War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar

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9780253222800: War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar

The Swahili coast of Africa is often described as a paragon of transnational culture and racial fluidity. Yet, during a brief period in the 1960s, Zanzibar became deeply divided along racial lines as intellectuals and activists, engaged in bitter debates about their nation’s future, ignited a deadly conflict that spread across the island. War of Words, War of Stones explores how violently enforced racial boundaries arose from Zanzibar’s entangled history. Jonathon Glassman challenges explanations that assume racial thinking in the colonial world reflected only Western ideas. He shows how Africans crafted competing ways of categorizing race from local tradition and engagement with the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.

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About the Author:

Jonathon Glassman is Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University. He is author of Feasts and Riot: Revelry, Rebellion, and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856–1888, which was awarded the Herskovits Prize in African Studies.

Review:

"This book is a well-researched and thorough history of the racial and nationalist discourse during the Time of Politics in the Zanzibar Islands.... It is highly recommended for graduate-level courses on race, nationalism, identity, politics, and Zanzibar." ―Islamic Africa



"A boldly conceived and meticulously conducted study that throws down a challenge to the writing of African politics in the twentieth century.... sure to unsettle, provoke, and guide for years to come." ―Pier M. Larson, Johns Hopkins University



"Highly recommended." ―Choice



"This book is a well organized and well written account of Zanzibar's 'time of politics,' a period spanning from the first elections in 1957 until independence in 1963. A critical political and intellectual history, this book is required reading for anyone interested in Tanzania's history. It, moreover, is a valuable contribution to literature on racial thought and relations in Africa that will appeal widely to both scholars and students." ―African Studies Quarterly



"This book is painstakingly researched, providing a compelling portrait of the intricacies of Zanzibari politics in the post-independence period and the historical legacies that shaped those politics. Glassman's theorizing of race in relation to memory, nationalism, and modernity is provocative, raising questions that will certainly stimulate debate." ―American Historical Review



"In this brave and powerful book Glassman shows that African thinking about nationhood wasn't abstract, but sometimes rooted in ideas about history, culture, and physical bodies. And while race and ethnicity were social constructions made on the ground, that ground itself was fissured by claims and disclaims of ancestry and birthplace and by weakened plantation economies and the evictions of squatters. With painstaking care and painful clarity Glassman maps that ground, on which ideas about race and ideas about nation were translated into terror and trauma." ―Luise White, University of Florida



"On the whole, the book is well researched and written, and presents the most comprehensive and rigorous study of popular and intellectual discourses on nationalist politics on the islands.... It is scrongly recommended to whoever wishes to understand Zanzibar's political history from colonial times to the present." ―H-Africa / H-net



"[This] book is first and foremost a political and cultural history of the last decade before independence, whose detailed and finely-depicted intricacies, grounded in numerous archival sources and interviews, are explored... War of Words, War of Stones is of interest not only to historians but also to sociologists, political scientists, and anthropologists interested in unravelling the threads of wide-scale violence." ―Cahiers d'Etudes africaines



"[Achieves] a valuable contribution to the study of political discourse, violence, and the organization of space and social relationships in Zanzibar. More generally... provide[s] interesting discussions of colonialism, power, identity politics and the ideology of modernization." ―Africa



Do non-Western ideas about race derive mostly from European practices and modes of thought? The answer is a convincing 'no' in this dense, thoughtful, sometimes combative work. Historian Glassman (Northwestern Univ.) shows how rising racial tensions plagued Zanzibar's integrative Islamic society in the 1950s and 1960s, culminating in deadly riots (the 'war of stones') in June 1961 and a bloody 1964 coup. Neither primordial nor colonial in origin, Zanzibar's social stratification reflected its economic development from the mid-19th century and postemancipation efforts to maintain the plantation system. Under British rule, struggles over labor, property, identity, and 'civilized' status drew upon subjective memories of violent enslavement, ethnic stereotyping, and fears of criminal disorder. Such 'multiculturalism' lacked tolerance, polarizing Arab islanders and African mainlanders (slave descendants and more recent migrants). Increasingly virulent political debates and rumors, documented in archival sources and a vigorous local press, gave a menacing air to the Time of Politics after 1957. Given Glassman's facility as fieldworker
and Swahili linguist (Feasts and Riot, CH, Nov'95, 33-1674), his decision here to forego oral history will provoke controversy. Nevertheless, along with rethinking racialism, the book advances Africanists' ongoing reassessment of the role of oral evidence. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic and large public libraries; undergraduates
and above. --ChoiceT. P. Johnson, University of Massachusetts, Boston, November 2011



"This book is a towering achievement. Glassman has gone a long way toward setting the record straight about the sources of racial animosity in late colonial Zanzibar.... [T]his immeasurbaly brilliant book... will provide a new benchmark for understanding Zanzibari political history." ―Journal of Historical Geography

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Descrizione libro Indiana University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Swahili coast of Africa is often described as a paragon of transnational culture and racial fluidity. Yet, during a brief period in the 1960s, Zanzibar became deeply divided along racial lines as intellectuals and activists, engaged in bitter debates about their nation s future, ignited a deadly conflict that spread across the island. War of Words, War of Stones explores how violently enforced racial boundaries arose from Zanzibar s entangled history. Jonathon Glassman challenges explanations that assume racial thinking in the colonial world reflected only Western ideas. He shows how Africans crafted competing ways of categorizing race from local tradition and engagement with the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds. Codice libro della libreria CBL9780253222800

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Descrizione libro Indiana University Press, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Swahili coast of Africa is often described as a paragon of transnational culture and racial fluidity. Yet, during a brief period in the 1960s, Zanzibar became deeply divided along racial lines as intellectuals and activists, engaged in bitter debates about their nation s future, ignited a deadly conflict that spread across the island. War of Words, War of Stones explores how violently enforced racial boundaries arose from Zanzibar s entangled history. Jonathon Glassman challenges explanations that assume racial thinking in the colonial world reflected only Western ideas. He shows how Africans crafted competing ways of categorizing race from local tradition and engagement with the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds. Codice libro della libreria CBL9780253222800

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