Sayan Dey

Nov 27, 2023

Performing Memories and Weaving Archives

Creolized Cultures across the Indian Ocean

Anthem Press 2023

Usually, discourses on the planetary evolution and the movements of slaves remain restricted within the narratives and scholarships of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and hardly engage with the evolution, movements, and shifts about the Indian Ocean World (IOW) slave trade. But multiple published, unpublished, authored, and non-authored historical documents like the historical records of Greco-Egyptian monk Cosmos Indicopleustes (sixth century BC), the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea (first century CE), the travelogues of Ibn Battuta (fourteenth century), historical records of Tome Pires (sixteenth century), accounts of British historians William Hawkins and Sir Thomas Roe (seventeenth century), accounts of French historian Abbe Carre (seventeenth century), accounts of French Lieutenant de Grandpre (nineteenth century), and many more mention about the trade relations between India and different parts for Africa. The items of trade involved exotic stones, exotic spices, domestic objects, and local people. Despite the existence of these diverse archival documents on the IOW trade activities, any discourses on the IOW continue to remain an understatement. The narratives on the IOW, to a vast extent, have been shaped by Western/colonial historians, who have imaginatively constructed the IOW within separate geographical, cultural, epistemological, and ontological enclaves. 

Based on these socio-historical arguments, Sayan Dey’s book Performing Memories and Weaving Archives: Creolized Cultures across the Indian Ocean (Anthem Press, 2023) unearths how Siddis in Gujarat and the South African Indians in South Africa preserve their ancestral memories through spiritual, culinary, and musical practices on the one side, and generate creolized socio-cultural spaces of collective decolonial resistance and well-being on the other.

Rituparna Patgiri has a PhD in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Her research interests lie in the areas of food, media, gender and public. She is also one of the co-founders of Doing Sociology. Patgiri can be reached at @Rituparna37 on Twitter.

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Rituparna Patgiri

Rituparna Patgiri has a PhD in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Her research interests lie in the areas of food, media, gender and public. She is also one of the co-founders of Doing Sociology. Patgiri can be reached at @Rituparna37 on Twitter.

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