the indian ocean: silk, leather & electronics

This is a living document and will function as a respository featuring the research for the Silk, Leather & Electronics series. The series explores the history and continued presence of Afro-descent communities from the Black Indian Ocean. The geographic location of the Indian Ocean contains the history of trade, that includes enslaved people, gold, spices, and many other cultural aspects that continue to be present in the lives of its people and diasporas.


The following list pulls from the Dr. Neelima Jeychandran's African Heritage in India Archive's Bibliography & Dr. Sylviane Anna Diouf's The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World Online Archive and organizes them through regions and themes that highlight the crossover of conditions of enslavement and exchange of goods.


Particular attention is paid to:

  • Rituals that tie the spiritual energy of African-descent peoples across the Indian ocean.
  • Clothmaking as a method of grounding.
  • The lives of womxn to bridge their hierachic role as domestic workers as part of the Indian ocean slave trade and their contemporary manifestation as part of the Kafala system.


Stills from Rough as Silk video, 2019 - Ongoing


media resources


documentaries


indian ocean reading list -- as mapping economic territories


indian ocean -- sailors and merchants


the indian ocean slave trade

  • Diouf, Sylviane Anna. Servants of Allah: African Muslims enslaved in the Americas, New York University Press, 1998
  • UC Davis. Indian Ocean Worlds Courses.
  • Clarence-Smith, William, ed. Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century. London: Frank Cass, 1989.
  • Islam and the Abolition of Slavery. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Mirzai, Behnaz A., Ismael Musah Montana, and Paul E. Lovejoy, eds. Slavery, Islam, and Diaspora. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2009.
  • Pipes, Daniel. Slave Soldiers and Islam: The Genesis of a Military System. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981.
  • Segal, Ronald. Islam's Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001.
  • Alpers, Edward A., Gwyn Campbell, and Michael Salman. Resisting Bondage in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia. Routledge. 2007.
  • Clarence-Smith, William Gervase. The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century. Routledge. 2013.


on the role of womxn

Womxn were part of the Indian ocean slave trade as domestic servants and slaves. The historic employment of womxn were part of the Indian ocean slave trade as domestic servants that connects their present heirachic placement as maids and servants as part of the GCC (Gulf Corporate Council) countries that include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman where Oman was a major port of the Indian Ocean slave trade. Although less common, as part of the Indian ocean slave trade, womxn were also part of royal courts and rose to positions of power, this facet connects to present figuration of East African and South Asian expats in the GCC countries.
-Beydoun, Khaled Ali, Trafficking of Ethiopian Domestic Workers into Lebanon: Navigating Through a Novel Passage of the Intemational Maid Trade. 2014.

  • De Regt, Marina 2009 “Preferences and Prejudices: Employers’ Views on Domestic Workers in the Republic of Yemen” Signs Vol. 34 (3): 559-581
  • Fernandez, Bina 2010 “Cheap and Disposable? The impact of the global economic crisis on the migration of Ethiopian women domestic workers to the Gulf” Gender and Development Vol. 18 (2): 249-262.
  • Campbell, Gwyn, Suzanne Miers, and Joseph Calder Miller. 2007. Women and Slavery: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic. Ohio University Press.
  • M.G. Vassanji. The Magic of Saida. Imprint, New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.


black gulf

afro-iraqis

  • Popovic, Alexandre. The Revolt of African Slaves in Iraq in the 3rd/9th Century. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 1993.


afro-iranis


afro-asia

  • Albinia, Alice. Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River. New York: Norton, 2010.
  • Campbell, Gwyn, ed. The Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia. London: Frank Cass, 2004.
  • Chatterjee, Indrani, and Richard M. Eaton, eds. Slavery and South Asian History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.
  • Collins, Robert O. "The African Slave Trade to Asia and the Indian Ocean Islands." African and Asian Studies 5, no. 3-4 (2006): 325-47.
  • Harris, Joseph E. The African Presence in Asia: Consequences of the East African Slave Trade. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1971.
  • Collins, Robert O. "The African Slave Trade to Asia and the Indian Ocean Islands." African and Asian Studies 5, no. 3-4 (2006): 325-47.
  • Jayasuriya, Shihan de Silva. African Identity in Asia: Cultural Effects of Forced Migration. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 2009.
  • Jayasuriya, Shihan de Silva, and Jean-Pierre Angenot, eds. Uncovering the History of Africans in Asia. Leiden: Brill, 2008.
  • "Conference Report: Goa Conference on the African Diaspora in Asia." African Affairs 105, no. 420 (July 2006): 461-64.
  • Obeng, Pashington. Shaping Membership, Defining Nation: The Cultural Politics of African Indians in South Asia. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007.
  • Prasad, Kiran Kamal, and Jean-Pierre Angenot. 2008. TADIA, the African Diaspora in Asia: Explorations on a Less Known Fact. Jana Jagrati Prakashana on behalf the Tadia Society.
  • Rashidi, Runoko, and Ivan Van Sertima, eds. African Presence in Early Asia. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction, 1987.
  • Campbell, Gwyn. 2004. Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia. Routledge.
  • Jayasuriya, Shihan de Silva. 2009. African Identity in Asia: Cultural Effects of Forced Migration. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers.
  • Harris, Joseph E. 1971. The African Presence in Asia: Consequences of the East African Slave Trade. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.
  • Collins, Robert O. 2006. “The African Slave Trade to Asia and the Indian Ocean Islands.” African and Asian Studies 5 (3-4): 325-47.


afro-pakistanis

The largest Afro-Asian diaspora resides in Balochistan and Sindh.

