This is the first interdisciplinary history of Lake Tanganyika and of eastern Africa's relationship with the wider Indian Ocean World during the nineteenth century. Philip Gooding deploys diverse source materials, including oral, climatological, anthropological, and archaeological sources, to ground interpretations of the better-known, European-authored archive in local epistemologies and understandings of the past. Gooding shows that Lake Tanganyika's shape, location, and distinctive lacustrine environment contributed to phenomena traditionally associated with the history of the wider Indian Ocean World being negotiated, contested, and re-imagined in particularly robust ways. He adds novel contributions to African and Indian Ocean histories of urbanism, the environment, spirituality, kinship, commerce, consumption, material culture, bondage, slavery, Islam, and capitalism. African peoples and environments are positioned as central to the histories of global economies, religions, and cultures.
Introduction: Lakes, oceans, and littorals in history
Part I. Demarcations of Space:
1. The growth of 'emporia'
2. Changing land use in a changing climate
3. Traversing the lake
Part II. Interactions:
4. Competition and conflict on the western frontier
5. Global commodities in East African societies
6. Structures of bondage
7. An Islamic sea
Epilogue: The littoral and the lake
Philip Gooding is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University.
"This book challenges our previous understanding of the 19th-century relations between the East African interior and the coast. Thanks to a truly original combination of sources and methodologies, Gooding's work discusses topics and perspectives that historians of East Africa and of the Indian Ocean could not ignore in the future."
– Karin Pallaver, University of Bologna
"Gooding shows how East African frontier zones centred on Lake Tanganyika became integrated into the Indian Ocean world through the spread of Swahili and Arab influences, Islam, and the dynamics of the ivory trade. His second contribution is to write the first expansive history of this neglected yet important region."
– Stephen J. Rockel, University of Toronto