Team 1 - The Development and Structure of the IOW Global Economy

This team is researching five main themes: (i) the development and structure of the IOW global economy; (ii) maritime connections and exchanges within Africa and between the western Indian Ocean, as well as between that region (the Western IOW) and the wider IOW; (iii) the relationship between the environment and enslavement/slave trades in the IOW (with a focus on the Western IOW); (iv) human migration across the Western IOW; and (v) Western IOW environmental history (human-environment interaction).

Latest Team Publications

2012 Gwyn Campbell, "Children and Forced Labour in the Indian Ocean World, circa 1750-1900." In Labour, Coercion, and Economic Growth in Eurasia, 17th-20th Centuries, edited by Alessandro Stanziani, 87-112. Leiden: Brill, October 2012.

2012 Hideaki Suzuki, "Enslaved population and Indian owners along the East African Coast: Exploring the Rigby Manumission List, 1860-1861." History in Africa 39: 209-240. See more of Team 1's publications...


Gwyn Campbell, McGill University

Gwyn Campbell holds a Canada Research Chair in Indian Ocean World History at McGill University. Born in Madagascar, he grew up in Wales where he worked as a BBC radio producer in English and Welsh. He holds degrees in economic history from the universities of Birmingham and Wales and has taught in India (Voluntary Service Overseas) as well as at universities in Madagascar, Britain, South Africa, Belgium and France. He served as an academic consultant for the South African Government in a series of inter-governmental meetings which led to the formation of an Indian Ocean regional association in 1997. A specialist in the economic history of the Indian Ocean region, he is a member of McGill’s Centre for Developing Area Studies (CDAS) and African Studies Program. He also established the Zanzibar portion of McGill’s Africa Field Studies Program in collaboration with IOWC associate Abdul Sherrif.


Martha Chaiklin, University of Pittsburgh

Martha Chaiklin is an independent curator and historian, who is currently working on a monograph on ivory trade in early modern Asia. For the MCRI project, she will compare archive results with climate and other data in the MCRI data bank to determine external factors affecting ivory supply and use GSI to map relationships.

She was the Curator of Asian History at the Milwaukee Public Museum from 2001-2005. As an independent curator her projects include Noh Theatre in the Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Kogyo (1869–1927) (2014) and More on Less: The History of Burlesque in America from Lydia Thompson to Amber Ray (2015). She has authored Cultural Commerce and Dutch Commercial Culture: The Impact of European Material Culture on Japan (CNWS, 2003) and Ivory and the Aesthetics of Modernity in Meiji Japan (Palgrave, 2014) as well as numerous book chapters and academic articles. She also translated and annotated the memoir of C.T. Assendelft de Coningh, A Pioneer in Yokohama: A Dutchman's Adventures in the New Treaty Port (Hackett, 2012) and co-edited Asian Material Culture (University of Amsterdam, 2009). Martha Chaiklin has a PhD in History from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Amitava Chowdhury, Queen's University

Amitava Chowdhury's research focuses on identity formation processes of the South Asian indentured labor diaspora in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. His previous research includes historical archaeology of maroon slave sites and indentured labor sites in Mauritius. His archaeological site, the Aapravasi Ghat, an indentured labor immigration depot in Mauritius, was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. In July 2008, his archaeological site, Le Morne Brabant, a fugitive slave site in Mauritius, was also inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

His publications include: (in press) "Maroon Archaeological Research in Mauritius and its Possible Implications in a Global Context." In Lydia Wilson Marshall (ed.), The Archaeology of Slavery: Toward a Comparative Global Framework. (CAI, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 2014); "Le petit marronnage comme processus d'adaptation épisodique dans l'île Maurice : les données relevées sur le terrain et leur pertinence globale." In André Delpuech and Jean-Paul Jacob (eds.), Archéologie de l’esclavage colonial. (Paris: Éditions La Découverte, Paris, 2014), pp. 261-273; Horizons of Memory: Indian indentured labor and identity in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean (forthcoming); Aapravasi Ghat: Past and Present: Archaeological Investigations (Port Louis, Mauritius: Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund, 2003); "The symbolic and archaeological significance of Le Morne Brabant: A fugitive slave site of Mauritius." Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology 3 (2006): 50-61; "Theoretical Reflections on Maroon Archaeology in Mauritius," Revi Kiltir Kreol 3 (2003): 55-59; "Indentured labor" in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, Volume 3, 93-95; "Coolie Trade" in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, Volume 2, 339-341.

