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Title: Tales of the everyday city : geography and chronology in postcolonial Mombasa
Author: Goodman, Zoe
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 9417
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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Grounded in ethnographic research conducted amongst Mombasa's small and heterogeneous Muslim population with roots in what is today the Indian state of Gujarat, this thesis explores the mobilities, insecurities, notions of Islamic reform and patterns of claims-making that circulate in the city. These themes are examined through the lens of 'everyday' discourse and practice, paying particular attention to the multiplicity of dispositions towards time and space that inform these broader urban processes. The thesis describes Mombasan Muslims struggling with history and with the future. Through Art Deco façades, deep-fried delicacies and discourses of decay, I consider some of the ways individuals historicise their relations to the city, marking status and relations of affinity, as much as arraigning others for the political, economic and religious uncertainties of the present. Unpacking a blood donation drive and a gated community in-the-making, I trace the histories and geographies of piety that colour this Indian Ocean port, and how these are entangled with material aspirations and regional anxieties. The 'Mombasan urbanism' that emerges in these pages is as scopic as it is rooted; it is infused with memory and with futurity. The discourses and practices of the littoral residents we encounter bring us into dialogue with a range of literatures, from the anthropology of architecture to ethnographies of insecurity, as well as studies of memory and mourning. These, and other thematic issues, are considered in tandem with the regional scholarship on Islam in Kenya, Asians in East Africa and Indian Ocean cosmopolitanisms. The research presented here offers possibilities for thinking beyond the racialised social categories that continue to structure stereotype and scholarship in East Africa, and expands the literature on 'being' Muslim in Mombasa. Through the geographies and chronologies shown to constitute the Mombasan everyday, this thesis evinces the city as always in the making.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral