Indian ocean studies would be a good start – indian ocean critical studies
Atlantic ocean, middle passage, why slavery happened in other palces, focus on places other than atlantic
The red atlantic and find stuff about the indian ocean
A sole focus on the Atlantic locks their method into a clear demarcation of the slave as the opposite of freedom – that ignores the possibility of mobility embodied in the Indian Ocean slave trade
Hofmeyr 07 (Isabel Hofmeyr, Professor of African Literature at Witwatersrand University, A journal of African studies, 33:2, 3-32, “The Black Atlantic Meets the Indian Ocean: Forging New Paradigms of Transnationalism for the Global South – Literary and Cultural Perspectives” http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02533950708628759)
As the discussion of Campbell (2004a & 2004b) has already indicated, the Indian Ocean makes a difference to the question of 'who is a slave' or, put in different terms, understandings of the relationship of slavery and freedom. In this regard, the Atlantic model has become invisibly normative. The state of slave and free are clearly demarcated and, furthermore, racialized. This starkness plays itself out in a number of domains. In much political theorization, notions of subjectivity, sovereignty, autonomy and freedom tend to pivot on the idea that slavery and freedom are neatly separable states. This absolute distinction is also apparent in traditions of anti-colonial thinking and the hydraulic paradigms of domination and resistance to which these give rise. In such analyses, the domain of ruler and ruled, oppressor and oppressed, are apparently distinct and legible. Slavery in the Indian Ocean is more complex: the line between slave and free is constantly shifting and changing. As Campbell argues (2004b), the bulk of slaves in the Indian Ocean were generally not located in plantation settings and were instead integrated into households. The possibilities for mobility or manumission were consequently greater. Debt slavery or pawning of a lineage member were also strategies followed in times of catastrophe, such as drought or famine. The hope, however, was that these conditions were not permanent. The meanings of freedom and slavery, then, are complex and shifting. Such reminders are useful in a post-apartheid context where the glamour of narratives of domination and resistance has worn thin. Indeed such narratives are now being rehabilitated as part of an official state history. As political theorists have shown elsewhere in the continent, our understandings of power need to be more complex than this binary idea implies. Achille Mbernbe's work has demonstrated the intimate co-habitation of ruler and ruled (2001). Similarly, other political theorists like Jean-Francois Bayart (1993) and Patrick Chabal and Jean-Pascal Daloz (1999) have critiqued excessive dichotomisations of African society into popular and elite, high and low. Whatever the asymmetries of power between these groups, they are still linked by populist networks of clientilism and dependency. Understanding political discourse and action, then, becomes a task of understanding a complex layered precolonial, colonial and postcolonial archive in which versions of modernity are negotiated in an ever-shifting set of idioms around 'tradition: One area of Africa that provides a particularly rich source for understanding such interactions is the Swahili Coast. Here, as Jonathan Glassman (1994) brilliantly demonstrates, a range of constituencies - inland societies, Islamic Swahili patrician families, an urban crowd made up of slave and plebeians, all under the rule of the Omani sultans - shaped a series of cosmopolitan public cultures that revolved around the politics of reputation and the contested terrain of public reciprocity and display. In these ritual displays, power itself - for example, patriarchy - was not directly challenged; rather, its meanings, rights and obligations were contested. Colonial intervention was a belated entrant in this complex world and had to accommodate itself to the contours carved out in many centuries of Indian Ocean interaction.
