empire, Nation-State (Harvard University Press, (...)

5Another issue with the overemphasis on nationalistic framings in historiographical research is that, with the exception of the British Empire as a modern nation-empire, nations are largely a product of the 19th century. Before this, other forms of states or empires existed which included territories attached to one another by other political structures; the Hapsburg and Bourbon empires offer models of differential governance in which territories and ethnicities were attached through non-national liaisons.22

  • 23 See Jasanoff, Edge of Empire, esp. Chapter 3.

6Arguably, the British Empire’s longer history of nationalistic perspective has unduly influenced the entire discipline of history because of the centrality of British history within the field. Global history, however, opens up the possibility to study other connections which are not necessarily contingent upon Europe or empire. Examining the role of geographical discourses and map making in relation to East Africa and its place in the Indian Ocean world is one way of exploring such connections. The Indian Ocean, over which the British Empire did not hold much control (even in the 19th century), yields rich possibilities for exploring global encounters outside of a Eurocentric framework. My research on geographical accounts, particularly those written records circulating the Indian Ocean—navigation manuals, maps, charts and genealogical accounts—demonstrates global history’s potential to articulate geography and space within a discourse not only of local identity, but also an identity which is fashionable within wider communities overseas.23

  • 24 Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Exploration in Connected History: Mughals and Franks (Oxford University Press (...)

7Many global historians have so far been focused on the circulation of material objects transported by transoceanic trade, but a focus on maps reveals broader issues than an assessment of the discrete circulation of objects or economic relations. In contrast, maps explore political and cultural phenomena relevant to larger areas of the world, and offer a chance to break with convention by finding connections between objects and archives that have been left out of main stream historical conversations. By studying the relationships between geographical places that have previously been studied separately, we can learn about how modern identities were transferred to larger areas, and the extent to which modern identities were built upon projecting oneself as belonging to a wider community overseas.24 In my work I apply global history as a research methodology to study maps in conjunction with dynamics of space, in order to create a new story about encounters in the context of East Africa’s presence in the Indian Ocean world. By comparing the maps and manuals of Arabs and Europeans to African conceptions of space, my research complicates understandings about the role spatiality plays in the shaping of contemporary identities and the transgression of borders.

  • 25 Adrien Delmas & Nigel Penn (eds.), Written Culture in a Colonial Context: Africa and the Americas, (...)
  • 26 Jean-Frédéric Schaub, “Notes on some discontents in the historical narrative.” In Maxine Berg (ed. (...)
  • 27 Michael Pearson, Port Cities and Intruders: the Swahili Coast, India, and Portugal in the Early Mo (...)
  • 28 Gaurav Desai, Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India and the Afroasian Imagination (Columbia Un (...)
  • 29 Chaudhuri, Asia before Europe, p. 36.

8Geographical records of the Swahili have come down to us mainly through oral tradition, but assumptions about the region’s lack of written culture are being undermined by new research into East Africa’s written records. Delmas and Penn25 have recently given importance to the role of writing in global encounters or contexts; and with Schaub’s concept of “asymmetries”, destabilizing the legitimacy of certain cultures and sources, we can make new comparisons.26 Comparing societies that possess written records and made maps with those that have been studied largely within the framework of oral tradition it is possible to examine performances of space and place that are usually overlooked in the academic canon. This emphasis on the enduring legacies of cultural asymmetries informs my research into the disparate representations of East African space in early modern maps. The coherence of the Indian Ocean world has been demonstrated through patterns of migration, cultural synthesis and the religious dominance of Islam;27 the cycles of monsoons, ports, ships and sailors, and the widespread distribution of certain products from particular areas.28 And yet for Chaudhuri, Africa remains irrelevant. He asserts that the Indian Ocean world includes four “civilizational identities:” Islamic, Chinese, Sanskrit Indian and Southeast Asian, and excludes Africa from this pantheon stating “indigenous African communities appear to have been structured by a historical logic separate and independent from the rest of the Indian Ocean.”29 Despite considerable evidence of Indian Ocean trade with the Swahili Coast, East Africa has been largely neglected in writings on the Indian Ocean world.

  • 30 Himanshu Prabha Ray & Edward Alpers, Cross Currents and Community Networks: The History of the Ind (...)
  • 31 Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean and the Age of Global Empire (Harvard University (...)
  • 32 Journal “Africa” published by the International African Institute (2011), and Journal of African H (...)
  • 33 Fernand Braudel, La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l´époque de Philippe II (Armand Colin (...)

9The tendency to exclude Africa however is now changing. Ray and Alpers very much problematize the absence of Africa in Indian Ocean studies stating that “maritime communities were points of contact to many different cultures and ideas.”30 And Sugata Bosé’s study of the Indian Ocean offers a full account of the East African Coast.31 A special issue of the journal Africa has also been dedicated to the subject, as well as an edition of the Journal of African History.32 Through the use of an oceanic metaphor, Braudel has demonstrated that people from across oceanic spaces have determined the destiny of seas, and not the other way around: “Mediterranean civilization spread far beyond its shores in great waves that are balanced by continual returns.”33 Maps highlight the existence of a written culture that circulated throughout the Indian Ocean, and encompassed the Swahili Coast within it. The Indian Ocean therefore should be considered as an interregional arena unified by trade and migration, but also written culture and transmission of knowledge.

10The purpose of this paper is to make evident the importance of geography for global history, to explore the way in which geographical information taken from local sources was used to project a European and Arab sense of self onto global encounters, and contrast these projections with the ways in which Africans considered their place and sense of belonging in the world, far removed from the ways in which they have been represented in European and Arab geographical maps and accounts. It also re-examines the power of maps as part of written culture and as fashionable objects dictating a new world order. Based on information collected at the level of local experience, and transformed into a global object, maps created an incoherent, asymmetric narrative in which only few could project themselves into the world.

East Africa in Early Modern European Maps

  • 34 Christian Jacob, “Towards a Cultural History of Cartography.” Imago Mundi 48 (1996):191–98.

