For more than a thousand years, people, ideas, and commodities have moved along an evolving cultural and commercial contact zone linking Stone Town (Zanzibar), Muscat (Oman), and Muharraq (Bahrain) to a wider Indian Ocean World. People have found work, community, status, and refuge, thereby shaping the historical and social identities and experiences of Africans and Arabs. The varied and complex interactions among Africans and Arabs in the past and present in this zone is the focus of this program. It highlights the role that these peoples have played in the development of a distinctive set of trading and familial networks, maritime and musical cultures, laboring and ruling classes, and migration patterns.
Through exploration of the content and design of archeological, museum, and other heritage sites and dialogue with scholars, artists, heritage practitioners, health providers, merchants, and pearl divers along the East African and Arabian coasts, this program offers deep and profound engagement with the past and present.
Engage in comparative ethnographic research and writing. Conduct interviews. Participate in the performance of culture and practice of heritage. Question the ways that knowledge has and continues to be cultivated, disseminated, and internalized. The program offers a unique opportunity to study the ancient and living legacies of cultural and commercial contact between Africa and Arabia.