Counter-monuments fail because they posit the monument as a representation of the event that they claim cannot be represented
Lupu 03 (Noam Lupu, Volume 15, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2003 pp. 130-164 | 10.1353/ham.2003.0010, “Memory Vanished, Absent, and Confined: The Countermemorial Project in 1980s and 1990s Germany”)
The countermonument as representation thus becomes no more than an attenuation of the monument as representation. It was conceived to escape the didacticism of the monument, as Young states: A monument against fascism, therefore, would have to be a monument against itself, against the traditionally didactic function [End Page 142] of monuments, against their tendency to displace the past they would have us contemplate--and finally, against the authoritarian propensity in monumental spaces that reduces viewers to passive spectators. 53 Yet as Rogoff has argued, the Gerzes' countermonument fails to eliminate didacticism, or even to create a new didacticism in which the relationship between spectator and monument would escape the dialectic of presence/ absence: We are still, albeit in a far more attenuated and speculative way, within a trajectory of a presence/absence, since all of the activity of eliciting a response from the viewer hinges on the existence of some form of presence which triggers off re-memory. Though these presences may be partial, self-negating, vanishing, transparent or selfdestructing, although they are enormously self-conscious about both the form and process of commemorative activity, nevertheless they begin this work through staging it, in and around and through a concrete entity. 54 The physical space of the Gerzes' monument is a necessary presence for the production of the Denkmal-Arbeit it seeks to trigger. The countermonument has not done away with didacticism for it too attempts to evoke a specific narrative, albeit one that is more attuned to the conflicted discourse of the memory of fascism. This didacticism involves the monument as narrator of an event, a representation of the very event that the countermemorial project claims cannot be meaningfully represented. For it is only by the presence of the physical monument, the Schandsäule itself--or, after 1993, the presence of its absence--that the countermonument can succeed. It is therefore unsurprising that the Harburg public would envision the Gerzes' monument as an abstracted version of conventional monuments and anchor their reception within the same discourse of metaphoric representations.
Their strict orientation to the past restricts new possibilities for reimatination and reinvestment of indigenous ways of being
Crum 06 (Steven Crum, Department of Native American Studies, University of California, Davis, review of “Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought” http://search.proquest.com/docview/755052885?pq-origsite=summon, Great Plains Research16.1 (Spring 2006): 109-110.)
One element of Red Pedagogy is its insistence that Native Americans in general, including indigenous scholars, and non-Natives need to critique, challenge, and even reject dominant modes of thought that have been applied to indigenous populations for years. Grande provides solid evidence that some Native scholars are currently challenging older paradigms. For example, Taiaiake Alfred, a Mohawk political scientist, questions the modern-day usage and practice of "sovereignty" that includes voting politics. According to Alfred, Native Americans should return to indigenous forms of sovereignty, including tribal consensus of opinion rather than Euro-American voting. Another facet of Red Pedagogy is its directive that once Native Americans emancipate themselves from the old notions, they need to fill the void by creating new indigenous ones. Some Native scholars, Grande contends, are already pursuing this venture, offering the example of Chippewa intellectual Gerald Vizenor who popularized the term "Survivance." The term specifies that Native American existence over the centuries has been much more than just a story of simple survival. Rather, it is an account of survivance which, according to Grande, includes "the active recovery, reimagination, and reinvestment of indigenous ways of being." Although providing no in-depth discussion of this quote, she is without doubt referring to Native American populations who have revived Native art forms, ceremonies, and other aspects of culture that have been dormant for decades or even centuries due to Euro-American assimilationist policies
We have to consider events before and after the oceanic leg of the Middle Passage
Alpers 07 (Edward A. Alpers, The Other Middle Passage: The African Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean, in Many Middle Passages: Forced Migrations and the making of the Modern World, edited by Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus, and Marcus Rediker, University of California Press pg. 20 - 38)
THE MIDDLE PASSAGE, traditionally presented as the most traumatic moment in the entire slave trade, has assumed iconographic significance for many diasporic Africans in the Black Atlantic) As Colin Palmer concludes: The Middle Passage was more than just a shared physical experience for those who survived it. It was and is a metaphor for the suffering of African peoples born of their enslavement, of severed ties, of longing for a lost homeland, of a forced exile. . . . It is a living and wrenching aspect of the history of the peoples of the African diaspora, an inescapable part of their present impossible to erase or exorcise. A gruesome reminder of things past, it is simultaneously a signifier of a people's capacity to survive and to refuse to be vanquished.' As in the larger historiography of the African slave trade, the Atlantic dominates both the evidence for and the literature of the middle passage. However, there is no evidence that the middle passage in the Indian Ocean occupies the kind of central role in collective memory that Palmer describes for the African diaspora, although persistent recollections bear witness that Africa is still a presence in many of these communities. My intention is to bring a measure of balance to this historiography by examining evidence from eastern Africa in order to shed some light on the middle passage in the Indian Ocean. In addition, I contend that the sea 20 voyage from Africa west to the Americas or east across the Indian Ocean was only one leg of the traumatic journey that forcibly removed free Africans from their homes in Africa to their ultimate destinations. Indeed, I believe that it is a mistake to restrict analyses of the middle passage only to oceanic passages, assuming that enslaved Africans embarked from the African coast as though they were leaving their native country, when in fact their passage from freedom into slavery actually began with the moment in which they were swept up by the economic forces that drove the slave trade deep into the African interior. I also seek to demonstrate that the middle passage encompasses a much more complex set of forced migrations than is usually assumed. From the moment they were seized and began their movement to the coast, captive Africans had to begin the process of personal survival and cultural adjust-ment associated with the diaspora. They learned new languages, received new names, ate new foods, and forged new bonds among themselves before they ever had to adjust fully to the work of slavery or the conditions of liberation. I will illustrate how some of these processes worked by presenting an album of individual experiences—of capture, enslavement, and movement to the coast and then across the water—from nineteenth-century eastern Africa. All these accounts refer to events at the height of the slave trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and must be understood as products of the abolitionist movement.
