Eye on Africa is a weekly seminar series that provides scholars, policy-makers, applied practitioners, students, and the interested public with cutting-edge and highly-contextualized knowledge about the African continent.
Spring 2017 Speaker Schedule (PDF)
Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.*
*(Please confirm as individual dates and times may change)
International Center, Room 201
Emerging and established scholars share the results of their recent research, with time for audience questions and comments. The series draws on a diverse group of presenters to create an inclusive, holistic view of African history, social movements, the economy, and politics.
Jeremy Prestholdt, Professor of African and Global History at the University of California, San Diego.
"Basin Consciousness: African and the idea of the Indian Ocean."
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 11:00-12:30pm Room 201 International Center
Jeremy Prestholdt is Professor of African and Global History at the University of California, San Diego. His focus is eastern Africa with emphases on politics and consumer culture. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Icons of Dissent: The Global Resonances of Che, Marley, Tupac and Bin Laden (Oxford University Press and Hurst Publishers) and Domesticating the World: African Consumerism and the Genealogies of Globalization (University of California Press, 2008). His current research addresses the politicization of ethnic, racial, and religious identities in coastal Kenya, and he is completing a manuscript on the 1840 journey of the Sultan of Zanzibar’s flagship to New York.
About the talk:
This talk will explore the utility of the Indian Ocean as an idea since the late colonial era. The Indian Ocean has been a valuable discursive object within and beyond the region, but its discursive value has changed significantly since the 1960s. For instance, during particular conjunctures people along Africa's Indian Ocean rim have imagined coastal identity as an alternative social identity and political lever. Yet, they have done so differently, for different reasons, and with varied consequences. To better appreciate the sociopolitical utility of the Indian Ocean as an idea, the talk develops the notion of basin consciousness: a variegated mode of thought that has reflected dimensions of imperial and national strategic thinking but has also been informed by popular perceptions of historical connectivity. The presentation will pay particular attention to the links between political culture and basin consciousness in postcolonial East Africa.