Unmooring the Dhow: Navigating the Indian Ocean in East African Fiction
Presented in partial fulfillment of my master’s degree in African Studies at Stanford University, this presentation is a literary analysis of a Somali short story centered around the question, “What does the Indian Ocean contribute as a literary cartography for exploring one’s place in the world and relationship to others?” Attention to the role of the Indian Ocean in East African texts challenges the inherited African literary tradition’s assumptions about space and representation, particularly as they relate to national allegory. The presence of the ocean in East African texts suggests possibilities of a less linear and more circular pedagogy and a fluid sense of identity and citizenship. It urges scholars to attend to histories and stories that unfold at and by the sea and take seriously the idea that the ocean is a speculative space for imagining the future.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars program at Seattle Pacific University and honored with the Wesley E. Lingren Award for 2015, this project aims to capture the synthesis of myth and personal story in the narratives of Ethiopian evangelical Christians. Gathered in Ethiopia in summer 2014, the narratives of torture, persecution, and conversion are each paired with an Ethiopian folktale and analyzed for their connections. The stories are preceded by an introductory literature review and followed by a discussion of the role of religious experience in the future of Ethiopian evangelical Christianity and Christianity at large.