moment of their seizure to the point of their sale at the coast, but others had to learn new languages in moving from the interior to their ultimate destinations, and some lost their mother tongues altogether. Thus, Peon Kilekwa learned Nyasa, and the Nyasa boy learned Yao and had begun to learn Swahili, even as he forgot his own language. Their experiences con- firm what is known from other sources about the importance of language acquisition in the Angloan slave trade, for example, where Kimhundn became a lingua franca for captives on the long passage from the interior W the coast.16 With the exception of the Makua woman from Cabaceira who was seized near the coast, the one element missing in these particular narratives is the experience of being held at the coast in barracoons, or holding pens, which many contemporary sources reported at the coast. Indeed, the need for captives to communicate among themselves under these circumstances also would have encouraged a process of language change.tr Taken together, these adjustments during the initial period of capture and transportation are significant because they anticipate the larger processes of adaptation that came to dominate African cultures in the diaspora.
Recent scholarship on the Atlantic slave trade suggests that, rather than being a caesura that separated Africans in the diaspora from all meaningful Africa cultural memory, the middle passage represents an extension of adaptations already begun in Africa from the time of initial capture and a transition to those that would evolve in the different places of the diaspora. For example, the Nigerian historian Okun Uya speaks of new ties during that cruel journey and gives as evidence a variety of names signifying a kindship born of sharing the experience of the middle passage. This phenomenon, I would add, more generally reflects a kind of fictive kinship that also served to incorporate strangers including slaves into African family structures. In the case of the Kiungani children, such community was found, if not during the middle passage, then in their common experience within the community created by the UMCA on Zanzibar. For cargoes that included captives from more than a single language group, as was usually the case, the process of learning other languages, both African and European, would also have continued during the middle passage. In other words, for those who survived the middle passage, the likelihood is that they would already have begun a process of cultural transformation that we can call creolization, or hybridization, before leaving the ship, a process that, as I have suggested, began even before they left the continent. In the case of the mission boys whose stories I have examined here, that process seems to have ended with their Christianization and their adaptation of a different kind of life that was based, at least in part, on their acceptance of a mixture of British missionary and East African coastal Ci.e., Swahili) social and cultural norms. Similarly yet differently, Swema found her family within the Catholic order into which she was admitted as a novice. While there is no equivalent for the Indian Ocean trade to the kind of maritime and commercial record-keeping for the Atlantic trade that has allowed sophisticated computer analysis, the available evidence clearly indicates that the middle passage was not much different to the east of the Cape of Good Hope. Conditions on board both European and Arab ships were wretched, and mortality rates for the French slave trade to Mauritius in the last decades of the eighteenth century resembled those for the Atlantic trade.19 As Medina's brief glimpses indicate, despite the horrific, deliberately dehumanizing conditions of the middle passage, enslaved Africans did not always surrender meekly to the inevitability of their bondage, Indeed, the same spirit of resistance that she records is evident in the testimony of one Mariamo Halli, a seventeen-year-old Comorian woman from Ngazidja who was kidnapped by a group of Comorian soldiers from the rival island of Nzwani. Their first night at sea, the vessel in which she and about thirty other captives were being transported was forced to take shelter at Mwali by a storm, and because they had neither food nor water, the ship's captain went ashore to replenish their supplies: "We heard him say referring to us: They are only children and will be afraid to leave in this strange place.' The moment they were out of sight, I and four of my companions jumped over- board and waded on shore and ran inland till we came to some woods."2o Historians now know that shipboard revolts were a much more significant factor in affecting the patterns and practice of the Atlantic slave trade than has previously been imagined.21 While the evidence is hardly comparable for the Indian Ocean, one record that survives shows that on January 2 3 , I 788, enslaved Makua on board the French ship La Licome staged a revolt while still in sight of land. Although this uprising was subdued in an hour and the leader thrown into the sea, it signaled an endemic problem of the slave trade.22 Indeed, like their Atlantic counterparts, French slave traders embraced ethnic stereotypes about the docility or aggressiveness of different African groups. Thus, according to Fpidariste Colin, writing about different Africans who were available for purchase at the slave market of Mozambique Island in t 804, the Makua are almost always those who instigate shipboard revolts, and it is necessary to watch them carefully "23.
