The Black Indian Ocean: Slavery, Religion, And Identity (1400-1700) Yale Webinar

January 4, 2024

As HWM friend, author, and professor, Clem Marshall writes that this fascinating event is important as it resonates with the slave trade from Harlem to Harare.

Including the book, “Making of the Oromo Diaspora: A Historical Sociology of Forced Migration” by Mekuria Bulcha.

The event is Friday, January 26, 2023, and is called “The Black Indian Ocean: Slavery, Religion, and Identity (1400-1700),” it is free.

It will last several hours and they will be reconstructing early modern slave narratives, talking about East African communities in Asia, and “slavery and ritual” (their words) in the Indian Ocean.

You can read more and register here regarding this fascinating presentation:


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The Yale Institute of Sacred Music will host a one-day webinar and interdisciplinary symposium organized by ISM fellow Dr. Janie Cole.

“The Black Indian Ocean: Slavery, Religion, and Identity (1400-1700)” will explore new perspectives on the impact of slavery and patterns of migration and displacement across the Indian Ocean on Afro-Asian communities, their cultural manifestations and soundscapes, and how religion, faith and ritual were articulated in acts of identity, oppression, and resistance in the early modern world.

Register Here

The conference takes its starting point from the earliest surviving biography of an Ethiopian slave, Gabriel, a 16th-century Beta Israel Jew sold into slavery in the Arab world where he converted to Islam. It traces his woeful wanderings between faiths, love and persecution in Asia to his final encounters with the brutal Inquisition in Goa, a story captured in a musical narrative, “Gabriel’s Odyssey”, by the Kukutana Ensemble.

Webinar Schedule

10 a.m.-12.15 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks from Janie Cole (Yale University) and Panel I: Identities: Reconstructing Early Modern Slave Narratives

  • Ananya Chakravarti (Georgetown University)
  • Matteo Salvadore (American University of Sharjah)
  • Mark Aranha (University of the Witwatersrand, Kukutana Ensemble)
  • Bronwen Clacherty (University of Cape Town, Kukutana Ensemble)
  • Tesfamichael Yayeh Hussen (Addis Ababa University, Kukutana Ensemble)
  • Grasella Luigi (Ethiopian National Theatre, Kukutana Ensemble)
  • Cara Stacey (University of the Witwatersrand, Kukutana Ensemble)
  • Kristy Stone (University of the Western Cape, Kukutana Ensemble)
  • Conor Ralphs (Kukutana Ensemble)

15-minute break

12:30-2 p.m. Panel II: Communities: East Africa in Asia

  • Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London)
  • Jazmin Graves Eyssallenne (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
  • Samira Sheikh (Vanderbilt University)

15-minute break

2:15-3.45 p.m. Panel III: Mobilities: Slavery and Ritual in the Indian Ocean

  • Neelima Jeychandran (Virginia Commonwealth University, Qatar)
  • Omar Ali (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
  • Pedro Machado (Indiana University)

3.45-4 p.m. Concluding Remarks and Future Projects

Register Here

Photo credit: 1-2) A slave market in Zabid in Yemen, 1237 (tempera on vellum), Al-Wasiti, Yahya ibn Mahmud (13th Century).

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