Accepted paper:

Cosmopolitanism and insularity in Zanzibar


Kate Kingsford (Women in Islam Journal)

Paper short abstract:

Exploring the tensions between Zanzibar’s cosmopolitanism and its island identity, and examining the ways in which the interplay of politics, religion and culture can lead to both the acceptance and rejection of the Other.

Paper long abstract:

Zanzibar has a long history of cosmopolitanism, which is often said to have ended with the 1964 revolution. In Zanzibar Town today, however, a number of the Indian families who fled to the mainland during the revolution have returned, and there is a growing number of foreigners coming to the islands to live and work in the booming tourism industry. Teenagers chat to their cousins in Norway through Facebook, and look forward to the latest Hollywood and Bollywood films. On the other hand, everyday life is hard, and there is widespread support among Zanzibaris for independence for the islands, linked to a rejection of both globalisation and links with the African mainland. This paper will explore the tensions between two contradictory aspects of Zanzibari identity: the acceptance and assimilation of other cultures, and outright rejection of them.

panel P061
Africa in the Indian Ocean