You are here:


Small Ocean History

The Small Ocean Project explores how a historical focus on the intimate and ‘everyday’ lives of mobile subjects, within their simultaneously cosmopolitan and parochial worlds and intimate networks for transnational capital accumulation, can help us understand south-south globalization and its effects on Islam, capitalism and international regimes, around the turn of the 20th century. Using documentary and visual sources collected from archives in South Africa, Mauritius, India and the United Kingdom, we aim to reconstruct the private and public experiences and activities of a single family of Muslim traders across three generations, who resided in and between two Indian Ocean port towns, in the period c 1865-1928. Tracing the Jhaveri/Sayani family fortunes and connections between Porbandar in western India and Durban in southern Africa, reveals how personality, and the material and cultural elements of urban architecture, religious street music and festivals, agnatic wedding planning, competing courts and different scripts and literacies, came to shape the practices and counter-practices that translated across the ocean in two domains of British ‘indirect’ colonial rule. The period under study was critical in formulating Africa-India relations and anti-imperial, as well as modern Islamic religious politics. How does a micro-historical focus on the lives and livelihoods of mobile subjects, and private relationships, small town events, petty jealousies, neighbourhood violence, competing legal systems and temporary alliances, become the elements of a global politics?


Fellows involved in this project

Visiting scholar
South Africa
Visiting scholar
South Africa

Share this project:

Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].