Their claims of homogenization are flawed – they did not lose their original culture only acquired new elements through interaction with other cultures
Alpers 07 (Edward A. Alpers, The Other Middle Passage: The African Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean, in Many Middle Passages: Forced Migrations and the making of the Modern World, edited by Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus, and Marcus Rediker, University of California Press pg. 20 - 38)
What I am suggesting is that enslaved Africans, whether they actively resisted their subjugation through revolt or simply endured the trials and tribulations of the middle passage, did not lose their awareness of being human and of sharing a common experience, whether they thought of themselves as African" or not. Depending on whether they were enslaved as adults or children, and whether their trip overland from their home area had direct or interrupted by the hinds of residencies described in several freed-slave narratives, their sense of identity may already have begun to change or at the very least, have become complicated by their experiences en route to the coast and aboard ship. Put plainly, the middle passage effaced neither what the Africans brought with them from their indigenous cultural heritage nor those elements of other cultures that they acquired in this process, including the middle passage. Like Africans who were transported across the Atlantic or Sahara, those who arrived at their Indian Ocean destination were armed with their own cultural inheritance (however damaged or affected) and the experience or cultural exchange and adjustment that they had learned from the moment of their capture to the moment of their arrival at the first of their external destinations.
Moorthy and Jamal 10(Shanti Moorthy and Ashraf Jamal, “Introduction: New Conjuctures in Maritime Imaginaries” in Indian Ocean Studies, Cultural, Social, and Political Perspectives, edited by Moorthy and Jamal, Taylor and Francis, published 2010, pgs. 1-31)
So what exactly does Indian Ocean studies entail? Our focus is the Indian Ocean region, by which we mean the ocean itself, its littoral and hinterland, fully embedded in the global, and viewed from the perspective of contemporary human interests, human histories, human movements. This region encompasses Africa’s southern and eastern coasts, Michael Pearson’s Afrasian Sea, thecoasts of the Arabian Peninsula and South Asia, the Malay archipelago (encroaching on the South China Sea), and the northern and western coasts of Australia. We propose that the Indian Ocean region possesses an internal commonality which enables us to view it as an area in itself: commonalities of history, geography, merchant capital and trade, ethnicity, culture, and religion. This we contrast to Sugata Bose’s notion of an “interregional arena.” While usefully raising the possibility of viewing the Indian Ocean region as a human theatre which occupies interstices and straddles several regions, “interregionalism” runs the risk of diminishing the Indian Ocean region as a unique space, locking it into being a region between more signigficant regions, overshadowed by the concerns of nations with fixed borders and orchestrated histories, and continents that dominate by virtue of sheer mass. We prefer to treat the Indian Ocean region as one, among many, liminal spaces of hybrid evolution, an area whose boundaries are both moveable and porous, which brings us close to Devleena Ghosh and Stephen Muecek’s notion of transnational imaginative geography. As Erik Gilbert notes, “Where are boatss and trade, the sea connets more than it divides.” Area studes, popularized in the aftermath of the partition of the world between Cold War ideologues following the end of World War II, was the subject of such castigation by centre-Left intellectuals such as Edward Said. Viewed as a thinly disguised North American sponsored modernization of the old Orientalist marriage between knowledge and power, or rather knowledge in service of power,33 it reified artificial geopolitco-cultural boundaries, for the convenience of discourse, up until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. 