11I consider maps as texts—textual commodities travelling on ships—that tell stories about global encounters. Not only do they contain routes for sailors and navigational instructions, but also they hold stories which have symbolic and allegorical meanings, and tell us a great deal about the society which produced and consumed them.34

  • 35 David Woodward, “Cartography and the Renaissance: Continuity and Change.” In History of Cartograph (...)
  • 36 John B. Harley & Kees Zandvliet, “Art, Science and Power in Sixteenth Century Dutch Cartography.” (...)
  • 37 Kees Zandvliet, Mapping for Money: Maps, Plans and Topographic Painting and their Role in Dutch Ov (...)
  • 38 Genevieve Carlton, Wordly Consumers: The Demands for Maps in Renaissance Italy (The University of (...)

12During the 15th century, map publishing was mainly concentrated in south and central Europe.35 But by the middle of the 16th century, leadership of the industry had moved to the Low Countries, with Amsterdam and Antwerp leading map making and map consumption. In these cities, cartographers reached a masterly level in the technique of engraving, with the Dutch explorations to the East Indies (VOC) at the end of the 16th century further catalysing the development of map making in the Netherlands.36 Much of the geographical information gathered from these explorations was kept secretly.37 But some information was disseminated from navigational charts and increased the demand for maps both as technical items to help navigation, and as fashionable objects38—collected and displayed both in the public sphere of government buildings and in the private sphere of home interior decoration. For instance in Italy and the Netherlands there was a fashion of hanging world maps (mappamundi) on the walls for decoration.

  • 39 John B. Harley & David Woodward, The History of Cartography, vol. 2 (The University of Chicago Pre (...)

13Maps were practical objects which primarily served an administrative purpose, but they have also been examined as expressions of imperial expansion, domination and appropriation, and examples of power, knowledge and possession.39 Early European maps affected space, and cannot be considered passive objects or neutral artifacts. They offered a way in which Europe became connected in the collective mind, for they portrayed an area locked together into relational patterns.

  • 40 Simon Schama, The Embarrasment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (Un (...)

14However, as social products, maps also conceptualized space within the relations, fantasies, ideas, religious tendencies, fears and ideological values of the society that produced and used them. They conserved established views and preconceptions of the world. For Simon Schama, maps from societies characterised by maritime expansion and mercantilism were a product of the encounter between fresh historical experience, ideological frameworks and the constraints of geography.40 In this respect maps fell well short of exercising control over territories and people. Much of the way in which Africa was depicted in these early maps was a consequence of myths about Africa as “the dark continent.”

15But if we are to think of these maps as texts, as speaking objects, then we need a way of reading those stories. Early modern European maps of Africa encapsulated a framework of a particular society and also constituted ideas about the self and the world. In other words, these depictions tell us far more about Europe and colonization than they do about Africa.

  • 41 David Turnbull, “Cartography and Science in Early Modern Europe: Mapping the Construction of Knowl (...)
  • 42 O.A.W. Dilke, Greek and Roman Maps (Cornell University Press, 1985); Lionel Casson, Travel in the (...)

16For the Portuguese, the Indian Ocean itself was the imperial domain. They were interested in the monopolization of trade, the control of coastlines and coastal trade routes, and applied taxation to ships crossing the Indian Ocean waters. They were not making inland incursions and laying the foundations of cities. The control of the sea was their real empire. The Portuguese made maps of routes (charts) in the 15th century, called Portolanos, depicting sites along the coast following the periplous tradition.41 The periplous tradition goes back to antiquity, when the narratives of itinerary journeys that have survived in the documentary record must have been accompanied by charts which are now lost. An early example is The Periplous of the Erythraean Sea42written in the first century AD in which the coast of Africa is included. The periplous is a journey along the coast which mentions the principal geographical features of the territories in a linear sequence. It shows how to go from one point to another highlighting the prominent geographical features, such as rivers, mountains and towns. Due to the portolano, the coast was fairly well known for Europeans after the 15th century, but the interior of Africa remained a complete blank, in spite of the fact that there were numerous caravan routes, pilgrimages and merchants belonging to a non-European tradition of travelers with a considerable knowledge of the African interior.

  • 43 David Woodward, “Cartography and the Renaissance: Continuity and Change.” The History of Cartograp (...)
  • 44 Carlton, Worldly Consumers.

17Ptolemaic space, classical myths, and biblical references were all important components of the intellectual context which framed these European conceptions and served as the basis for European understandings of the unknown.43 Yet at the same time,44 the Renaissance provided the intellectual tools necessary to achieve the liberation from antiquity. The imperial boundaries that Europeans put into classics, as well as to biblical references, were thus an exercise of power and exclusion. Imperial identities and the maps transmitting them were simultaneously shaped by the use, and abuse, of the classical and biblical repertoire.

  • 45 James Romm, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought (Princeton University Press, 1992).
  • 46 Lionel Casson, “Rome’s Trade with the East: The Sea Voyage to Africa and India.” TAPhA 110 (1980): (...)

18Africa was considered a dark place on European maps for centuries. Although geographical information of Africa goes back to Herodotus,45 and the Romans had contact with Africa and India at an early date,46 the map of Ptolemy was the established paradigm through which to understand Africa from late antiquity to the beginning of the 16th century (Figure 1).

  • 47 Kenneth Nebenzahl, Maps from the Age of Discovery, Columbus to Mercator (Times Books, 1990), p. ix(...)

19In Ptolemy’s map the interior of Africa was unknown and its geographical features were mainly associated with the river Nile: the Nile was sourced from the Mountains of the Moon, which were located south of the Equator. From these mountains different streams flowed towards two lakes situated symmetrically on the same latitude. These two lakes were the sources of two big streams which at some point in the North converged and formed the course of the Nile. At the start of the 16th century, the Ptolemaic outline was replaced by one reflecting contemporary experience of travelling, like the Martellus Map of 1507 and the Cantino Planisphere of 1502.47 By the time of the Gasdaldi map of Africa 1564 there were no Mountains of the Moon and, following Barros' cosmological notions, the two lakes were replaced by one large lake from which flowed the most important rivers of the continent. With exploration, details of the seaboard were gradually added.

