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Title: Introduction to marginal centers : writing life histories in the Indian Ocean world
Authors: Anderson, Clare
First Published: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Citation: Journal of Social History, 2011, 45 (2), pp. 335-344
Abstract: This section centers on the life histories of men and women who were mobile in and around the Indian Ocean during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The articles that follow focus on soldiers, slaves, convicts, pirates, sailors, rebels, traders and travelers; people who are usually given the briefest of historical mention as somehow typical of a particular community, or who are referred to as evidence of particular historical processes or moments in time. In contrast, the collection's authors seek to piece together archival fragments from across the globe to write a series of individual life histories, and to use them as a means of exploring historically the nature, meaning and lived experiences of empire in the Indian Ocean: Dutch, French, British and Malagasy. The individuals that we center on did not write or record their own auto biographies, but left traces of their lives in the archives. Each author has engaged in piecing together and contextualizing these fragments, to present biographical snapshots produced in and through notarial records, wills, inventories, petitions, letters, diaries, court records and official correspondence... The aim of this collection is not to unveil and present the lives of “typical” men and women of the Indian Ocean. Rather, its ambition is to use life history as a critical perspective to explore the practices and processes associated with imperial expansion in the Indian Ocean and the ways in which individuals lived them.
DOI Link: 10.1093/jsh/shr056
ISSN: 0022-4529
eISSN: 1527-1897
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website.
Description: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Social History following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Journal of Social History, 2011, 45 (2), pp. 335-344 is available online at:
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Historical Studies

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