2019 – Towards a Re-mapping of Diasporic Circularities in the Indian Ocean World II

This public conference featured a multidisciplinary panel of local and international scholars seeking to explore and redefine the diverse cultural, economic, and historical ties between the Gulf region, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Through case studies from Qatar, Goa, Zanzibar, and Madagascar, among others, the presenters explored the issues of, oil, wages, Islamic revivalism networks in the Malay-Indonesian world, and the role of Comorian sheikhs as community builders.

Relying on historical records, maps, photographs, and other documentation, the scholars showed how mobility and race, slavery, interracial unions and colonial ethics, and turn-of-the-century maritime military history, connected the empires and histories of different communities and countries in complex ways that told unique stories across the Indian Ocean Rim.

View Speaker Bios


Welcome and Opening Remarks

Panel 1

  • Chair: Uday Chandra, Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Beatrice Nicolini,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart “Re-Mapping Diasporic Circularities: Asian Military Presences in the Indian Ocean during the Nineteenth Century”
  • Pier Larson, Johns Hopkins University “Sex, Marriage, Death: Colonial Ethics and Interracial Unions in the French East India Company’s First Colony (Fort Dauphin, Madagascar), 1642-64”
  • Pamila Gupta, University of Witwatersrand “Being Goan (Modern) in Zanzibar: Mobility, Relationality, and the Stitching of Race

Panel 2

  • Chair: Cóilín Parsons, Georgetown University
  • Anne Bang, University of Bergen “The Shaykh as Community Builder: Burhan Mkelle and the Comorian Community in Interwar Zanzibar”
  • Ahmed Abushouk, Qatar University “Islamic Revivalism Networks in the Indian Ocean: The Case of al-Manar in the Malay-Indonesian World, 1900-1950”

Panel 3

  • Chair: Amira Sonbol, Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Aparna Vaidik, Ashoka University “Writing Pre-Modern Island Histories in a Global Age”
  • Cóilín Parsons, Georgetown University “Oceans Apart: Amitav Ghosh, John Millington Synge, and Incommensurable Comparisons”
  • Jason Fernandes, University-Institute of Lisbon “Goa in the Indian Ocean World: A Slave between Faiths, Empires, and Nations”

Panel 4

  • Chair: Abdullah Baabood, Academic specialist in Gulf/Middle East Studies
  • Samson Bezabeh, Leiden University
  • Ahmad Sikainga, Ohio State University “In the “Time of Suffering”: Slavery, Oil, and Wage Labor in Qatar in the 1930s and 1940s”

Closing Plenary