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Ocean of Letters: Language and Creolization in an Indian Ocean Diaspora - Critical Perspectives on Empire (Paperback)
  • Ocean of Letters: Language and Creolization in an Indian Ocean Diaspora - Critical Perspectives on Empire (Paperback)
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Ocean of Letters: Language and Creolization in an Indian Ocean Diaspora - Critical Perspectives on Empire (Paperback)

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£16.99
Paperback 398 Pages / Published: 14/05/2009
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Ocean of Letters is a remarkable history of imperialism, language, and creolization in the largest African diaspora of the Indian Ocean in the early modern period. Ranging from Madagascar to the Mascarenes, the Comores, and South Africa, Pier M. Larson sheds new light on the roles of slavery, emancipation, oceanic travel, Christian missions, and colonial linguistics in the making of Malagasy-language literacy in the islands of the western Indian Ocean. He shows how enslaved and free Malagasy together with certain European colonists and missionaries promoted the Malagasy language, literacy projects and letter writing in the multilingual colonial societies of the region between the seventeenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. Addressing current debates in the history of Africa and the African diaspora, slavery, abolition, creolization and the making of modern African literatures, the book crosses thematic as well as geo-imperial boundaries and brings fresh perspectives to Indian Ocean history.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521739573
Number of pages: 398
Weight: 640 g
Dimensions: 228 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'Larson summarizes the approaches of current scholarship to the African diaspora in the Indian Ocean. He brings to the fore the complexities of cross-cultural interactions in asymmetric power relationships in the western Indian Ocean during the early modern period.' The American Historical Review
'Ocean of Letters is an ambitious book, both in the scale of its archival task - covering French, British and Dutch imperialisms in the Indian Ocean region - and in the sophistication of its argument ... With its combination of compelling detail and supple theory, Ocean of Letters is an excellent study about language, diaspora, and archive in the Indian Ocean from the Cambridge Critical Perspectives on Empire series.' Research in African Literatures
'... this is an important and well-written book on a vibrant and ongoing academic debate about creolisation within the Indian Ocean.' Itinerario
'... a fascinating historical account of the Malagasy people from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century, focusing on how their vernacular languages survived in a context of slavery or forced dispersion, colonization by successive European powers, and Christian mission.' International Bulletin of Missionary Research
'Ocean of Letters makes the history of this part of the Indian Ocean [the Comoro and Mascarene islands] much more accessible to an English-speaking audience.' Kate Kingsford, African Affairs

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