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Dr. Neelima Jeychandran


Disordered Spaces, Distributed Objects: Mapping the Black Indian Ocean

Dr. Neelima Jeychandran


This talk aims to trace different trajectories of exchanges that link West African, Sahelian, and Indian Ocean worlds from pre-modern times to the present to discuss how multiple spatial imaginaries of Africa get constructed by Afro-Indian and Afro-Arab communities in the western Indian Ocean. By looking at different examples from western India, the Arabian Gulf, and West Africa, I discuss how imagined worlds of Africa and the Indian Ocean are dislocated, misplaced, or generalized, yet are interestingly mapped onto particular objects, thus producing connections through material religions, memories, texts, and with the power of humans and non-human agencies. I reflect upon entangled histories of the Black Indian Ocean world that present the non-conventional cartographies and trajectories of exchanges between Africa, Arabia, and Asia. In particular, I discuss how the sensemaking of African cartographies by the communities of African descent in the Indian Ocean is shaped through affective objects and spirited geographies. In other words, I ask how places, networks, and practices borne out of historical connections between Africa and the Indian Ocean get mapped onto affective objects (things, built forms) and how they, in turn, disorder and realign spaces to question established notions of what constitutes cartography. How can these Afro-Indian and Afro-Arab materialities and cartographies of identity help us reimagine the Black histories of the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean?

Date: 4th of July 2024, 12 -2 pm 

RS Arts and Aesthetics online meeting 
Meeting ID: 931 4120 3142
Passcode: 154421

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