Indian Ocean Comparative Dimensions of Slavery: Resistance and Memory from Mauritius


This is an abstract from the "Archaeological Approaches to Slavery and Unfree Labour in Africa" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The materiality of slavery has received much attention over recent decades. Unequivocally focused on the Atlantic experience, comparative models from the Indian Ocean serve to enrich our understanding of slavery on a global scale. The body of literature on slave artefacts, mortuary practices, and diet highlight the nuances and complexity of slave life-ways. This presentation focuses on Mauritius, and draws on a decade of work into the dynamics of both forced and free labour on the island, and wider region. Using a range of case studies, I illustrate the nuances of slave-lifeways as they are understood from this region: what do we know about the process of arrival; working conditions, and daily existence? How were mortuary practice enacted? At a greater level: how did slave communities resist, and maintain memory? And finally, in order to enhance the comparative power of the region even more: how did the system of slavery enforced on this island compare to new methods to provide labour once emancipation was enacted? By tackling these questions, the paper provides both insightful similarities to Atlantic counterparts, as well unique features that help contextualize the experience of slavery in this part of East Africa and the South-western Indian Ocean.

Cite this Record

Indian Ocean Comparative Dimensions of Slavery: Resistance and Memory from Mauritius. Krish Seetah, Sasa Caval, Diego Calaon, Alessandra Cianciosi. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452438)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 24.082; min lat: -26.746 ; max long: 56.777; max lat: 17.309 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24005