Burkhard Schnepel and Julia VerneMay 27, 2023
Cargoes in Motion
Materiality and Connectivity Across the Indian Ocean
Ohio University Press 2022
Cargoes in Motion: Materiality and Connectivity Across the Indian Ocean (Ohio University Press, 2022) is an innovative collection of essays that foregrounds specific cargoes as a means to understand connectivity and mobility across the Indian Ocean world. Scholars have long appreciated the centrality of trade and commerce in understanding the connectivity and mobility that underpin human experience in the Indian Ocean region. But studies of merchant and commercial activities have paid little attention to the role that cargoes have played in connecting the disparate parts of this vast oceanic world.
Drawing from the work of anthropologists, geographers, and historians, Cargoes in Motion tells the story of how material objects have informed and continue to shape processes of exchange across the Indian Ocean. By following selected cargoes through both space and time, this book makes an important and innovative contribution to Indian Ocean studies. The multidisciplinary approach deepens our understanding of the nature and dynamics of the Indian Ocean world by showing how transoceanic connectivity has been driven not only by economic, social, cultural, and political factors but also by the materiality of the objects themselves. Essays by: Edward A. Alpers, Fahad Ahmad Bishara, Eva-Maria Knoll, Karl-Heinz Kohl, Lisa Jenny Krieg, Pedro Machado, Rupert Neuhöfer, Mareike Pampus, Hannah Pilgrim, Burkhard Schnepel, Hanne Schönig, Tansen Sen, Steven Serels, Julia Verne, and Kunbing Xiao.
Burkhard Schnepel is a professor of social anthropology at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. From 2013 to 2020, he was head of the Connectivity in Motion: Port Cities of the Indian Ocean fellows group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. He is the author of The King’s Three Bodies: Essays on Kingship and Ritual and a coeditor of Travelling Pasts: The Politics of Cultural Heritage in the Indian Ocean World.
Julia Verne is a professor of cultural geography at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, where she leads a research group on mobility, materiality, and maritimity, with a focus on the western Indian Ocean. Her publications include Living Translocality: Space, Culture, and Economy in Contemporary Swahili Trade and several articles discussing the Indian Ocean as a relational space.
Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies Department. His research focuses on the intersection of law, the occult sciences, and the environment across the western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.