Figure 1. Map of Ptolemy

Figure 1. Map of Ptolemy

20The interior however remained a vacuum in which the space was filled with African animals and mythical figures. The Monoculi in the map of Sebastian Münster (1554) in which inhabitants of the African continent are represented by a Cyclops, is a good example to illustrate the barbaric notions circulating about Africa in early modern maps (Figure 2).

  • 48 Peter Linebaugh & Marcus Rediker, The Many Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidde (...)
  • 49 Adrien Delmas, “From Traveling to History: An Outline of the VOC Writing System during the 17th ce (...)
  • 50 Kees Zandvliet, “Mapping the Dutch World Overseas in the Seventeenth Century.” In David Woodward ( (...)

21Actions of exploitation and expropriation were legitimised through depiction of others from below as monsters, as has been well explained by Linebaugh and Rediker,48 who examined recurring images of the Greek hero Hercules (identified with colonial progress) in his battle against the Hydra (the many headed monster representing those at the bottom of colonial infrastructure).These early maps of Africa did not make use of the totality of the geographical information collected by exploration. The interior of Africa remained unknown for many decades, even centuries. Even with new discoveries, partly because geographical routes and information were kept in secret,49 maps promoted the mentalities of the mapmakers and the society that consumed them—which remained fixed to the classical mythological paradigm. Blaeu, who was the official cartographer of the VOC, was unable to use new geographical information from the discoveries. For example his map of Africa c.1664 is highly decorated with vignettes of cities, forts and landscapes; the borders depict inhabitants from different regions, the ocean space is decorated with sailing ships, flying fish and mermaids; yet the interior of Africa maintain the presence of wild beasts (Figure 3).50

Figure 2. The map of Sebastian Münster (1554)

Figure 2. The map of Sebastian Münster (1554)

22Although this type of map added new information about places and names regarding the islands of Mauritius and Madagascar (following the discoveries of Dutch exploration), the mythical Mountains of the Moon still are depicted, even if they are not the source of the Nile. Other earlier maps, such as the Lopes-Pigafetta (1591) do show a great improvement on the interior of Africa, but for Zandvliet, Blaeu’s work perfectly illustrates how a VOC chart was turned into a commercial atlas map. At the end of the 16th century scientific knowledge started to come to the fore, and maps began to separate from a now unsustainable, mythological background. In the map of Herman Moll (1732) the vacuum spaces of the interior of Africa were filled not with animals or monsters but by two inscriptions, one reads: “Ethiopia is wholly unknown to Europeans.” Nevertheless the cartouche of the map keeps the traditional allegories of Africa as a seated woman half naked holding an ivory tusk, and there are references to African animals denoting uncivilization together with civilized forces represented by a horseman hunting an ostrich (Figure 4).

Figure 3. The Blaeu Map, c. 1664

Figure 3. The Blaeu Map, c. 1664
  • 51 Let Fame with wonder name the Greek no more,
    What lands he saw, what toils at sea he bore;
    Nor more
    (...)

23Concurrently, the querelle between ancient and moderns, taken up by some scholars to challenge the status of antiquity, set up the idea that men from the age of discoveries were much better than the ancients. These views are best expressed in the epic poem Os Luciadas, of Luis de Camõens (1776) which celebrated Vasco de Gama’s exploration of the Indian Ocean.51 Maps continued to portray the European self for public consumption within the boundaries of social and ideological references that went back to narratives from antiquity, showing the enduring legacy of traditional attitudes in the face of modern developments.

Figure 4. The Map of Hermann Moll 1732 and a detail of the cartouche

Figure 4. The Map of Hermann Moll 1732 and a detail of the cartouche

Private Collection Lorenzo Rissini Bizzinelli.

  • 52 Joost Fontein, Remaking Mutirikwi: Landscape, Water & Belonging in Southern Zimbabwe (James Currey (...)

24But they simultaneously started to reflect an increasingly proximate, material engagement with the world they were representing as informants and explorers surveyed inland. These maps were images in the process of becoming.52

25With trade and exploration before the Europeans, the geographical knowledge of the interior of Africa was obtained mainly by the information given to the Europeans by caravan guides, nomads, travelers, merchants or pilgrims. These routes were dominated by the gold trade from the mines in Ghana, Mali and Zimbabwe to places on the coast like Sofala, Kilwa, Mombasa or Malindi. These routes connected Angola on the Atlantic Ocean, to port cities in East Africa, where there was also trading of iron, seeds, ivory, spices, labour, books and manuscripts.

26Although maps are said to have been tools of power and control, European maps of East Africa show a fragmented view of the world perceived through the kernel of European ideas and misconceptions, built mainly upon classical and biblical references. Early maps tell us far more about Europeans themselves than about the people or places they pretended to portray—the mapping of the Indian Ocean, and Africa in particular, was one of the main ways European imperialists fashioned themselves through geography. Nonetheless, they also speak to the limits of European colonialism and commerce; and point to Arabs and Africans—beyond the sailing ships and coastal forts—as the dominant disseminators of geographical knowledge about the African interior.

Geographical Tradition in East Africa

  • 53 Michael Horton & John Middletown, The Swahili: The Social Landscape of a Mercantile Society (Black (...)

27Although Swahili maps have not survived in the historical record, a great amount of geographical information of Swahili geography exists in different manifestations, and can be tangentially accessed and approached through diverse forms: from the Arabic books on navigation, to social performance of space, poetry and song, and as we will see below genealogical accounts can be considered geographical documents too. The echoes of the Swahili’s local geographical knowledge of the coast, both at a practical and theoretical level, are loudest in the dialectically-informed Arabic written geographical records and maps which were circulating in the Indian Ocean.53

  • 54 Gerard R. Tibbets, “The Role of Charts in Islamic Navigation in the Indian Ocean.” In The History (...)
  • 55 Thomas Suarez, Early Mapping of Southeast Asia: The Epic Story of Seafarers (Periplous Edition Ltd (...)
  • 56 J. De Barros , Asia: Década I. 1552. bk. 4, ch. 6.