34 Not to cast the baby out with the proverbial bath water, area studies being the study of non-Western societies, while guilty of gross oversimplifications and undue subservience to patriotic ideology, also served to democratize or internationalise the social sciences. Area studies treated as authentic the objects of their study, despite the fevered paranoia of liberalism seeking to identify potential friends or foes, or capitalist quest for possible sources of raw materials and markets. Furthermore, area studies interrogated the separation between disciplines in the social sciences, an interrogation we foster in this volume. In constituting the Indian Ocean region as a contemporary object of study, it is not our purpose to serve the interests of hegemonic power, be they political or economic. Where the invaluable scholarship of Arif Dirlik, for instance, constitutes the Pacific Rim as a site of indigenous contestation to the distant hegemony of either the United States or Japan,35 we are placed now at the interregnum of several world orders. By this we mean that, rather than subscribing to Francis Fukuyama's imaginary of global neoliberalism or the end-of-history as desirable and already attained, Immanuel Wallerstein's; apocalyptic prophecies of the impending collapse of the current world-system36 seems more immediate, the hysteria of the world press notwithstanding. In the chaotic years of 2007 and 2008, we see the culmination of the fiscal unravelling set in motion with the end of the Bretton Woods Accord, the Thatcher/Reaganite market deregulation and abandonment of the welfare state of the 1970s and 1980s, the end of new markets, and increasing competition for fuel, natural resources, and water. Like Nikolai Kondratieff37 before him, Wallerstein believes that crises 38 are inscribed into the very nature of capitalism. In such uncertain times, the notion of resistance, in the Dirlik sense39 (admittedly he was writing in 19941,40 becomes not only futile,41 but irrelevant.42 Leaving aside consideration of the mobility and fixity43 of heartless capitalism, it is our belief that the indigenes of the Indian Ocean littoral today experience no anxiety at the penetration of exogenous cultural capi- tal, unlike Western anthropologists who bemoan the vanishing of authentic indigenous cultures. If Pacific Islanders now embrace hif3 hof), who are we to force the hula on them? And if, as Gordon Hughes says, "one of the les- sons of history is that cultures progress by bastardization,"44 history reveals that exogenous cultures have been and are, by and large, successfully indigenised or resisted.45 As a mode of discourse, our recourse to area studies is neither a newer Orientalism nor a means of "minoritarian" cultural reclamation or rehabilitation, which perhaps leaves us open to accusations, not unfamiliar to practitioners of cultural studies, of celebratory elitism or Political vacillation. Our defence is this: there is no question of the Indian Ocean rim being either numerically, bistorically, or culturally minoritarian. To admit to a centre-periphery discourse is to reify its binaries, which is where we part company from our esteemed colleagues Ghosh and Muecke, who in that context propose the contemporary Indian Ocean world as a set of transnational relations alternative to hegemonic northern globalization. Much blood has been shed – from the Birmingham School, Edward Said, the Subaltern Studies Group onwards – to bring us to the crest of this battle for a place in the public area; as we reap the benefits of the work of our predecessors, the battle concerning affirmation and redress is now in the public space; to continue to go over old ground locks us in the self-defeating logic of always being at the margins, a position we renounce in the name of Indian Ocean studies. Where Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, both French poststructuralists, have unmasked systems of knowledge mediated by the cnetre, emergent discourse occurring in the current era need no longer subscribe to a plaintive and outmoded hermeneutics of suspicion. It is impossible for us to return to the naivete that had our forefathers swallowing Macaulay’s infamous Minute over a century ago. Alert, conversely, to the dangers of Occidentalism and the inversion of binaries, we celebrate the many cross-pollinations that have and are occurring across the Indian Ocean, resulting in successful hybridity both at the macro- and microscopic level. We have no investment in the fixity of ethnocultural essentialisms, regardless of their geopolitical origin. Hermeneutic aggression matures into a conditional quietism, a confidence that critiques the celebratory subalternism of the Indian Ocean as arbitrarily assigned and demeaning; we should ask, subaltern to whom, as we keep the language of revolution at the ready in our armamentarium: our apparent aestheticism should not be mistaken for asthenia.