Sally K. Church, University of Cambridge (see Associated Team page)

Dr. Sally K. Church holds a B.A. in history from Middlebury College, Vermont, an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in East Asian Languages and Civilisations. She is a Tutor and Fellow of Wolfson College, Affiliated Researcher in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES), and Director of Studies for that faculty in three colleges (Wolfson, Hughes Hall and St Edmunds), all at the University of Cambridge. Her main areas of expertise are Chinese language, literature and history of various periods, particularly the Ming. Since 2000, she has been investigating China's diplomatic relations in connection with Zheng He's maritime expeditions (1405-1433), and has also worked extensively on the ships used on those expeditions. She was Project Co-ordinator for the Civilizations in Contact Research Project in AMES in 2008-2011, and became Director in 2012 of the UK registered charity Civilizations in Contact, which aims to educate the general public about intercultural exchanges in the past with a view toward enhancing international understanding in the present and future.

Ulrike Freitag, Freie Universität

Professor Ulrike Freitag is director of Berlin’s Zentrum Moderner Orient (Centre for Modern Oriental Studies) and a professor of Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität (Free University of Berlin).

A graduate in History, Islamic Studies and German Literature from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Dr. Freitag has previously taught at Fern-Universität, Hagen and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Professor Freitag is Co-Editor of SOAS/Routledge/Curzon Studies on the Middle East, Editor of ZMO Studien, Co-Editor of Geschichte und Gesellschaft and Co-Editor of the Journal of Global History. She is a member of the Selection Committee for the Georg-Foster-Scholarships, Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, and on the Advisory Board for Oriental Institute of Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft in Beirut.

Amenah Jahangeer Chojoo, Mahatma Gandhi Institute

Amenah Jahangeer Chojoo is Associate Professor at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Mauritius. She heads the School of Mauritian and Area Studies, which is specialised in multidisciplinary research on Mauritius and the Region.

Amenah completed her PhD in Geography at the University of Bordeaux, France, in 1997 on La Communauté Musulmane de Port Louis. Une étude de Géographie Sociale. She currently works on Indian Trading Communities in the Indian Ocean and folk festivals like the Muharrum among descendants of Indian immigrants outside India.

Amenah holds a Licence from Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and an MBA from University of Poitiers, France. Her spoken languages are Kreol, French, English, Urdu and Bhojpuri.

She is also the Chief Editor of the Journal of Mauritian Studies, a six monthly journal of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute.

Pedro Machado, Indiana University

Pedro Machado is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Indiana University, Bloomington. He holds an MA in History (with distinction, 1997) from the University of New Hampshire and a PhD in History (2005)from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has previously held posts at New York University (2005-7), Long Island University (2002-3) and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1999-2002). Dr. Machado also worked as a researcher on the Atlantic Slave Trade CD-Rom Project, jointly managed by the Universities of Hull, Chicago, Rochester and Wisconsin (2004), and worked on the Global History of Leprosy Project based at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford University (2003).

Dr. Machado, whose languages include Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Afrikaans, Gujarati, French and Kiswahili, has been the recipient of numerous research awards and fellowships, including a Fundacao Gulbenkian Research Award (1998), a Postgraduate Fellowship (2000-2001) and a Visiting Fellowship (2005) from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London (2005). He has researched and published on various aspects of Indian Ocean World trade, notably on India-Mozambique maritime exchange. He is currently conducting research for a manuscript under preparation entitled, "Mobile Histories: South Asian, Africa and the western Indian Ocean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries."

Gijsbert Oonk, Eramus University Rotterdam

Gijsbert Oonk (1966) is Associate Professor of African and South Asian History at Erasmus School of History Culture and Communication. He specializes in business, migration and economic history. He is particularly interested in the role of South Asian (Indian) migrants and settlers in East Africa, on the subject of which he recently published Settled Strangers: Asian Business Elites in East Africa 1800-2000 (Sage Publication, 2013).

His research and teaching activities are in the field of World History, especially African and Indian History. For the Indian Ocean World Centre he will work on two projects, the history of the cholera epidemics in Western Indian Ocean in the 19th century, and the Emergence of German Rupee in East Africa.

For more information, see

K. Rajan, Pondicherry University

Professor K. Rajan received his MA in Ancient History and Archaeology from Madras University in 1980 and obtained his PhD in 1988 from Mysore University. He has conducted excavations in Kodumanal, Mayiladumparai, Thandikudi and Porunthal, in addition to participating in underwater diving operations in Poompuhar (Tamil Nadu) and Dwarka (under Dr. S.R. Rao). He has authored several books including the recent Megalithic Builders of South India : Archaeo-Anthropological Investigations on Human Skeletal Remains from Kodumanal (2011) and the two-volume Catalogue of Archaeological Sites in Tamil Nadu (2009). Professor K. Rajan specializes in South Indian archaeology, proto-historic and historical archaeology, trade and commerce, and traditional technology. He currently teaches in the Department of History at Pondicherry University.

