No 2 (2016): Three Shi‘a Poets: Sect-Related Themes in Pre-Modern Urdu Poetry

This paper examines the ways in which sectarian differences were approached by three major Hindustani poets: Sauda, Mir and Ghalib. These poets evoked, acknowledged, played upon, and even enjoyed Sunni-Shi‘ite differences without the situation always reaching some kind of instantaneous flashpoint of sectarian “tension”. Contrary to recent arguments that sectarian affiliation can be discerned through evidence of ritual practice of pilgrimage and paying respect to the shrines of certain historical personages of spiritual importance, in the Indian environment, as no doubt elsewhere also, it appears difficult to pin down sectarian affiliation from rituals and expressions of respect and devotion to the Prophet’s household.

No 1 (2016): “Our Little Piratical Intentions”: Select Narratives of British Abolition in East Africa, 1849-1873

This paper examines efforts of the British Royal Navy to abolish the slave trade along the East African coast in the mid-nineteenth century through the select narratives of George L. Sulivan and William Cope Devereux. The abolition campaign was weakened by numerous factors, including the Royal Navy’s lack of instruction, organization and central command. I argue that these problems resulted in various acts of misconduct by British Navy men. Increasingly, compensation and “success” depended upon antagonistic relationships with slave traders, Zanzibari locals, Omani elite and other European agents. 

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