A rehabilitated area studies enables the study of human activity and preoccupations in a specific region, in the engagements of cultural studies with the vernacular practices of everyday life. While we are wary of the dangers of cultural groupings and universalisms that fail to recognize heterogeneity, we reject the nihilism of what Clifford Geertz warns is postmodern skepticism that leaves us with little to say, save that difference is difference. He urges an explicit recognition of diversity not as a negation of similarity but as comprising it, locating it, concretizing it, giving it form and delicately balances that position, precariously for a structuralist, against reducing heterogeneity to so many lumps of sameness marked out by the limits of consensus. Nonetheless, in modernity’s dissimulation between the public and private performative aspects of identity or difference, we are still left with its palpability, or, in Charles Taylor’s sense, a deep diversity. Postmodern conceptualizations of diversity and the Anglo-American identity revolutions of the 1970s have facilitated critique of the failure of modernity, in its political manifestation as liberal secularism, to provide
"minoritarian" recourse to the public sphere: the promise of "difference blindness" ultimately becoming culturally and ideologically coercive. The current heated debate in Europe-and particularly in France, where the rise of antitraditional humanism, which contests cultural heterogeneity as leading to many exclusionary microfascismss6 with a necessary renegotiation of the social contract between state, public culture, citizen, and var ous monist-materialist or identitarian communities-cannot be translated to the contemporary Indian Ocean world. Postmodern radical subjectivities, fragmentary identities, depersonalization or evacuation of selfhood and antihumanism, while valuable interrogations of the Western bourgeois subject, are not so useful in the context of Indian Ocean studies. Here, against a background of failed and corrupt postcolonial states, inequitable global trade practices, evolving industrialization, disease and hunger, the concerns of identity politics appear narcissistic,s7 even while the Postmodern embrace of the "irrational" may usefully converge with a non-Western world view. Any discussion of diversity then becomes politically loaded, in the sense that a awareness of heterogeneity imposed or constructed from outside the Indian Ocean region, by Western-trained academia, may Prove to be condescending, misleading, culturally alien, and divisive. It was indeed the aim of modern colonialism to divide and rule, to sequester "tyPes," to annihilate hybridity;ss this is an intellectual position we would Prefer not to reiterate' C_onversely, if hybridity as contingency has become the somewhat hackneyed cliche of a late-twentieth-century neo-Bloomsbury intellectual Posturing that posits itself as being both fashionable and marginal, a marginality of privilege, this notion of hybridity has no Place in Indian Ocean studies' ' Henco e it would emerge that Geertz's view of diversity, despite its worthy connotations of recognition and respect, may, on closer examination, turn out to be subject to a culturally specific liberalism, Posing as universalism or cultural neutrality, privileging certain modes of being or seeing'59 Thus, while affirming the dual themes of integration and fragmentation,6o it iS important, in our opinion, to see heterogeneity in the Indian Ocean context as adically different, more deeply nuanced, more widely accePted a Priori within theregion and certainly more traditional in its connectedness to the past. `Where istorical secularism in the West ultimately failed to accom- odate diversity, despite its foundational Premise, heterogeneity has been an immutable ft of'life in the Indian Ocean world, assailed now by the advent of Western-style modernity (with its concomitant intolerances) and nation_states. All of which, as Amitav Ghosh Puts it, comPels everyone to "travel in the WeSt."61 As Indian Ocean Populations transit, negotiate, and indigtenise modernity and its discontents, it is necessary that we who inhabit and are formed by historically Western discourse and production of meanings, acknowledge with humility that there is much that we can netierh comprehend nor define; we must remember that being,ultimately, transcends identity or essence.
