|When:||Wednesday, May 30, 2012|
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
|Where:||620 Library Place, conference room
Evanston, IL 60201 map it
|Audience:||- Faculty/Staff - Student - Public|
(847) 491-7323 |
|Group:||Program of African Studies|
|Category:||Lectures & Meetings|
Between Legal Ideal and Social Reality: Property Relations in Colonial Zanzibar
Elke Stockreiter, History, University of Iowa
Elke Stockreiter is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Iowa. Her research interests focus on Muslim societies in sub-Saharan Africa, especially on the workings of Islamic law and gender relations. She has published on Islamic courts and marriage in Zanzibar and is working on a book manuscript titled Law, Gender, and Social Change in Post-Abolitionary Zanzibar Town.
This presentation challenges a common understanding of patriarchal order as an impediment to women’s economic agency in colonial Zanzibar Town. It demonstrates that Muslim judges, or kadhis, and Zanzibari society regarded both men and women as apt property managers, although access to property and its nature were partly gendered. Female seclusion and illiteracy entailed a degree of dependency on male agents, yet did not considerably thwart women's agency. Due to the wider range of actors struggling to accumulate assets in the post-abolitionary era, patrons sought additional ways of exclusion and of regaining access to resources. Patron-client relations could become unsettled when kadhis ruled in favor of patrons in estate cases decades after abolition, applying Islamic rather than colonial law and confirming the inferior status of former slaves and their descendants. While gender constituted a relatively uncontested field in property relations, kadhi’s courts both mediated and generated discourses of socio-economic exclusion and inclusion.