Himanshu Ray, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Himanshu Prabha Ray is a Full Professor in the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Professor Ray is an internationally-renowned archaeologist who has participated in excavations at Purana Qila, New Delhi (1971-72 & 1972-73); Mathura (1973-74); Ban Tha Kae, Lopburi Province, Thailand (December 1989); Arikamedu near Pondicherry (December 1990-February 1991); and Mahasthan, Bangladesh (February 1993). She has also participated in an exploratory survey of indigenous boat-building techniques on the Orissa coast (February 1996).

The recipient of a number of prestigious research awards - most recently the Shivdasani Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford (October-December 2005), and the Jawaharlal Nehru University Visiting Fellow in Arts at the University of Sydney, Australia (June 2005) - Professor Ray is a member of the Board at the School of Social Sciences and a member of the Special Committee for the Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is also a member of the Archaeological Society of India, the Indian Association for Prehistoric & Quaternary Studies, the Indian History Congress and the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association.

Himladevi Soodyall, University of the Witwatersrand

Professor Himla Soodyall is the Director of the Human Genomic Diversity and Disease Research Unit (HGDDRU) that was established by the South African Medical Research Council in conjunction with the National Health Laboratory Service and the University of the Witwatersrand. She has received degrees from the University of Durban-Westville (B.Sc., Microbiology, Biochemistry, 1985; B.Sc. (Honours), Microbiology, 1986) and the University of the Witwatersrand (M.Sc., Biotechnology, 1986; PhD, Human Genetics, 1993). Professor Soodyall was nominated to the Academy of Science, South Africa, in 2003 and received the Order of Mapungubwe, Bronze medal, from President Mbeki for her contribution to science.

Professor Soodyall’s primary research goal is to “map and model genetic diversity in sub-Saharan African populations to reconstruct the history of African populations as well as to understand the mechanism of population susceptibility to disease.”

In 2005, Professor Soodyall became the sub-Saharan African Principal Investigator of the Genographic Project, in which capacity she has forged a collaboration with Gwyn Campbell of the Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill.

Alessandro Stanziani, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

Alessandro Stanziani is a Professor at EHESS (École des hautes études en sciences sociales), Paris, and a Research Director at the CNRS (Centre National des Recherches Scientifiques). He is the author of several books, including the recently published Rules of Exchange: French Capitalism in Comparative Perspective, Eighteenth to Early Twentieth Centuries and Bâtisseurs d'empires: Russie, Chine et Inde à la croisée des mondes, XVe-XIXe siècle. His fields of interests center on Russian economic and social history, food history, the history of competition in the West, and the global history of labour in Eurasia.

Lakshmi Subramanian, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

Dr. Subramanian received her PhD in 1985 from the Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, India. She taught at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, before taking up her current post at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. Some of her recent publications include:

• A History of India, 1707-1857. Orient Blackswan, Delhi, 2010. • Veena Dhanammal: The making of a legend. Routledge, 2009. • “Commerce, circulation and consumption: Indian Ocean communities in historical perspective,” in Indian Ocean Studies: Cultural, Social, and Political Perspectives (Routledge, 2009).

Her current areas of research include early colonial Bombay and the changing maritime dispensation in the Indian Ocean, and Indian Ocean journalism.

Hideaki Suzuki, Japan Society for the Promotion of the Science

Hideaki Suzuki is Associate Professor at the School of Global Humanities and Social Sciences, Nagasaki University, Japan. He gained a BA in history from Gakushuin University (Japan) in 2001 and an MA in history from Keio University (Japan) in 2003, and received a PhD from the University of Tokyo in 2010 with this thesis on slave traders in the 19th century western Indian Ocean World.

Proficient in Japanese, English, French, Arabic and Kiswahili, Hideaki Suzuki has received a number of prestigious research awards including a Mishima Kaiun Memorial Foundation award (2008) to investigate the "Slave Trade and Gujarati Merchants in the 19th century western Indian Ocean World;" and a Fuji Zerox Kobasyashi Setsutaro Memorial Research award (2007) to research "Continuity and transformation of traditional maritime trade in the 19th century Indian Ocean World".

Hideaki Suzuki's current interests include slave trade and slavery in the IOW; seasonality of trade and life in the IOW (the cycle of production, exchange and migration within and across the major regions of the IOW, and the connections between them); the role of the whale as a major component both of the marine life of the IOW of and of human imagination, legend, and even worship; and the Kuchchhi merchant diaspora from the eighteenth to twentieth century.

He is currently working on a book project on the nineteenth century slave traders in the western IOW.