28There are still some doubts as to whether or not Arab maps were “geometrically drawn” like the Portuguese portolanos,54 but navigational literature in the form of practical advice for navigators and pilot guides certainly existed; charts of the Indian Ocean are mentioned by Marco Polo55 and Vasco de Gama,56 and there are also earlier examples of drawn maps of Piri Re’is (1513) and Al-Idrisi (1154).

  • 57 Gerard R. Tibbets, Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean before the coming of the Portuguese, transl (...)
  • 58 Gerard R.Tibbets, Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean, p. 237, 221, 234–235, and about the rose wi (...)

29Arabic knowledge of navigating the Indian Ocean including the East African coast has mainly come down to us through the work of Ibn Mājid57 (1421), a sailor from Oman and author of numerous geographical works, who is best-known for the controversy over whether or not he was the pilot of Vasco de Gama. In the Kitab, Ibn Mājid refers to the sailing season from India to East Africa (Zanj), Madagascar and Zanzibar mentioning numerous ports along the way.58 Arabic classical geography relied on Ptolemaic geographic understandings, just as Europeans did. But Ibn Mājid’s work is an outstanding example of a tradition of navigational literature used as practical advice for pilot guides circulating the coast of the Indian Ocean which broke with Ptolemy’s geography. Also notable is his use of the compass and the wind rose: a method of using starts risings and settings for directional purpose. Although no map of Ibn Mājid has survived, we must understand his work as being part of an Arab tradition of geographical maps which were accompanied by a textual description. While maps themselves have been lost, logbooks, or pilot guides, written in verse as part of a mnemotechnique process (easy to memorize) intended to didactically pass information from one generation to the next, have endured in the historical record.

  • 59 John C.Wilkinson, “Oman and East Africa: new light on Early Kilwan History from the Omani Sources. (...)
  • 60 Lionel Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World (Princeton University Press, 1971), p. 21 (...)

30Furthermore, although there is little work done by Western scholars on Omani geographic corpus associated with its empire,59 we should not conceive the Arabic geographical corpus as a compact unique enterprise, but as the result of collected different traditions around the Indian Ocean in which are put together knowledge from disparate different sources in which Ibn Mājid is one of the examples par excellence. For instance, Egyptians were sending missions to the East African coast as early as 1500 BC—there is evidence in a relief that portrays the fleet of Queen Hatshepsut60 being sent down to the Red Sea to reopen trade with the East African Coast.

  • 61 Randall L. Pouwels, “Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean to 1800: Reviewing relations in Historica (...)
  • 62 Vernet, “East African Travelers and Traders in the Indian Ocean,” p. 171.

31The Omani and other powers of the Gulf had been active in East African coasts since the 9th century.61 Although the Arabic geographical tradition has been at the margin of the studies of European geographic tradition, nevertheless Swahili geographical knowledge must have played an active role concerning geographical information, as the Swahili were the product of a fusion of cultures, (a porous and fluid identity as explained by Vemet),62 they must have shared information of navigating the East African coast to Arabs, Portuguese and other groups around the Indian Ocean. In spite of that, the Swahili contribution is silent from the Arabic corpus, (as it is from the European corpus), we may be facing a way in which Arabs are exercising another form of otherness, reflecting the overlapping of imperial projects on commanding sea routes.

32How much did Swahili geography influence the Arab tradition on geographical knowledge? Rather than endogenously produced, as we mentioned earlier, we should consider the possibility that Arab navigational manuals were the product of a long tradition of shared knowledge, built upon the different geographical approaches of local people living within the Indian Ocean shores. In that way it is possible to explore the contribution of Swahili geographical knowledge to the geographical information that remains accessible for us about the East African Coast.

  • 63 Allama Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, The Arab .Navigation (SH. Muhammad Ashraf, 1966), p. 68: Ibn Majid exh (...)

33In fact, Ibn-Khaldun gives a glimpse of the multiple agents involved in the Arab navigation enterprises: “When the Arab empire was established, and grew predominant, men of different professions offered their service to them. They employed boatmen and sailors, who helped them to improve their nautical knowledge and activities. Experts in navigation were produced amongst them.”63

  • 64 Ibid., p. 88.
  • 65 Ibid., p. 90.
  • 66 Paul Johnstone, The Sea-craft of Prehistory (Routledge, 1980), p. 177.

34The Swahili certainly had considerable navigational expertise of their own. From Masrûdï64 (c. 896–956) we learn that each sea had separate sailors and experts, and that the African Sea (Abyssinian sea) and Barbara (Mozambique channel) were very difficult to navigate:65 “sailors says this is a mad sea… When they reach the waves of the sea and go with currents, which rock them high and low they sing the following verse during their work on the ship: “Barbara and Jafoni—And this mad storm / Jafoni and Barbara -And its waves as you see.” A well-known illustration from a Mesopotamian manuscript al-Hariri's Maqamat (MS Arabe 5847 fo.119) dated AD 1237 now at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, also shows a wooden boat with two masts, and the oculi at each end of the craft, resembling the Lamu mtepe,66 with what seems to be a Swahili crew (Figure 5).

  • 67 Vernet, “East African Travelers and Traders in the Indian Ocean,” p. 167, 169.

35The Swahili had first hand experience of oversea sailing. As Vemet67 has shown Swahili elites were involve in long distance voyages to the Arabian and Southern Arabian seas during the period of the first European expansion. They were aware of the main trading networks, markets and maritime routes of the Indian Ocean as whole, owned big ships and were partners in large oceanic enterprises, taking advantage of the multiple agents involved in trading on the African coast. They were also on board ships as pilots, free sailors, merchants or pilgrims.

  • 68 Marina Tolmacheva, The Paté Chronicles, edited and translated by Marina Tolmacheva (Michigan Unive (...)
  • 69 “Sultan ‘Umar bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Sulayman gained great power (and) conquered (...)
  • 70 T.A. Chumovsky, Três roteiros desconhecidos de Ahmad Ibn-Madjid o piloto árabe de Vasco da Gama, t (...)
  • 71 Shamil Jeppie, “Making Book History in Timbuktu.” In Caroline Davies & David Johnson (eds), The Bo (...)
  • 72 James de Vere Allen, “Swahili Book Production.” Kenya Past and Present 13 (1981): 17–22.

