Dressing up: Clothing, Class and Gender in Post-Abolition Zanzibar

by Laura Fair


Between 1890 and 1930, [formerly-enslaved people] in the isles of Zanzibar transformed their social identities from those of servile ‘outsiders’ to local residents with vested social, economic, and political interests. Clothing served as one important and visually immediate means of articulating these changes of identity. Intrigued by the power of drawings and photographs to act as historical sources, the author utilizes such evidence as an integral part of the discussion and text. Fair also uses more traditional forms of evidence to illustrate the ways in which fashion mirrored not only changes in class position but also ethnic transformations and gender relations.

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