The Southern Indian Ocean Research group

Professor Shahid Vawda, Director of the School of African and Gender Studies, will present the Department of Archaeology Seminar with a talk entitled, "The Southern Indian Ocean Research group".

Abstract: The Southern Indian Ocean Research group was constituted at the first Afro-Asia conference held at UCT/UWC in 2016 on Re-centering Africa through musical and human migrations  between Asia and Africa between 600-1700AD. At that conference it became clear that there were a group of social scientists (archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, sociologists) and literary specialists whose research work specially related to the Southern Indian Ocean, or more specially to the links and circular movements of people in the Southern part of the Indian Ocean in relation to the interior of Southern Africa, islands off the East Coast of Africa and its connection with the wider Indian Ocean and Asia. However, it was clear that this was also a relatively under-researched area within the broader themes of re-centering Africa within the long dureé of relations between Africa and Asia. It was also noted  that much research on the Indian Ocean has a focus that links it firmly with movements of people, goods, services, ideas, knowledge systems, including beliefs and rituals, with societal, political systems and civilisations to north, in a band of inter-connections that stretches and emphasizes a northern East-West movement. Rather it was suggested that the Southern Indian Ocean’s historical and contemporary complexity contains within it enormous potential, fruitful propositions to explore and research, and contribute to a new understanding of African’s global inter-connections and takes seriously the decolonising project. The Southern Indian Ocean Research Group, comprising a multi-disciplinary set of scholars from disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, history, sociology, literary studies and linguistics, coming from places such as Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe places this location and its socio-historical context at the centre of world events, seeks to reveal its connections and entanglement in trade, migration and settlements that is intimately linked to intellectual and empirical conceptions of societies, states and categories of persons, imagined and real, and answer the question of what has been its peoples’ active contribution to a modern globalised world stretching over the long dureé of at least the last millennium. 

Bio: Shahid Vawda graduated from the universities of Durban-Westville (BA), Queens (Belfast)(MA) and KwaZulu-Natal (PhD). Before taking up academic positions he worked in the trade union movement and at the educational NGO, the SACHED Trust in the 1980s, and as consultant researcher for the post-1994 local, provincial and national governments (land reform, housing, informal settlements, forestry re-structuring and heritage). His academic teaching and research has been at various universities in South Africa, some African countries and abroad, including participation in some UNESCO and International Council of Museums (ICOM) research workshops related to culture, heritage and diversity. He held positions as head of the departments of Anthropology at the Universities of Durban-Westville and Witwatersrand, and was the Head of the School of Social Science at the University of Witwatersrand.  He has been active on the boards of the International Council of Museums committee for history and archaeology (ICMAH), and the local South Africa ICOM committee, the Public Affairs Research Institute, Centre for Critical Diversity Studies, African Centre for Migration and Society and the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research and was part of the Department of Science and Technology team that inaugurates from 2018 the MA in e-Science Research for Humanities. Currently he holds the Archie Mafeje Chair in Critical Humanities and the directorship of the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics at UCT. 

Mon, 27 Aug 2018 - 13:00

Teaching Studio, Room 3.10, Department of Archaeology, Beattie Building, University Avenue, Upper Campus UCT