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By Jonathon Glassman

The Swahili coast of Africa is frequently defined as a paragon of transnational tradition and racial fluidity. but, in the course of a quick interval within the Sixties, Zanzibar turned deeply divided alongside racial strains as intellectuals and activists, engaged in sour debates approximately their nation's destiny, ignited a perilous clash that unfold around the island. confrontation, warfare of Stones explores how violently enforced racial barriers arose from Zanzibar's entangled heritage. Jonathon Glassman demanding situations motives that imagine racial considering within the colonial international mirrored in simple terms Western principles. He exhibits how Africans crafted competing methods of categorizing race from neighborhood culture and engagement with the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.

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Extra resources for War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar

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Chapter 8 examines the sultanate’s final thirty months, focusing on the circulation of rumors that were inflected by the fears and anxieties aroused by the June riots. In this regard, the War of Stones constituted a transformative moment that profoundly shaped how many islanders perceived their personal experiences of racial division. Memories of those experiences (both real and constructed) played a significant role in shaping their responses to the January 1964 coup and in mobilizing the militants who perpetrated another, far deadlier round of pogroms in its wake.

But they were only one set among a variety of influences on East African intellectuals, and latecomers at that. The national and ethnic thought of twentieth-­century Zanzibar drew on a wide range of sources that were global in scope, in­clud­ing many inherited from centuries of historical experience within East Africa itself. Moreover, intellectual influences went both ways: local intellectuals had at least as much influence on British perceptions of Zanzibar as colonial educators had on islanders.

British Rule Like Omani rule, British rule was founded on conquest, which was justified during its initial, most violent phase by a paternalist ideology that claimed to be saving all Zanzibaris, masters and slaves, from the brutalizing effects of the slave trade. But, as throughout the continent, this initial phase soon gave way to one in which colonial violence was masked by an administrative apparatus that relied on forms of indirect rule via local intermediaries. At Zanzibar 40 / Introduction this transition played out more fully than elsewhere, in ways that marked the sultanate as something of an anomaly among Britain’s African colonies.

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