INDIAN OCEAN CULTURAL HISTORIES: ABOVE AND BELOW THE WATER LINE
Professor Isabel Hofmeyr, Department of African Literature and WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand and English Department, New York University; Dr Charne Lavery, Department of English, University of Pretoria and WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand
The Indian Ocean provides a new way of looking at world history that has been dominated by European accounts. As the world’s oldest long-distance trans-oceanic trading arena, it is sometimes known as the cradle of globalisation. It is also a storied sea – as historian Sugata Bose writes, the Indian Ocean is ‘enmeshed with its poetry and in some ways propelled by it’. This cosmopolitan world has long fascinated scholars and has become a vibrant domain of research in the arts and humanities. Yet the research until recently has had little to say about the sea itself. Its focus is on ways of representing human movement with the ocean as a passive backdrop. In the age of rising sea levels and climate change, it is important to bring material and ecological points of view into our readings of art, literature and culture. These lectures will survey both the older and the newer forms of Indian Ocean cultural studies, of both surface and depth.
1. Indian ocean histories above the water line Professor Isabel Hofmeyr
2. Indian ocean culture below the water line Dr Charne Lavery
Hofmeyr, I. 2010. Universalizing the Indian Ocean. PMLA/Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 125:3, 721–729.
Lavery, C. 2020. Diving into the Slave Wreck: The São José Paquete d’Africa and Yvette Christiansë’s Imprendehora, Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies, 6:4, 269–283.