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Glassman - War of Words, War of Stones; Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar (2011)

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The Swahili coast of Africa is often described as a paragon of transnational culture and racial fluidity. Yet, during a brief period in the 1960s, Zanzibar became deeply divided along racial lines as intellectuals and activists, engaged in bitter debates about their nation’s future, ignited a deadly conflict that spread across the island. War of Words, War of Stones explores how violently enforced racial boundaries arose from Zanzibar’s entangled history. Jonathon Glassman challenges explanations that assume racial thinking in the colonial world reflected only Western ideas. He shows how Africans crafted competing ways of categorizing race from local tradition and engagement with the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.