  • Badalkhan, Sabir. "On the Presence of African Musical Culture in Coastal Balochistan." In Journeys and Dwellings: Indian Ocean Themes in South Asia, edited by Helene Basu. Bombay: Longman, 2006.
  • Khalique, Amna. 2009. The Peoples of African Descent in Pakistan: Sheedis and Their Role in Sindhi History, 11-40. Saarbrucken: VDM Verlag.
  • Farhat, Sultana: 2013. “Ethnicity and Healing Rituals in Gwadar, Balochistan, Pakistan.” The Journal of the Middle East and Africa, v4 n2 (May-August 2013), pp. 169-185.


afro-indians

  • Diouf, Sylviane Anne.African in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers
  • Diouf, Sylviane Anne. The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World Digital Archive.
  • Neelima Jeychandran, Neelima. African Heritage in India
  • Baptiste, Fitzroy A. "The African Presence in India—I and II." African Quarterly 38, no. 2 (1998): 76-90, 91-126.
  • Catlin-Jairazbhoy, Amy, and Edward A. Alpers, eds. Sidis and Scholars: Essays on African Indians. Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, 2004.
  • Hawley, John C., ed. India in Africa, Africa in India: Indian Ocean Cosmopolitanisms. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.
  • Jayasuriya, Shihan de Silva, and Richard Pankhurst, eds. The African Diaspora in the IndianOcean. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003.
  • Walker, Timothy. “Slaves or Soldiers? African Conscripts in Portuguese India, 1857-60.” In Slavery and South Asian History, edited by Indrani Chatterjee and Richard M. Eaton, 234-261. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Yimene, Ababu Minda. 2004. An African Indian Community in Hyderabad: Siddi Identity, Its Maintenance and Change. Cuvillier Verlag.
  • Obeng, J. Pashington. 2007. Shaping Membership, Defining Nation: The Cultural Politics of African Indians in South Asia. Lexington Books.
  • Pescatello, Ann M. 1977. “The African Presence in Portuguese India.” Journal of Asian History 11 (1): 26-48.
  • Sadiq Ali, Shanti. 1996. The African Dispersal in the Deccan: From Medieval to Modern Times, 157-192. New Delhi: Orient Longman.
  • Llewellyn-Jones, Rosie. 2011. “The Colonial Response to African Slaves in British India—Two Contrasting Cases.” African and Asian Studies 10 (1): 59-70.
  • Catalin-Jairazbhoy, Amy, and Edward A. Alpers (Eds.). 2004. Sidis and Scholars: Essays on African Indians. New Delhi: Rainbow Publishers.
  • Hawley, John C. 2008. India in Africa, Africa in India: Indian Ocean Cosmopolitanisms. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Jayasuriya, Shihan de Silva, and Richard Pankhurst. eds. 2003. The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
  • Diouf, Sylviane. Asia's Africans. 2013.
  • Duggleby, Luke. Sidi Project.
  • Diouf, Sylviane.Africans in India: Then and Now. 2014.


Afro-India -- military enslavement

  • Eaton, Richard M. 2005 “Malik Ambar (1548-1626): The Rise and Fall of Military Slavery.” In A Social History of the Deccan, 1300-1761: Eight Indian Lives. pp 105-128.
  • Robbins, Kenneth X., and John McLeod, eds. African Elites in India: Habshi Amarat. Ahmedabad, India: Mapin, 2006.
  • Robbins, Kenneth X., and J. McLeod. 2006. African Elites of India/ Habshi Amarat. New Jersey: Grantha.
  • Diouf, Sylviane Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers. 2013.
  • African elites in India : Habshi Amarat Grantha. 2006.


Afro-India -- clothmaking

  • Drewal, Henry John. 2013. “Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) of India.” African Arts. 46: 6–17.


Afro-India -- Spiritual practices

  • Basu, Helene. "The Siddi and the Cult of Bava Gor in Gujarat." Journal of the Indian Anthropological Society 28 (1993): 289-300.
  • Shroff, Beheroze. 2008. “Spiritual Journeys: Parsis and Sidi Saints.” In Journeys and Dwellings: Indian Ocean Themes in South Asia, edited by Helene Basu, pp. 256-75. New Delhi: Orient Longman. 2013
  • Shroff, Beheroze. “‘Goma is Going On’: Sidis of Gujarat.” African Arts 46: 18–25. 2013.
  • Shroff, Beheroze. “Muslim Shrines as Boundary Markers of a Cult Region: The Network of Siddi Saints in Western India.” In Pilgrimage: Concepts, Themes, Issues, and Methodology, edited by J. Makhan, 157-72. New Delhi: South Asia Books. 1995.
  • Shroff, Beheroze.“Theater of Memory: Performances of Ritual Kinship of the African Diaspora in Sind/Pakistan.” In Culture, Creation, and Procreation in South Asia, ed. A. Rao and M. Boeck, pp-243-70. Oxford: Berghahn. 2000.
  • Shroff, Beheroze. “Drumming and Praying: Sidi at the Interface of Spirit Possession and Islam.” In Struggling with History: Islam and Cosmopolitanism in the Indian Ocean World, edited by E Simpson and K. Kresse, 291-323. London: Hurst. 2007.
  • Shroff, Beheroze “A Gendered Indian Ocean Site: Mai Mishra, African Spirit Possession and the Sidi Women in Gujarat.” In Journeys and Dwellings: Indian Ocean Themes in South Asia, edited by Helene Basu, 227-56. New Delhi: Orient Longman. 2008.


Afro-javan

  • Kessel, Ineke Van. "Belanda Hitam: The Indo-African Communities of Java." African and Asian Studies 6, no. 3 (2007): 243-79.