Swahili Cosmopolitanism in Africa and the Indian Ocean World, A.D. 600–1500

  title={Swahili Cosmopolitanism in Africa and the Indian Ocean World, A.D. 600–1500},
  author={A. Laviolette},
Coastal peoples who lived along the Eastern African seaboard in the first millennium A.D. onwards began converting to Islam in the mid-eighth century. Clearly rooted in and linked throughout to an indigenous regional Iron Age tradition, they created a marked difference between themselves and their regional neighbors through their active engagement with Islam and the expanding Indian Ocean world system. In this paper I explore three ways in which interrelated cultural norms—an aesthetic… 
Modelling the Swahili past: the archaeology of Mikindani in southern coastal Tanzania
The Swahili of the East African coast formed one of the most studied and best known societies of Sub-Saharan African antiquity. The most popular model of Swahili society recognises their roots among
Beyond Commoner and Elite in Swahili Society: Re-Examination of Archaeological Materials from Gede, Kenya
The Swahili communities of the East African coast created one of the best-known societies of precolonial Africa, combining cultural influences from throughout the Indian Ocean world with those of
Africa in the World: (Re)centering African History through Archaeology
  • A. Stahl
  • History
    Journal of Anthropological Research
  • 2014
In early postcolonial decades, scholars of Africa’s pasts turned inward, endeavoring to demonstrate the independence of African achievement from the world. Archaeological research in particular was
East Africa and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean world
The Indian Ocean has long been a forum for contact, trade and the transfer of goods, technologies and ideas between geographically distant groups of people. Another, less studied, outcome of
Developments in Rural Life on the Eastern African Coast, a.d. 700–1500
ABSTRACT The eastern African coast is known for its Swahili “stonetowns.” Archaeological study of stonetowns has overshadowed that of Swahili rural life, and how it reformulated in the context of
The early Swahili trade village of Tumbe, Pemba Island, Tanzania, AD 600–950
Indian Ocean maritime networks have become a special focus of research in recent years, with emphasis not only on the economics of trade but also the movement of domesticated plants and animals (see
East Africa: Dawn of the Swahili Culture
From a linguistic point of view, the “Zanjian” phase appears to be marked not only by a differentiation of the “Proto-Sabaki” language (spoken by Bantus settling between the Tana River and
Beyond the Coastalscapes: Preindustrial Social and Political Networks in East Africa
The archaeological community worldwide now readily recognizes the role and significance of interregional interaction in the development and sustenance of urban societies (e.g., Marcus and Sabloff
Swahili Synoecism: Rural Settlements and Town Formation on the Central East African Coast, A.D. 750–1500
Abstract Archaeological survey in 1999–2000 in the northern part of Pemba Island, Tanzania, has revealed the role of rural settlements in the development of Swahili towns from A.D. 750 to 1500. The
Competition and Ceramics on the East African Coast: Long-Term Perspectives on Nineteenth-Century History at the Swahili Port Town of Mikindani, Tanzania
Abstract The Swahili communities of the East African coast have often been characterized as middlemen, defined by their ability to navigate – often quite literally – the economic networks linking the


The history of early settlement of the East African coast is currently interpreted in widely differing ways. One view takes as its premise the idea that the coast was first colonized from Asia. This
A Review of Swahili Archaeology
The Swahili people have been viewed as of Persian/Arabic or Cushitic-speaking origin. Scholars have used historical and archaeological data to support this hypothesis. However, linguistic and recent
Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa
At first glance, the remote villages of the Kabre people of northern Togo appear to have all the trappings of a classic "out of the way" African culture - subsistence farming, straw-roofed houses,
Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350
In this portrait of world trade before the age of European Hegemony, Janet Abu-Lughod examines global commercial connections among a large number of cities between the years 1250 and 1350. The work
Horn and crescent : cultural change and traditional Islam on the East African coast, 800-1900
List of illustrations and maps Preface List of abbreviations Introduction 1. The roots of a tradition, 800-1500 2. The emergence of a tradition, 900-1500 3. A northern metamorphosis, 1500-1800
Swahili Archaeology and History on Pemba, Tanzania: A Critique and Case Study of the Use of Written and Oral Sources in Archaeology
In this chapter I explore the use of historical documents by archaeologists working on the Swahili coast of eastern Africa. I focus on one central region, Pemba-northernmost of Tanzania’s three major
Transnational Connections: Culture, People, Places
This work provides an account of culture in an age of globalization. Ulf Hannerz argues that, in an ever-more interconnected world, national understandings of culture have become insufficient. He
Reorient Global Economy in the Asian Age
Andre Gunder Frank asks us to re-orient our views away from Eurocentrism - to see the rise of the West as a mere blip in what was, and is again becoming, an Asia-centered world. In a bold challenge
The Swahili: The Social Landscape of a Mercantile Society
Introduction. 1. The Swahili Coast. 2. Origins. 3. The Acceptance of Islam. 4. The Swahili Coast and the Indian Ocean World. 5. The Trading System of the Swahili Coast. 6. The Urban Landscape. 7. The
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the usefulness of the study of settlement patterns and spatial analysis as methods of interpreting and analysing archaeological information from the sites