36Further, from the Pate Chronicles we know of Swahili having knowledge of the monsoon season, shipwrecks and tides,68 and records of military expansions refer to geographical information.69 For Ibn Mājid, experts on navigation are learned men who had to have access to books on geography, astronomy, latitude, longitude, and the shape of the stars.70 Similarly, although much emphasis has been placed on African oral traditions, there is evidence uncovered at the Timbuktu Library to argue that written tradition existed alongside this71and was connected to library production in East Africa at Siyu.72 These newly-revealed literary traditions indicate that chart and maps must have been circulated among merchants and traders alongside cosmological treatises which were associated with their geographical conceptions of the world (Figure 6). These relationships with distant places were also part of social dynamics in which people built their sense of cosmopolitanism.

Figure 5. Manuscript al-Hariri’s Maqamat (MS Arabe 5847 fo.119) dated AD 1237

Figure 5. Manuscript al-Hariri’s Maqamat (MS Arabe 5847 fo.119) dated AD 1237

Figure 6. Cosmological Charts from Timbuktu

Figure 6. Cosmological Charts from Timbuktu
  • 73 Edward Pollard, “The Maritime Landscape of Kilwa Kisiwani and its Region, Tanzania, 11th to 15th C (...)

37Although we can only speculate that geographical knowledge in form of books and charts was also circulating on the Swahili shores, we certainly know from recent archaeological work, that the Swahili had knowledge of nautical engineering, as can be seen in Kilwa’s causeways, as well as command of nautical warfare.73

  • 74 Simplification of the Swahili culture is expressed in Carl Velten, Desturi za Wasuaheli & Sitten u (...)

38As we possess only the Arabic written sources it is difficult to assess the asymmetric communication process and the dialectic with other agents from India, Yemen, Iran, Oman and China.74 And if we can consider Arab navigational manuals as collections of shared knowledge built upon different geographical understandings of the local people living around the Indian Ocean shores, then the Swahili’s geographical nautical system was itself the product of a two-way conversation, in which Arabs influenced Swahili and Swahili influenced Arabs with their own views of place and space, local geographical information for sailing and particular landmarks of coastal features. But we certainly do know that the Swahili coast was a point of contact between local African, Arabic and other cultures, and it is unlikely that this was a hegemonic, one-way engagement.

  • 75 Jan Knappert, “Swahili Sailors’ Song.” Afrika und Uebersee 68 (1985): 105-133, see p. 115.
  • 76 Marina Tolmacheva, The Paté Chronicles, edited and translated by Marina Tolmacheva (Michigan Unive (...)
  • 77 William Hichens, Al-Inkishafi (The Soul’s Awakening), translated and edited by William Hichens (Th (...)

39Although Swahili maps do not remain, we have access to songs and poetry in which the Swahili project themselves across the Indian Ocean world. For instance, there is a considerable sense of place and of cosmopolitanism expressed in the Swahili Sailor´s Song, which lists places to which the Swahili consider to be related, these includes southern Arabia, islands south of Oman, and the Comoros: “Let’s go to Iran as well, and Ras al-Khaima/Basra, Hadd and Sawkira/ Bandar Abbas on the Fars Coast.”75 Similarly the Swahili also fashioned themselves through geographical references in which they expressed the complex nature of their identity: East African and Asian locales are placed next to each other in spite of the geographical distance between them, Goa is mentioned next to Lamu and Pemba, and a reference to Maskat is preceeded by Siyu and followed by Bombay.76 Crafted doors from Lamu may also inform of local places projected into far away arenas. Even more interesting are perhaps the geographical references made in daily life practices and sensual and nostalgic scenarios (see the poem Inkishafi)77 which is another example where geography fashions identity.

Performing Space and Written Culture

40The two entangled, but dissonant geographic traditions of the Portuguese and Arabs—both drawing on Ptolomeaic understandings of the world, but separated by contrasting conceptions and contact with the Swahili—are directly comparable through the two versions of the Kilwa Chronicles (one Persian, one Portuguese) that survive to this day (Figure 7).

Figure 7. The Kilwa Chronicles, Persian Version

Figure 7. The Kilwa Chronicles, Persian Version

41The Chronicles are a narration of genealogies dating from Persian migrations into East African during the Middle Ages, and are primarily a list of kingships establishing a foundational story associated to trade and port cities. But, they can also be regarded as examples of geographical accounts or social maps, for genealogies map space, creating links between East Africa and the wider Indian Ocean world.

  • 78 For a critique to genealogy, museum and society see Beth Lord: Fouccault museum. http://www2.le.ac (...)
  • 79 Jeffrey Fleisher & Stephanie Wynne-Jones, “Finding Meaning in Ancient Swahili Spatial Practice.” A (...)
  • 80 James de Vere Allen, “Siyu in the 18th and 19th Centuries.” Transafrican Journal of History 8 (197 (...)

42Though genealogies are often associated with myth and do not represent an authentic historical account, as social practices of performing space, they play an important role in placing a group of people in connection to others establishing links between people in distant places. Genealogical records transmitted information and ideas of authority and prestige78 and in the particular case of Swahili, they are related to the construction of a urban identity of stone towns, the establishment of a thalasocracy as opposed to pastoral life.79Part of a broader pattern of book production on the East Africa coast—with some examples of Swahili writing existing80- the Chronicles were not written or composed by foreigners for foreigners, but are a link to the Swahili world. They are an example of the Swahili themselves reconstructing their own mythical ancestry and urban connections to the far shores of the Indian Ocean.

  • 81 Elias Saad, “Kilwa Dynastic Historiography: A Critical Study.” History of Africa 6 (1979): 177–207 (...)

