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Bearing the mark, bearing the costs: memories of slavery in coastal Tanzania, 1922-2008

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Title: Bearing the mark, bearing the costs: memories of slavery in coastal Tanzania, 1922-2008
Author(s): Hill, Erica
Director of Research: Zerai, Assata
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Zerai, Assata
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Dill, Brian; Jung, Moon-Kie; Millward, Jessica
Department / Program: Sociology
Discipline: Sociology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Tanzania Slavery Bagamoyo Memory Africa Post-Emancipation Societies
Abstract: The study of memory is not only an inquiry into what happened but is just as much or more so about what is happening. Therefore, a study of the legacy of slavery requires a conscientious look into the lived experiences of members of post-emancipation societies. An investigation into the ways communities make use of memories of slavery in the absence of living witnesses is important in that doing so provides a lens for understanding contemporary ideals, institutions and identities. This dissertation is a qualitative study which investigates the ways in which memories of slavery and emancipation inform contemporary identities and social relations between African and Afro-Arab residents in the former slaving port town of Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Based on in-depth interviews, participant-observation and archival research, the project demonstrates how memories of slavery inform the everyday lives of the residents of Bagamoyo as evidenced by and through public and private discourses on race, ethnicity and lineage. Thus, the research question to be addressed in this dissertation is: In what ways do vicarious memories of slavery manifest in post-emancipation communities? By centering the memories and experiences of Bagamoyo residents, this project illustrates the ways in which memories of slavery are resurrected in local and national discourse. In this project I argue that these vicarious memories of slavery are evoked as a way to contextualize lived experiences and counter and/or confirm emerging narratives. This project addresses a void present in scholarship concerning slavery in East Africa and the Indian Ocean World in that it centers the experiences of community members through the use of their own testimony, thus providing additional insight into the ways in which the vestiges of slavery persist in post-emancipation societies.
Issue Date: 2012-06-27
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/31938
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Erica Alane Hill
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-06-27
Date Deposited: 2012-05
 

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