IOWC Postdoctoral Fellow: Yoshina Hurgobin

Yoshina Hurgobin is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC) at McGill University. She uses malaria as a lens to examine why and how the interactions of diseases and environment impacted the health of labour migrants in three distinct places of the Indian Ocean World (Calcutta, Ceylon and Mauritius). Once malaria became hyperendemic, it became difficult to eradicate it. Tropical climate and recurrent cyclones, mainstays of the Indian Ocean facilitated mosquito breeding. The tropics thus became the most suited site for transmission. Besides weather conditions, compact areas with less sanitation and drainage systems would also have the highest transmission rates. Such was the case in the jute mills of Calcutta, the tea estates of Ceylon and the sugar estates of Mauritius.
 
Yoshina’s Ph.D. dissertation “Citizenship and Nation Making: Ethnicity, Class and the Indo- Mauritian Identity, 1834 – 1968,” examines the interconnections between Indian immigrant workers’ struggles for rights, their claims to citizenship, and the process of nation-making in colonial Mauritius. This work argues that indentured immigrants’ transformation from Indians into Mauritians did not align with the transformation of Mauritius from a British colony to a nation-state. Rather, after indentured workers migrated across the Indian Ocean, they became Indian in a new deterritorialized setting and constructed a creolized Indo-Mauritian identity distinctive from the identity of Indians in sub-continental India.
 
Yoshina has a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Mississippi. Her M.A, M.Phil and Ph.D. in History, as well as her Masters of Public Administration are from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University in New York state. She was also a research assistant at the Foundation for Environmental Security & Sustainability in Fairfax, Virginia. Further, she taught French Literature and French for Alliance Française exams in Quatre Bornes, Mauritius.
 
PUBLICATIONS
 
 “‘Oceans without Borders’: Dialectics of Transcolonial Labor Migration from the Indian Ocean World to the Atlantic Ocean World” (co-authored) International Labor and Working-Class History 87 (March 2015): 7–26.
 “Making of Medical Ideologies: Indentured Labor in Mauritius,” in Histories of Medicine and Healing in the Indian Ocean World, ed. Anna Winterbottom and Facil Tesfaye (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015). 
 
TRANSLATION
 
Ramsurrun, Pahlad. Mahatma Gandhi Et Son Impact à Maurice [Mahatma Gandhi and His Impact in Mauritius]. Translated by Shakuntala Boolell and Yoshina Hurgobin. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 2001.
 
SELECTED CONFERENCE ACTIVITY
 
2017 “Malaria and Labour Migration in the Indian Ocean World” Indian Ocean World Centre Winter 2017 Speaker Series, Montréal, Canada, 9 February.
 
2017 “Overlapping Ideologies and Class Formation in Mauritius, 1937 to 1938” American Historical Association, Denver, Colorado, 5 – 8 January.
 
2016 “Indentured Labor, Casual Worker and Strikes in the Indian Ocean Context of Mauritius”, Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, Wisconsin, 20 – 23 October (Panel Organizer).
 
2016 “Hookworm and Migrant Workers in the Indian Ocean World” International Conference ‘Disease Dispersion and Impact in the Indian Ocean World,’ Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 23 – 24 September.
 
2015 “Petition Filing and Breach of Trust: Indian Indentured Workers in Mauritius, 1842 to 1890,” Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, Wisconsin, 22 – 25 October (Panel Organizer).
 
2014 “Indian Indentured Workers’ Spatial Imagination & the Bounds of an Indian Ocean Island” Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, Wisconsin, 17 October (Panel Organizer).
 
2014 Notions de Citoyenneté à La Réunion durant la Première Guerre Mondiale Society for French Historical Studies Conference, Montréal, Canada, 24 – 26 April.
 
2014 “Debates on Indentured Workers: Colonial Politics in the Indian Ocean,” Association for Asian Studies, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27 March.
 
2013 “Indian Indentured Migrants and Rights of Citizenship in Mauritius, 1834 – 1925,” The Second Annual Graduate Conference on Indian Ocean World Studies, Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 15 November.
 
2013 “Colonial Botany in Ile de France of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” Society for French Historical Studies Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, 4 April (Panel Organizer).
 
2012 “Coolie Migration and Changing Perception of Malaria in Colonial Mauritius,” First Annual Graduate Conference on Indian Ocean World History, Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 28 October.