Early Maritime Cultures on the East African Coast

A conference organized by the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

October 23-24, 2015

Please join us for a series of presentations about various aspects of East African maritime civilizations and culture. This conference will tackle the issue of the origins and development of maritime civilizations in East Africa that continue to have global impact to this day.

Conference Program

Venue: Room 209, Pyle Center
702 Langdon Street, Madison

Friday, October 23

8:00am    Arrival, Registration, and Breakfast

8:30am     Welcome

Akshay Sarathi, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

9:15am     Prehistoric settlements on the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea: Implications for tracking early human interactions across the Red Sea Basin

Amanuel Beyin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Louisville

Daniella E. Bar-Yosef Mayer, The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History

10:00am   Change and Continuity in the 1200-year archaeological record of fishing in the eastern African coastal region

Eréndira M. Quintana Morales, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Rice University

10:45am         Break

11:00am  From the Indian Ocean to the Forest: When a Fly stops the Expansion of Islam

Sofiane Bouhdiba, Professor, University of Tunis

11:45am    Social Organization and Traditional Maritime Trade in the Western Indian Ocean

Martin Ottenheimer, Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University

12:30pm Lunch

1:30pm    Locating Medieval River Trade Routes in South-Eastern Zimbabwe and Mozambique, Identifying the Craft that Plied them, and their Linkages into Indian Ocean Maritime Networks Prior to 1500CE

Rosanne Hawarden, Professor, University of Canterbury

2:15pm     To Read, to Write, to Ridicule: Knowledge and Expression in early Swahili History c. 1000-1500

David Bresnahan, Graduate Student, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

3:00pm     Zilo and Zahula: Culinary Connections in the Indian Ocean

Harriet Ottenheimer, Professor Emerita, Kansas State University

3:45pm     Break

4:05pm     Islamic Charity as Oceanic Knowledge

Stephen A. Pierce, Assistant Professor of History, Indiana Wesleyan University

4:50pm     Artistic Reconstructions of the East African Past

Cassandra Davis, MFA student, School of the Art Institute of Chicago  

5:35pm       End, walk to State Street for dinner and drinks


Saturday, October 24

8:30am      Arrival and coffee

9:00am     The Shipwrecks of Kilwa, Southeast Tanzania

Edward Pollard, Assistant Director, British Institute in Eastern Africa

9:45am     Preliminary Report on Maritime Hunter Gatherers at Kuumbi Cave, Zanzibar: 1500 BCE to 1500 CE

Akshay Sarathi, Graduate Student, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

10:30am   Trade and the Medieval Swahili State

Chap Kusimba, Professor of Anthropology, American University

11:15am  Deconstructing the Waves of Austronesian Migration to Madagascar and the East African Coast

Roger Blench, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University

12:00pm   Lunch

1:00pm    The Oriental African: The Evolution of Postcolonial Islamic Identities Among the Khōjā of Dar Es Salaam

Iqbal Akhtar, Professor of Religious Studies and Islamic Studies, Florida International University

1:45pm     The Liquid Presence: Residues of Early Indian Ocean Entanglement in East Africa

Jonathan Walz, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Rollins College    

2:30pm     Closing and goodbyes

Conference organizer

Akshay Sarathi, doctoral candidate in Archaeology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Conference sponsor

African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with additional support by the Department of Anthropology at UW-Madison