Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture Of Elsewhere by Prita MeierSwahili Port Cities: The Architecture Of Elsewhere by Prita Meier

Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture Of Elsewhere

byPrita Meier

Paperback | April 25, 2016

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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.

Prita Meier is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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Title:Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture Of ElsewhereFormat:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:April 25, 2016Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:025301915X

ISBN - 13:9780253019158

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Place In-Between
1. Difference Set in Stone: Place and Race in Mombasa
2. A "Curious" Minaret: Sacred Place and the Politics of Islam
3. Architecture Out of Place: The Politics of Style in Zanzibar
4. At Home in the World: Living with Transoceanic Things
Conclusion: Trading Places
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

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.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.