The Indian Ocean Symposium 2019


Although the Indian Ocean World has a history of inter-connectivity and exchange spanning millennia, it has only recently started to attract scholarly attention. As a consequence, studies on this world lag behind those of movement and connectivity in the relatively more recent Atlantic World. These connections linked the Red Sea, large swathes of the African continent, the Middle East, the Asian sub-continent and the Far East. Over millennia, plants, animals, people, languages, ideas, religions, precious stones, metals, technologies and a vast array of raw and manufactured commodities crisscrossed the vibrant corridors of the

Indian Ocean to lands bordering it and beyond. These proposed areas of study offer a wide variety of perspectives on circularities and identities forged in the Indian Ocean.  With this mapping, we endeavour not only to advance knowledge of this vibrant region but also to further discussion about overlapping African and Asian diasporas. 

This meshwork of diasporic circularities, from the earliest times to the present, remains of interest to the Indian Ocean Working Group. Consequently, this conference will continue to investigate them but with a major focus on the Western Indian Ocean through an interdisciplinary body of work including, but not limited to: archaeology, art, ethnography, history, literature and political science among others. This year, we are interested in exploring relationships between Eastern Africa and the Gulf and the Indian subcontinent in a bid to deepen our understanding of the Indian Ocean World.