Accepted Paper:

Re-Reading the Precolonial City. Antananarivo in the 19th Century  


Didier Nativel (Paris Diderot Paris 7 University)

Paper short abstract:

The city of Antananarivo witnessed a fast and profound transformation during the 19th century. The capital of an expanding kingdom which was connected both to the Mascarenes and to Europe, it became a laboratory of aesthetic, material and social change, which will be analysed by this paper.

Paper long abstract:

During the 19th century, Antananarivo was the capital of the main Malagasy kingdom, recognized by Western powers. In a few decades, the urban landscape translated deep political changes, becoming more and more distinct from the surrounding rural space. At the core of this cultural and spatial invention, local elites both linked to international trade networks and Christian missions, gradually adopted new ways of inhabiting and living the city from Mascarenes and Europe models. In this communication, I would like to address this material and social turning point, prior to the French colonization, discussing political, architectural and sensorial aspects of the issue.

Panel P134
Urban scenographies of political power in Africa before 1900 (double panel)