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Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere, written by Prita Meier

Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere, written by Prita Meier Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2016. 230 pages. isbn 978-0-253-01915-8. US$ 35.00 (Paperback).Prita Meier’s beautifully written and illustrated book features four fascinating analyses of the “micropolitics of architectural space” (p. 22) in contemporary Kenyan and Tanzanian port cities, focusing on extant, older neighborhoods, individual structures, and decorative objects. On this basis, she builds layered arguments about the nature of Swahili urban places, architecture, and objects, primarily concerning the last 200 years in the period of Omani colonization of the coast and into the modern period, but contextualized against older, indigenous coastal traditions. The latter effort can be challenging, because although we recognize Swahili society and practice through many kinds of markers, it spans some 1500 years and has much internal diversity. The Swahili coast became a kind of frontier between the magnificently complex entities of the ‘Indian Ocean world’ and ‘African continent’ and was always permeable from both ‘sides’ as well as complicated by many forces, including Arab and European colonialisms and the multiple nation-states in which it is now a part.Rightfully, much has been and is made over the achievements of indigenous urbanism, urban architecture, and the complexity of practice in Swahili http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of African Archaeology Brill

Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere, written by Prita Meier

Journal of African Archaeology , Volume 15 (1): 3 – Dec 7, 2017

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1612-1651
eISSN
2191-5784
DOI
10.1163/21915784-12340008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2016. 230 pages. isbn 978-0-253-01915-8. US$ 35.00 (Paperback).Prita Meier’s beautifully written and illustrated book features four fascinating analyses of the “micropolitics of architectural space” (p. 22) in contemporary Kenyan and Tanzanian port cities, focusing on extant, older neighborhoods, individual structures, and decorative objects. On this basis, she builds layered arguments about the nature of Swahili urban places, architecture, and objects, primarily concerning the last 200 years in the period of Omani colonization of the coast and into the modern period, but contextualized against older, indigenous coastal traditions. The latter effort can be challenging, because although we recognize Swahili society and practice through many kinds of markers, it spans some 1500 years and has much internal diversity. The Swahili coast became a kind of frontier between the magnificently complex entities of the ‘Indian Ocean world’ and ‘African continent’ and was always permeable from both ‘sides’ as well as complicated by many forces, including Arab and European colonialisms and the multiple nation-states in which it is now a part.Rightfully, much has been and is made over the achievements of indigenous urbanism, urban architecture, and the complexity of practice in Swahili

Journal

Journal of African ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Dec 7, 2017

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