43The two remaining versions of the Kilwa Chronicles (the Persian and Portuguese versions) are different and present omissions, gaps and censorships regarding the succession of kings. These may have occurred for different reasons: diverse fonts of transmission, emphasis in certain kings associated to political purpose, addition or the erasure of dynasties.81 As geographical documents, the genealogies recorded in the Chronicles replicate the Omani tradition of geographical records that were actively antagonistic—Ibn Mājid’s writings indeed are an example of a geographical corpus generated through Omani imperial expansion, which competed with the Shirazi genealogies as documents of identity and location with the liaisons of the Indian Ocean.

44The written description that accompanied the pictorial representation of maps is a kind of document that can be studied in association to genealogical and geographical accounts, and it belongs to the context of written culture, associated to map making in the shores of the Indian Ocean world.

Conclusion

  • 82 Jonathon Gassman, War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar (I (...)
  • 83 Cooper, Africa in the World.

45According to Gassmann82 and Cooper83 race, empire and identity as categories of analysis are dissolving. Global history focusing on space offers new categories to understand mobility, change and crossing borders, focusing on non-fixed identities beyond national limits.

46Maps inform of movement of people as well as objects, and are partially the result of histories of consumption as well as fashioning of people projecting themselves into larger areas of the world. In the case of East Africa, Europeans and Arabic maps of Africa were actively disengaged and resisted by the Swahili at the same time that their geographical knowledge was been erased and incorporated into a new geographical corpus. Global history and the geographical “turn” support history from below, and the inclusion of maps and the geographical discourse bear the possibility of opening up new readings of inclusion.

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Notes

1 This research was written at different institutions: the library of Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, the French School at Rome, Nairobi National Archives and IFRA. I want to thank Stephanie Buttler and Henry Mitchell for their support. Field work was conducted at Manda Island, Lamu, Mombasa, Malindi and Zanzibar. An earlier version of this paper was delivered at NYU Abu Dhabi.

2 Christopher Bayly, in Chistopher A. Bayly, Sven Beckert, Matthew Connelly, Isabel Hofmeyr, Wendy Kozol & Patricia Seed, “AHR conversation: On Transnational History,” The American Historical Review 111, n° 5 (2006): 1441–64, p. 1442.

3 Frederick Cooper & Jane Burbank, Empires in World History (Princeton, 2009).

4 Isabel Hofmeyr, in Chistopher A. Bayly et al., “AHR conversation: On Transnational History,” p. 1444.

5 Maxine Berg, Writing the History of the Global: Challenges for the 21st Century (The British Academy I, Oxford University Press, 2013); David Washbrook, European Miracle in Non-European Perspective—Historical Connections (London, 2002).

6 Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton, 2000).

7 Giorgio Riello, Cotton: The Fabric that Made the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2013).

8 Wendy Kozol, in Chistopher A. Bayly et al., “AHR conversation: On Transnational History,” p. 1445.

9 N.K. Chaudhuri, Asia before Europe: Economy and Civilization of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge, 1985); Bose Sugata, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (Harvard University Press, 2009).

10 Globafrica Project. IFRA-IFAS/CNRS.

11 Ibid.

12 Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Connected Histories: Notes towards a Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia.” Modern Asian Studies 31 (1997): 735–762.

13 Linda Colley, The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History (Random House, 2008); Maya Jasanoif, Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture and the Conquest in the East 1750–1850 (Random House, 2006).

14 Christopher Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World 1780–1914 (Blackwell, 2004); Maxine Berg, Writing the History of the Global, p. 1–18.

15 Henry Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Blackwell, 1991).

16 David Harvey, The Condition of Post-modernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Wiley-Blackwell, 1989).

17 Michel Foucault, “Space, Knowledge, and Power.” In The Foucault Reader (Pantheon Books, 1984); Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces.” Diacritics 16 (1986): 22–27, p. 23.

18 Carl Sauer, “The Morphology of Landscape.” University of California Publications in Geography 2 (1925): 19–54.

19 Don Mitchell, Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction (Blackwell, 2000); Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Theory (Verso, 1989).

20 Doreen Massey, Space, Place and Gender (University of Minneapolis Press, 1994).

21 Foucault, “Space, Knowledge, and Power,” p. 70

22 Frederick Cooper, Africa in the World: Capitalism, Empire, Nation-State (Harvard University Press, 2014), p. 63–89.

23 See Jasanoff, Edge of Empire, esp. Chapter 3.

24 Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Exploration in Connected History: Mughals and Franks (Oxford University Press, 2011).

25 Adrien Delmas & Nigel Penn (eds.), Written Culture in a Colonial Context: Africa and the Americas, 1500–1900 (University of Cape Town Press, 2011), p. 112.

26 Jean-Frédéric Schaub, “Notes on some discontents in the historical narrative.” In Maxine Berg (ed.), Writing the History of the Global: 48–65.

27 Michael Pearson, Port Cities and Intruders: the Swahili Coast, India, and Portugal in the Early Modern Era (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998); Abdul Sheriff, Dhow Cultures of the Indian Ocean: Cosmopolitanism, Commerce and Islam (Columbia University Press, 2010).

28 Gaurav Desai, Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India and the Afroasian Imagination (Columbia University Press, 2013).

29 Chaudhuri, Asia before Europe, p. 36.

30 Himanshu Prabha Ray & Edward Alpers, Cross Currents and Community Networks: The History of the Indian Ocean World (Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 39, 136.

31 Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean and the Age of Global Empire (Harvard University Press, 2006).

32 Journal “Africa” published by the International African Institute (2011), and Journal of African History 54 (2013).

33 Fernand Braudel, La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l´époque de Philippe II (Armand Colin, 1949).

34 Christian Jacob, “Towards a Cultural History of Cartography.” Imago Mundi 48 (1996):191–98.

35 David Woodward, “Cartography and the Renaissance: Continuity and Change.” In History of Cartography, vol. 3 (The University of Chicago Press, 2007), p. 3–24.

36 John B. Harley & Kees Zandvliet, “Art, Science and Power in Sixteenth Century Dutch Cartography.” Cartographica 29 (1992): 10–19.

37 Kees Zandvliet, Mapping for Money: Maps, Plans and Topographic Painting and their Role in Dutch Overseas Expansion during the 16th and 17th centuries (Batavian Lion International, 1998).