Alberto Tiburcio Urquiola, McGill University

Alberto Tiburcio is currently studying a PhD at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University and holds an MA in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from Columbia University (2007) and a BA in Latin American Literature from the Universidad Iberoamericana (2005) in Mexico.

His main fields of interests are social and economic history and -to a lesser extent- legal thought during the Safavid period in Iran (1501-1722). He is currently working with the MCRI on a project on disease and calamity in the context of Safavid Iran, looking at their major social ramifications as well as at some legal issues associated with them.

His working languages include Spanish (native), Persian, Arabic, French, and Portuguese.

Jonathan Walz, Rollins College

Jonathan Walz is an anthropologist who practices archaeology. Dr. Walz is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Archaeology Coordinator, and Interim Director of the Center for India and South Asia at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Dr. Walz earned a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida, where he also taught in the Interdisciplinary Honors Program (2007-2010). As a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellow and with support from Fulbright-Hays, he studied African history at the University of Dar es Salaam and conducted dissertation research in northeastern Tanzania. He also holds a BA (highest honors) in Anthropology and African Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Walz's scholarship addresses political economies, and currently emphasizes transoceanic interactions between western India and eastern Africa during the first millennium CE. A Research Associate at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Dr. Walz has conducted or contributed to archaeology- and heritage-related projects in Ethiopia, France, India, Italy, Kenya, Tanzania, and the United States. His publications appear in American Antiquity, African Archaeological Review, Historical Archaeology, and Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology, as well as in edited volumes from Oxford, School for Advanced Research, and Wiley-Blackwell, among others.


Rashed Chowdhury, McGill University

Rashed Chowdhury completed his PhD in history at McGill, focusing on the socio-political context of the Hijaz Railway built by the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. Rashed’s broader interests include the relationship between Islam and the state in the Middle East and beyond, the socio-political ramifications of modernisation in the Muslim world, as well as Muslim minorities in Europe. Rashed holds a BA (Hons.) in international relations from Grinnell College (Iowa) and an MA in Islamic studies from McGill. He is currently doing postdoctoral work on Russian explorers and travelers in the Indian Ocean World, from Africa to South-East Asia.


Omri Bassewitch Frenkel, McGill University

Omri is a PhD candidate in history at McGill University. He holds a BA in East-Asian Studies and History (2004) and an MA in History (2010), both from the Tel Aviv University. Omri’s prospective PhD thesis will be looking at the development of a Spanish colonial cuisine in the Philippines. This study will attempt to trace Spanish food consumption patterns in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Philippine Islands. His broader research interests include sixteenth and seventeenth-century European trade and imperial adventures in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea, early modern European interaction with overseas Chinese communities, and the Asian-European food and spice trade, and its impact on food consumption in Europe.

Carl Hughes, McGill University

Carl is finishing the final year of his undergrad at McGill in Geography and International Development. He is currently working on a mapping application of the IOWC MCRI database. This dynamic and interactive application will allow users to access and visualize data using the Google Earth plugin. He also creates digital maps for various books and publications using the IOWC's geospatial database.

Peter Hynd, McGill University

Peter Hynd is a PhD student in the History Department at McGill University. He is currently researching the production, consumption, trade and regulation of alcohol and drugs in India during the colonial period. He completed his BA in history at the University of Toronto in 2007 and an MA in history at McMaster University in 2010. His major MA research project was a history of the Australian wine industry and his PhD research aims to continue the study of the economic and social history of alcohol in the context of globalization and colonialism.


Lorna Mungur, McGill University

Lorna Mungur holds a BA in History from McGill University. Her research interests include the different forms of slavery and unfree labour in the Western Indian Ocean world, the relation between natural disasters and unfree labour, and British colonies in the Indian Ocean world. Lorna will start her MA in History at McGill in the fall of 2012 and is currently working on Portuguese archival material for the MCRI project.


Emrah Sahin, McGill University

Emrah Sahin is broadly interested in Late Ottoman Diplomacy and Society, Americans in the Middle East, Foreign Missionary Activity and Muslim Migrations. He holds degrees from Middle East Technical University, Bilkent University and McGill University. His dissertation, for which he was awarded a Turkish Cultural Foundation Fellowship, explains how Ottoman bureaucrats dealt with foreign missionary activity in specific parts of the Empire. Sahin has also received a Faculty of Arts Student Teaching Award at McGill and won the Best Paper Prize at the Pierre Savard Conference. Currently, he is translating an edited book on North Africa, examining Turkish sources on the main themes of MCRI project and is writing a chapter on the historical significance of citizenship debates. His articles have appeared in Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia and Africa, International Journal of Turkish Studies, The Journal of the Historical Society and World History Bulletin.