Travelling Pasts: The Politics of Cultural Heritage in the Indian Ocean World


Volume Editors: and
Travelling Pasts, edited by Burkhard Schnepel and Tansen Sen, offers an innovative exploration of the issue of heritage in the Indian Ocean world. This collection of essays demonstrates how the heritagization of the past has played a vital role in processes and strategies related to the making of socio-cultural identities, the establishing of political legitimacies, and the pursuit of economic and geopolitical gains. The contributions range from those dealing with the impact of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention in the Indian Ocean world as a whole to those that address the politics of cultural heritage in various distinct maritime sites such as Zanzibar, Mayotte, Cape Town, the Maldives, Calcutta and Penang. Also examined are the Maritime Silk Road and the Project Mausam initiatives of the Chinese and Indian governments respectively. The volume is an important contribution to the transdisciplinary fields on Indian Ocean Studies.

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Burkhard Schnepel is Professor of Social Anthropology at the Institute for Social Anthropology of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Halle, Germany. One of his more recent books is Connectivity in Motion. Islands Hubs in the Indian Ocean World, co-edited with E.A. Alpers (2018).

Tansen Sen is Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai. His most recent book is entitled India, China, and the World: A Connected History (2017).
"This collection throws ‘light on the issue of “Travelling Pasts” across the Indian Ocean’ (p. 16) by explaining how maritime activity involves considerable complexity, and in doing so contributes to ‘inclusive understanding of maritime cultural heritage cuts across political boundaries’ (p. 57). The book underscores how cultural heritage has and continues to be subject to political influence, and that it is still being used for political ends. It remains to be seen what the future holds for heritage governance in the Indian Ocean, with growing populations and mobility of peoples, and increasingly contested spaces and resources. This book will no doubt will be of considerable value to scholars and researchers working in history, heritage, politics, anthropology and many other areas of past and future Indian Ocean." - Erika Techera, UWA Law School and UWA Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia, in: Journal of the Indian Ocean Region [DOI: 10.1080/19480881.2020.1760603]

List of Figures, Maps and Tables
Notes on Contributors
Travelling Pasts: An Introduction
Burkhard Schnepel

Part 1: Indian Ocean Cultural Heritage and the ‘World’

 1 Global Linkages, Connectivity and the Indian Ocean in the UNESCO World Heritage Arena
Christoph Brumann
 2 ‘Project Mausam’. India’s Transnational Initiative: Revisiting UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention
Himanshu Prabha Ray
 3 The History of the Hajj as Heritage: Asset or Burden to the Saudi State?
Ulrike Freitag

Part 2: (Im-)materialities on the Move

 4 Materiality and Mobility: Comparative Notes on Heritagization in the Indian Ocean World
Katja Müller and Boris Wille
 5 Ambiguous Pasts: The Indian Ocean World in Cape Town’s Public History
Nigel Worden

Part 3: Travelling Pasts in the Eastern Indian Ocean World

 6 Temple Heritage of a Chinese Migrant Community: Movement, Connectivity, and Identity in the Maritime World
Tansen Sen
 7 The Uses of ‘Chinese Heritage’: Foreign Policy of the People’s Republic of China in the Contemporary Indo-Pacific World
Geoffrey Wade
 8 Heritage Food: The Materialization of Connectivity in Nyonya Cooking
Mareike Pampus

Part 4: Travelling Pasts in the Western Indian Ocean World

 9 Contradictions in the Heritagization of Zanzibar ‘Stone Town’
Abdul Sheriff
 10 The Production of Identities on the Island of Mayotte: A Historical Perspective
Iain Walker

This volume is of interest to scholars and students in the fields of Indian Ocean Studies, Heritage Studies, and Tourism Studies, especially those concerned with historical, social anthropological, geographical and archaeological perspectives.
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