Masterclass with Henriette Rødland

18 March, 2020
The Hemsley Learning Suite, Reid Library, UWA
Postgraduate Students, Early Career Researchers, Academics, Professional Researchers


**Please note that the day and time of this event has been changed.  

Indian Ocean Labour Histories

A masterclass with Henriette Rødland, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Connecting three continents and spanning a vast network of coastlines, the Indian Ocean has been an arena for commerce and interaction for at least 2,000 years. An integral part of this interaction was the movement of people, both voluntary and involuntary, or something in-between. Labourers, merchants, indentured and enslaved individuals moved (or were moved) between settlements, regions, and coasts, leading to a wide dispersal of commodities, languages, and ideologies. These events have left tangible remains in the form of texts, artefacts, and architecture, as well as intangible traces embedded in religion, culture, and customs, many of which can still be observed today. This masterclass will focus on the ways in which these labour histories and their impact within the Indian Ocean can be studied through a variety of disciplines, including history, archaeology, and heritage management, and why it is important to understand the movement of people in the past. The history of slavery in the Indian Ocean is particularly interesting yet understudied, and the way in which this history is remembered varies greatly depending on specific cultural and political factors. In this masterclass, the Indian Ocean will offer a comparative lens through which we can understand these different factors. It aims to discuss and problematise the role of researchers in the history and heritage of slavery, and how it is remembered, studied, and communicated.

Henriette Rødland is an archaeologist and PhD student at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University, Sweden, where she has also been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate classes on heritage, slavery, and urbanisation. She has also been a visiting teacher at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She specialises in Swahili urban archaeology and the history and archaeology of slavery in East Africa, with a particular focus on the role of artefacts in reflecting, maintaining, and negotiating social identities and inequalities. Her research currently centres on northern Zanzibar, Tanzania, and two early second millennium urban sites that were well-connected to the Indian Ocean sphere of commerce. These relationships brought pottery, cloth, beads, and glass to East Africa, while timber, gold, ivory, and enslaved individuals were exported to other Indian Ocean ports. Henriette holds a BA from the University of York and an MA from the University of East Anglia (Sainsbury Research Unit), where her research focused on archaeological and historical approaches to slavery in West and East Africa.