38 Genevieve Carlton, Wordly Consumers: The Demands for Maps in Renaissance Italy (The University of Chicago Press, 2015); Catherine Delano Smith & Roger J.P. Kain, English Maps: A History (University of Toronto Press, 1999).

39 John B. Harley & David Woodward, The History of Cartography, vol. 2 (The University of Chicago Press, 1987); Daniel Cosgrove & Stephen Daniel, The Iconography of Landscape: The Symbolic Representation, Design and Use of Past Environments (Cambridge University Press, 1989).

40 Simon Schama, The Embarrasment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (University of California Press, 1988).

41 David Turnbull, “Cartography and Science in Early Modern Europe: Mapping the Construction of Knowledge Spaces,” Imago Mundi 48 (1996): 5–24, p. 9.

42 O.A.W. Dilke, Greek and Roman Maps (Cornell University Press, 1985); Lionel Casson, Travel in the Ancient World, (George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1974); Carla Bocchetti, “Cultural Geography in Homer.” ERAS Journal, n° 5 (2003). http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/publications/eras/edition-5/bocchettiarticle.php. Carla Bocchetti, “The Periplous Tradition in The Iliad and The Homeric Hymns.” Revista ARGOS 29 (2007): 29–52.

43 David Woodward, “Cartography and the Renaissance: Continuity and Change.” The History of Cartography, vol. 2 (The University of Chicago Press, 1994).

44 Carlton, Worldly Consumers.

45 James Romm, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought (Princeton University Press, 1992).

46 Lionel Casson, “Rome’s Trade with the East: The Sea Voyage to Africa and India.” TAPhA 110 (1980): 21–36, p. 24.

47 Kenneth Nebenzahl, Maps from the Age of Discovery, Columbus to Mercator (Times Books, 1990), p. ix, 234.

48 Peter Linebaugh & Marcus Rediker, The Many Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (Beacon Press Boston, 2013).

49 Adrien Delmas, “From Traveling to History: An Outline of the VOC Writing System during the 17th century.” In Written Culture in a Colonial Context, p. 112.

50 Kees Zandvliet, “Mapping the Dutch World Overseas in the Seventeenth Century.” In David Woodward (ed.), History of Cartography, vol. 3 (University of Chicago Press, 2007), p. 1438.

51 Let Fame with wonder name the Greek no more,
What lands he saw, what toils at sea he bore;
Nor more the Trojan’s wandering voyage boast,
What storms he braved on many a perilous coast: No more let Rome exult in Trajan’s name,
Nor Eastern conquests Ammon’s pride proclaim; A nobler hero’s deeds demand my lays
Than e’er adorned the song of ancient days,
Illustrious GAMA, whom the waves obeyed,
And whose dread sword the fate of empire swayed.

52 Joost Fontein, Remaking Mutirikwi: Landscape, Water & Belonging in Southern Zimbabwe (James Currey, 2015), p. 201–204.

53 Michael Horton & John Middletown, The Swahili: The Social Landscape of a Mercantile Society (Blackwell, 2000), on the periplous of the Erythraean Sea and the Geography of Ptolemy see p. 31–37.

54 Gerard R. Tibbets, “The Role of Charts in Islamic Navigation in the Indian Ocean.” In The History of Cartography, vol. 2 book 1 (The University of Chicago Press, 1992), p. 256–257, 261–262.

55 Thomas Suarez, Early Mapping of Southeast Asia: The Epic Story of Seafarers (Periplous Edition Ltd., 1999).

56 J. De Barros , Asia: Década I. 1552. bk. 4, ch. 6.

57 Gerard R. Tibbets, Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean before the coming of the Portuguese, translation from Ibn Majid (Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1971), p. 169. See also Thomas Vernet, “East African Travelers and Traders in the Indian Ocean: Swahili Ships, Swahili Mobilities.” In Michael Pearson (ed.), Trade, Circulation and Flow in the Indian Ocean World, (Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2015).

58 Gerard R.Tibbets, Arab Navigation in the Indian Ocean, p. 237, 221, 234–235, and about the rose wind p. 296.

59 John C.Wilkinson, “Oman and East Africa: new light on Early Kilwan History from the Omani Sources.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 14 (1981): 272–305. John C. Wilkinson, “A Sketch of the Historical Geography of the Trucial Oman down to the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century.” The Geographical Journal 130 (1964): 337–349.

60 Lionel Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World (Princeton University Press, 1971), p. 21 fig.18; and A. Aleem, “History of Indian Navigation in the Indian Ocean,” Special Publication dedicated to Dr.N.K. Panikkar (Marine Biological Association of India, 1973).

61 Randall L. Pouwels, “Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean to 1800: Reviewing relations in Historical Perspective.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 35 (2002): 385–425. See p. 395 for records of slave trade by Arabs in the ninth century.

62 Vernet, “East African Travelers and Traders in the Indian Ocean,” p. 171.

63 Allama Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, The Arab .Navigation (SH. Muhammad Ashraf, 1966), p. 68: Ibn Majid exhorts pilots to follow his work: “You can not possess knowledge / to cheer you in high seas or in tempest / so when misfortune smite you, cling / to my work and my wisdom on every course.”

64 Ibid., p. 88.

65 Ibid., p. 90.

66 Paul Johnstone, The Sea-craft of Prehistory (Routledge, 1980), p. 177.

67 Vernet, “East African Travelers and Traders in the Indian Ocean,” p. 167, 169.

68 Marina Tolmacheva, The Paté Chronicles, edited and translated by Marina Tolmacheva (Michigan University Press, 1993), p. 19 n. 20 and p. 21, 301, 303, 308–310, 314, 318, 320 (MS 358 of the Dar es Salaam University).

69 “Sultan ‘Umar bin Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Sulayman gained great power (and) conquered the towns of the Swahili (coast)—Ozi, Malindi, Kiwayu, Kitao; Miya and Imidhi and Watamu—until he reached Kirimba. He gained possession of all the towns from Pate to Kirimba.” (The Pate Chronicles p. 299.) See also Utendi wa Fumo Liyongo for geographical references.

70 T.A. Chumovsky, Três roteiros desconhecidos de Ahmad Ibn-Madjid o piloto árabe de Vasco da Gama, tradução portuguesa de Myron Malkiel-Jirmounsky (Comissão executiva das comemorações do quinto centenario da morte do infante D. Henrique, 1960), p. 88 (Ms.2292 R.6V).

71 Shamil Jeppie, “Making Book History in Timbuktu.” In Caroline Davies & David Johnson (eds), The Book in Africa: Critical Debates, (Palgrave McMillan, 2015), see Chapter 4.

72 James de Vere Allen, “Swahili Book Production.” Kenya Past and Present 13 (1981): 17–22.

73 Edward Pollard, “The Maritime Landscape of Kilwa Kisiwani and its Region, Tanzania, 11th to 15th Century AD.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 27, n° 3 (2008): 265–280. For the nautical Battle of Sheela c. 1812 see Pate Chronicles.

74 Simplification of the Swahili culture is expressed in Carl Velten, Desturi za Wasuaheli & Sitten und Gebräuche der Suaheli (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1903), p. 335, 338. However, James de Vere Allen refers to a wider influence in terms of “Indian Ocean Culture” and current bibliography revaluates the previous simplification of Swahili culture.

75 Jan Knappert, “Swahili Sailors’ Song.” Afrika und Uebersee 68 (1985): 105-133, see p. 115.

76 Marina Tolmacheva, The Paté Chronicles, edited and translated by Marina Tolmacheva (Michigan University Press, 1993), p. 23.

77 William Hichens, Al-Inkishafi (The Soul’s Awakening), translated and edited by William Hichens (The Sheldon Press, 1939).

78 For a critique to genealogy, museum and society see Beth Lord: Fouccault museum. http://www2.le.ac.ukmuseum-studies, p. 8.

79 Jeffrey Fleisher & Stephanie Wynne-Jones, “Finding Meaning in Ancient Swahili Spatial Practice.” African Archaeological Review 29 (2012): 171–207.

80 James de Vere Allen, “Siyu in the 18th and 19th Centuries.” Transafrican Journal of History 8 (1979): 11–35; Rider Samson, “The Swahili Manuscript Culture,” Manuscript Culture Newsletter 4 (2011): 68–77. Howard Brown, “The Development and Decline of a Swahili Town,” PhD thesis UMI /BIEA, 1987. Lyndon Harries, “Siyu the Chief Seat of Old Swahili Learning.” In Swahili Poetry (Clarendon Press, 1962). In p. 6 refers to the process of writing and fabricating ink in Siyu: “The conventional description of the copyist writing material survived in the prelude to some of the poems long after the copyist had adopted more modern materials for writing. It seems plain that the copyists lined their paper by the use of a board around which was wrapped a silken cord so that parallel ridges could be impressed on the paper. Mica-sand was sprinkled on the writing to dry it. Black ink was made from rice, burned and then ground to power, mixed in water with a little gum, lemon juice and some lamp black. Red ink was made from cinnabar or native Mercuric oxide and was prepared locally from the mzingufuri or mzinjifuri plant (Ar. Zinjafr) Bixa Orellana. Coloured title pieces adorned some of the manuscripts, but generally of rather inferior design and execution. The section of a line or rhyme endings were usually divided or marked by stops. (sw kituo/zituo, or kikomo/ zikomo) though in some manuscripts there is no division at the medial rhyme and a space takes the place of the marked stops, which were shaped by inverted hearts and often lubricated. As with Arabic off course, the Swahili Arabic script is written, and the manuscripts paginated, from right to left.” Howard Brown, “Siyu: Town of Craftmen.” Azania 23 (1988): 101–113, esp. 110–112. Hichens, Al-Inkishafi, p. 122.

81 Elias Saad, “Kilwa Dynastic Historiography: A Critical Study.” History of Africa 6 (1979): 177–207; Randall L. Pouwels, “Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean to 1800”; Rick M. Thomas, “Persian Gulf Seafaring and East Africa: Ninth-Twelfth Centuries.” African Historical Studies 3 (1979): 339–57.

82 Jonathon Gassman, War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar (Indiana University Press, 2011).

83 Cooper, Africa in the World.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Map of Ptolemy
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/321/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 1,3M
Titre Figure 2. The map of Sebastian Münster (1554)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/321/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 2,5M
Titre Figure 3. The Blaeu Map, c. 1664
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/321/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 2,2M
Titre Figure 4. The Map of Hermann Moll 1732 and a detail of the cartouche
Crédits Private Collection Lorenzo Rissini Bizzinelli.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/321/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 3,0M
Titre Figure 5. Manuscript al-Hariri’s Maqamat (MS Arabe 5847 fo.119) dated AD 1237
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/321/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 709k
Titre Figure 6. Cosmological Charts from Timbuktu
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/321/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 863k
Titre Figure 7. The Kilwa Chronicles, Persian Version
URL http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/docannexe/image/321/img-7.png
Fichier image/png, 624k
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Pour citer cet article

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Carla Bocchetti, « Performing Geography in Global History »Les Cahiers d’Afrique de l’Est / The East African Review, 51 | 2016, 77-97.

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Carla Bocchetti, « Performing Geography in Global History »Les Cahiers d’Afrique de l’Est / The East African Review [En ligne], 51 | 2016, mis en ligne le 07 mai 2019, consulté le 28 novembre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/eastafrica/321

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Auteur

Carla Bocchetti

Carla Bocchetti is Researcher at the French Institute for Research in Africa at Nairobi (IFRA) and PhD from the University of Warwick. Her thesis on ekphrasis in Antiquity was published online by Harvard University. She has obtained fellowships at different institutions including the University of Pisa and Harvard. She had for several years teaching and research positions at Bogotá and Lima. Her current interest focuses mainly on Africa in the geographic tradition, and the use of the past in global history. She has published widely on the subject of ancient geography and the classical influence in Latin America.

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Les Cahiers d’Afrique de l’Est / The East African Review

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