War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in by Jonathon Glassman

By Jonathon Glassman

The Swahili coast of Africa is frequently defined as a paragon of transnational tradition and racial fluidity. but, in the course of a short interval within the Sixties, Zanzibar grew to become deeply divided alongside racial traces as intellectuals and activists, engaged in sour debates approximately their nation's destiny, ignited a perilous clash that unfold around the island. confrontation, battle of Stones explores how violently enforced racial obstacles arose from Zanzibar's entangled background. Jonathon Glassman demanding situations reasons that suppose racial pondering within the colonial international mirrored purely Western rules. He indicates how Africans crafted competing methods of categorizing race from neighborhood culture and engagement with the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.

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The most successful of the Omani intruders were merchant princes skilled at blending trade interests with the politics of force, adventurers who saw East Africa as a field that remained open to their ambitions even when political intrigues limited them at home. In the second half of the eighteenth century Omani intrusion entered a new phase, in part the result of political instability in Oman. The Yarubi dynasty fell in 1749 and was replaced by rulers from the rival Busaid clan. But the new dynasts were not immediately recognized by the Omanis who held power on the East African coast, many of whom had begun to marry locally and es- 28 / Introduction !

So although on Pemba the boundaries between Omanis and islanders were more relaxed than on Un- The Creation of a Racial State / 37 guja, the same could not be said about relations there between slaves and those who were freeborn. 31 The above discussion suggests how something like a geography of ethnic difference had begun to emerge by the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Each island’s particular experience of Omani rule and economic development had led to different practices of ethnic identification.

His ineffective successor as mwinyi mkuu, who outlived him by only a few years, was the last to hold the title; he died under the rule of the most powerful of the sultans, 32 / Introduction Barghash bin Said (r. 1870–1888). This marked the end of the ­Wahadimu’s relative political autonomy. 19 The Busaids had anyhow always forbidden Unguja’s indigenous populace from planting cloves. 20 Those who accepted the label took pride in being descended from the clients of a Shirazi nobleman, as distinct from most other low-­status islanders (that is, slaves).

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