In a heterogeneous Indian Ocean world, Michael Perason rhetorically sums up the dilemma facing analysts, The central question is whter indeed there s such a thing as an Indian Ocean which can be studied, analysie and used as a heuristic tool just like say a state or a village. Here, area studies as methodology, emerges as an instance of contingent strategic essentialism, mooted by Gayatari Spivak, along with her more recent critical regionalism. Area studies becomes a springboard, alloing cultural studies to negotiate a convergence between extremes, between the abstractions of political theory and international relations and the thick descroptions of ehnography, anthropology, and archival history, to produce new conjunctures.
Without diminishing the importance of regional history or transregional commerce in the Indian Ocean, self-admitted preoccupations for Ghosh and Muecke, movement as a trope is our central referent, as a means of interrogating older forms of area studes. We take hybridity as new and alays universal, remaning alert ot our responsibilities to both being and difference, as comprising a series of moving vecotrs, after James Clifford: For the region called ‘Europe’ has been constantly remade and traversed, by influences from its borders (Blaut, 1993; Menocal, 1987). And is not this interactive process relevant, in varying degrees, to any local, national, or regional domain? Virtually everywhere one looks, the processes of human movement and encounter are long-establisehd and complex. Cultural centres, discrete regions and territories, do not exist prior to contacts, but are sustained through them, appropriating and disciplinging the restless movements or people and things. Our study of the Indian Ocean region yields no hermetically sealed arenas, stable populations, magisterial formulations, or unchanging cultures, in a marked departure from the confident assumptions of mid-twentieth-century area studies. We find instaed so many concentric and overlapping Venn diagrams that elude dreduction, in deep calling unto ddep heterogeneity. Our view fromt eh ocean completely inverts the land- and continent approach of older
While area studies appears to inhere in the notion of Indian Ocean studies, this in no way diminishes the region’s global interconnectedness, either now or throughout history. In fact, as a paradign, the Indian Ocean region mediates between the expansive homogeneity of the global and the minutiae of the local in its rooted particularity. Furthermore, the Indian Ocean as the cradle of human globalization served as a testing ground for the integration into the international economy of a provincial Western Europe, newly emergent from the throes of eight hundred years of Carolingian feudalism. The Indian Ocean still today, along with the Pacific Rim, serves as the telos of global capital, production, and consumption.
So while area studies provides the close-ups, world system analysis pans out to the long view, the panoptic the longue duree, brrowed from Fernand Braudel. In this it avoids arbitrary periodization, and rehabilitates the once discredited telling of world histories, previously consigned to the dump heap of glibness. The camera pans out and we see the weave of the patterns of historical cucles, the particular and the general intertwined. In this three-dimensional polyphonic and perspectival sequence of world history, British rule in India, lasting a mere ninety years, appears almost inconsequential beside centuries of, for example, the Mongol-Moghul-Ottoman dominance of China, India, Cnetral Asia, and Byzantium.
Reorienting significance and temporality features large in Andre Gunder Frank 's application of world system analysis, advocating one, rather than many, w [d systems.75 This not only restores the Indian Ocean world to its place in the panoply of human history, but allows this region to be treated as a unit for analysis in a contemporary world which Frank propose has always een international, economically intefrated and globally interconnected. In this context, the answer to Edward Lorenz’s question – Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set of a tornado in Teaxas – would be Yes.
Wallerstien’s approach has ben denounced as the inverted Orientalism of ahistorical American liberalism. His position provides no explanation, for instance, of the Bullion Panic of the late seventeenth century. In contrast, Frank’s world system analysis is far more democratic, as he integrates, what he terms Afro-Eurasia, both past and present , in a unified analysis that reveals long and short cycles of economic ascendancy and decline, in a manner that confounds linear Eurocentric causal history. Frank envisages so many parallel areans and histories, which, without privileging, Europe, allows the Indian Ocean reigon to emerge, though not unscathed, from its temporary decline in the colonial ear. He decentres the notion of the centre by making the centre appear mobile, contingent, and simulacra, with an always highly contested, slippery grip on power. Furthermore, his anlysis unmasks the ideological investment bolstering contemporary theories of globalization, in their need to appear both global or universal, and also new. The preoccupation with novelty, the need for newnewss and the break with the past is another consequence of early modern Enlightenment, which Friedrich Nietzsche deftly exposes as fallacious.