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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:People, Not Pots: Locally produced ceramics and identity on the nineteenth-century East-African coast
Authors:Croucher, S.
Wynne-Jones, S.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:History - Archaeology
Abstract:In this paper, through the examination of locally produced ceramics for a historically rich period on the East African coast, we examine the multiplicity of ways that identities were created and experienced in coastal society and the ways that these were played out at varying geographical and temporal scales. In particular, we believe that one's discipline determines, to a great extent, the level at which one conceptualizes and understands identity. Here, we examine how wide-scale regional identities can intersect with more local, individual, or gendered identities played out through the production and use of local ceramic types. By these means we hope to illustrate the ways in which historical data (documentary, oral, and linguistic sources) and archaeological data can work in conjunction to produce rich and complex interpretations of the past on the East African coast. In examining these themes, we discuss the record of locally produced ceramics from the nineteenth-century East African coast. During this period, numerous indigenous and colonial interactions occurred in different areas of the littoral and among different groups. Nevertheless, archaeological data from three widely separated regions - Kilwa, Zanzibar, and Mombasa - display striking elements of commonality. The implications of this are discussed. (Journal Abstract).