ISBN 9789987083176
Pages 404
Dimensions 229 x 152mm
Published 2018
Publisher Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Tanzania
Format Paperback

Social Memory, Silenced Voices, and Political Struggle

Remembering the Revolution in Zanzibar

edited by William Cunningham Bissell, Marie-Aude Fouéré

This volume focuses on the cultural memory and mediation of the 1964 Zanzibar revolution, analyzing it’s continuing reverberations in everyday life. The revolution constructed new conceptions of community and identity, race and cultural belonging, as well as instituting different ideals of nationhood, citizenship, sovereignty. As the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the revolution revealed, the official versions of events have shifted significantly over time and the legacy of the uprising is still deeply contested. In these debates, the question of Zanzibari identity remains very much at stake: Who exactly belongs in the islands and what historical processes brought them there? What are the boundaries of the nation, and who can claim to be an essential part of this imagined and embodied community?

Political belonging and power are closely intertwined with these issues of identity and history—raising intense debates and divisions over precisely where Zanzibar should be situated within the national order of things in a postcolonial and interconnected world. Attending to narratives that have been overlooked, ignored, or relegated to the margins, the authors of these essays do not seek to simply define the revolution or to establish its ultimate meaning. Instead, they seek to explore the continuing echoes and traces of the revolution fifty years on, reflected in memories, media, and monuments. Inspired by interdisciplinary perspectives from anthropology, history, cultural studies, and geography, these essays foreground critical debates about the revolution, often conducted sotto voce and located well off the official stage—attending to long silenced questions, submerged doubts, rumors and secrets, or things that cannot be said.

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About the Editors

William Cunningham Bissell

William Cunningham Bissell is Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Lafayette College, Easton, PA. He has written widely on sociocultural processes in Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean world, with a specific research focus on urban transformation, representation, memory, and media in diverse contexts, including the anthropology of nostalgia and the reimagining of the revolutionary past. His first book, Urban Design, Chaos, and Colonial Power in Zanzibar (2011), focused on the failures and contradictions of modernist colonial urban planning, while his current ethnographic work centers on transnational media, urban image-making, and the contested politics of contemporary African film festivals.

Marie-Aude Fouéré

Marie-Aude Fouéré is an Associate Professor in Anthropology at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris. She worked several years at the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) in Nairobi, Kenya, as Deputy Director then Director. Her research interests cover belonging, nationalism from below, collective memories and the uses of past - notably the ordinary uses of archives and of material remains -, focusing on Tanzania's Ujamaa, the figure of Julius Nyerere, and the Revolution of 1964 in Zanzibar. She is also interested in elections in their relation to memory and identity, and in the epistemology of social science.

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