Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (African Expressive Cultures)

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9780253019097: Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (African Expressive Cultures)
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On the Swahili coast of East Africa, monumental stone houses, tombs, and mosques mark the border zone between the interior of the African continent and the Indian Ocean. Prita Meier explores this coastal environment and shows how an African mercantile society created a place of cosmopolitan longing. Meier understands architecture as more than a way to remake local space. Rather, the architecture of this liminal zone was an expression of the desire of coastal inhabitants to belong to places beyond their homeports. Here architecture embodies modern ideas and social identities engendered by the encounter of Africans with others in the Indian Ocean world.

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About the Author:

Prita Meier is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Review:

Distinctive and decisive, calmly and elegantly written, this book provides a welcome case study of how the material world is made through a rich range of traveling cultural forms from across the Indian Ocean as a world system. (Isabel Hofmeyr University of the Witwatersrand)

This sophisticated book does much more than show us an Indian Ocean Africa that was the parallel to Atlantic Africa. With great clarity and commitment Prita Meier gives us the world of Swahili port cities that were not only trans-oceanic but trans-continental, places where merchants, slaves, nobles, and sailors met and exchanged ideas, styles, and commodities. Taste and ideas about décor were conspicuously displayed through objects and styles that were literally constructed from the experience of trade and travel in order to bring elsewhere home. (Luise White University of Florida)

Prita Meier has turned the tired question of 'who are the Swahili' on its ear by eschewing essentialist descriptions and showing how Swahili people themselves actively managed their identities locally and beyond, and throughout colonial and national administrations. (Jeffrey Fleisher Rice University)

A groundbreaking architectural history of the Swahili coast, this book beautifully explores issues of cultural translation and the remapping of cultural boundaries. Prita Meier brilliantly demonstrates how the emerging fields of world art history and transcultural studies are coming together to provide new ways of studying the making of art and culture. She documents the way spaces once celebrated as icons of Muslim culture are now imbricated by the ethnic politics of the modern postcolonial nation-state and offers a new model for rethinking cosmopolitanism in the global context of the Indian Ocean. (Salah M. Hassan Cornell University)

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9780253019158: Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (African Expressive Cultures)

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ISBN 10:  025301915X ISBN 13:  9780253019158
Publisher: Indiana University Press, 2016
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Book Description Indiana University Press, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On the Swahili coast of East Africa, monumental stone houses, tombs, and mosques mark the border zone between the interior of the African continent and the Indian Ocean. Prita Meier explores this coastal environment and shows how an African mercantile society created a place of cosmopolitan longing. Meier understands architecture as more than a way to remake local space. Rather, the architecture of this liminal zone was an expression of the desire of coastal inhabitants to belong to places beyond their homeports. Here architecture embodies modern ideas and social identities engendered by the encounter of Africans with others in the Indian Ocean world. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780253019097

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Book Description Indiana University Press, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On the Swahili coast of East Africa, monumental stone houses, tombs, and mosques mark the border zone between the interior of the African continent and the Indian Ocean. Prita Meier explores this coastal environment and shows how an African mercantile society created a place of cosmopolitan longing. Meier understands architecture as more than a way to remake local space. Rather, the architecture of this liminal zone was an expression of the desire of coastal inhabitants to belong to places beyond their homeports. Here architecture embodies modern ideas and social identities engendered by the encounter of Africans with others in the Indian Ocean world. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780253019097

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