Collaborative Research Group Africa in the Indian Ocean

Welcome to the CRG Africa in the Indian Ocean homepage The aim of the AEGIS Collaborative Research Group on 'Africa in the Indian Ocean' is to promote and facilitate discussion, exchange of information, and collaboration between scholars in Europe, Africa and Asia who are working on Africa in the Indian Ocean.

Click here for a list of members


Members will participate in our research and outreach activities, organise and attend conferences and workshops, and be listed as experts in our database. Members will be kept informed through the crgafrica-io mailing list, to which they will be subscribed upon joining.

Join us

To join CRG Africa in the Indian Ocean, please send an e-mail to preben[at] stating your name, title, institutional affiliation, and domains of expertise.

Upcoming events

Fifth International thematic conference on Africa and the Indian Ocean

“Circulations of knowledge of cultural and artistic practices in African Indian Ocean Island Societies from the Mid-Nineteenth Century”

13-14 October 2022, Nice, France.


-    Preben Kaarsholm, Roskilde University

-    Marie Pierre Ballarin, IRD – Université Côte d’Azur

-    Manuel Ramos, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

-    Iain Walker, Max Planck Institute, Halle

The AEGIS CRG “Africa and the Indian Ocean” is organising a thematic workshop with a special focus on Circulations of knowledge of cultural and artistic practices. The two-day conference will consider different modes of circulation of knowledge, whether scientific, political or ideological, of religious and cultural practices, and particularly musical and artistic practices, in their different dimensions and historicities within the Western Indian ocean and along the East African coast.

Contributors will be invited to consider notions or research questions that cross these different domains of and approaches to circulations.

For instance, the notion of "composition" allows us to apprehend the phenomena of combination, assemblies, adjustments that can be mobilisable not only for the analysis of these modes of circulations, but also to understand the social impacts linked to them. It also makes it possible to grasp the way in which cultural and artistic creators "compose" musically, culturally and socially, according to the local and international/global constraints linked to their movements and their own trajectories.

Other transversal notions may deal with the reformulation of "categories" (aesthetic, moral, identity or ethnic) attached to cultural and artistic circulations and the stakes of legitimacy that result from them as a factor in the construction of differentiations (national, ethnic, social and/or cultural).

This fifth Thematic Conference of the CRG-AIO will take place at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Sud-Est of the University Côte d’Azur in Nice on 13-14 October 2022. This event will be organised in interdisciplinary panels focussing on sets of African Indian Ocean island societies (Madagascar, the Mascarenes, the Querimbas, the Comoros, the Seychelles, Zanzibar, Chagos Archipelago), to strengthen the existing ties between CRG members, participants from AEGIS members, and institutions based in the Western Indian Ocean and along the East African coast. The outcome will be a publication, either an edited volume or a journal special issue. It is expected that theoretical issues will be developed by the participants and if there is sufficient interest the intention is to develop a larger grant application for a project on identities and belonging, related to cultural and artistic practices, in the African Indian Ocean.


Please send an abstract of not more of 300 hundred words by the 5th of September 2022 to:

The selection results will be communicated by the 15th of September 2022.

Participants will be expected to send their papers to the organisers for circulation one week before the conference. Presentations may be in English or in French.

The organisers will be able to cover cost of meals and accommodation but participants will be responsible for their own travel to Nice. However we may be able to subsidize travel costs for participants coming from Western Indian ocean and the East African coast.


The CRG plans also to be hosting two panels at the ECAS9 conference to be held in Cologne in June 2023.- further details to follow.



NEW PUBLICATION: Iain Walker and Marie-Aude Fouéré (eds), 'Across the Waves: Strategies of Belonging in Indian Ocean Island Societies', Leiden: Brill (African Social Studies Series, vol. 44), 2022 -

A collection of articles on Africa in the Indian Ocean by CRG members was published in June 2016 as a special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies, vol. 42, no. 3,  on 'Durban and Cape Town as Port Cities: Reconsidering Southern African Studies from the Indian Ocean', edited by Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie, Isabel Hofmeyr, Preben Kaarsholm and Dennis Walder - see

A selection of papers from the thematic conference and follow-up workshop held by the CRG at Roskilde in 2013 and 2014 on 'Pirates, preachers and politics: Security, religion and networks along the African Indian Ocean coast' were published as a 'Special collection', edited by Preben Kaarsholm, Jeremy Prestholdt and Jatin Dua, in the Journal of Eastern African Studies, vol. 9. no. 3, August 2015 - see


Free E-book

The e-book 'Fluid Networks and Hegemonic Powers in the Western Indian Ocean' can be downloaded here (PDF, 11Mb)

Past events

New Gulf Streams - Middle East and Eastern Africa intersected

The Fourth  AEGIS Thematic Conference of the Collaborative Research Group Africa in the Indian Ocean "New Gulf Streams – Middle East and Eastern Africa intersected" was held at ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon (at Lisbon, Portugal) on September 1-2, 2021. The conference was convened by Aleksi Ylönen, Giulia Danele and Manuel João Ramos, supported by a scientific committee including Alexandra Magnólia Diaz, Iain Walker, Marie-Pierre Ballarin and Preben Kaarsholm

The programme and further details about the conference can be found at


Panel at the ECAS 9 conference in Edinburgh, 11-14 June 2019

From global history to globalization: Connections and disruptions in the African Indian Ocean [CRG Africa in the Indian Ocean]

Convener: Preben Kaarsholm (Roskilde)

Discussant: Marie-Pierre Ballarin (Paris and Nice)


Saada Wahab (Göttingen), 'The Historical Factors for the Development of a Gujarati Population in Zaznibar, c.1870-1963'

Francesco Genovese (Dar-es-Salaam), 'The Disruption of Myth, the Connection of History: First Portuguese Accounts from the African Indian Ocean'

James Kirby (Durham), 'An Ombudsman for Africa? Mauritius and the Spread of Human Rights Institutions in 1990s Africa'



“History and Politics of Belonging in African Indian Ocean Island Societies”

Third thematic conference of the CRG Africa in the IO

Martin-Luther University, Halle (Saale), Germany

25-26 June 2018

This two-day Conference had contributions that addressed the various
expressions of historical memories of the past and their impacts upon social relationships, literary production, cultural practices, heritage issues and political policies. Participants discussed
how memories of the past are both produced by and frame relationships
between different groups in Madagascar, between people of free and slave
ancestry in Mauritius, between islanders in the Comoros and between
“Arabs” and “Africans” in Zanzibar. Participants were encouraged to address the dynamics of
contemporary productions of history and of memories of these migrant
pasts, and how the narratives thus produced shape contemporary modes of

For further information, if required, please contact Iain Walker at


Preben Kaarsholm, Roskilde University
Didier Nativel, Université Paris Diderot
Manuel Ramos, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
Iain Walker, Martin-Luther-Universität



Panel on 'Collective mobilisations in Africa and the Indian Ocean'

ECAS 5, 6th European conference on African Studies, Paris, 8-10 July 2015

2nd International thematic conference on 'Fluid Networks and Hegemonic Powers in the Western Indian Ocean', ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, 9-10 April 2015

Organizers: Ian Walker, Oxford University Manuel João Ramos, ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon Preben Kaarsholm, Roskilde University

Date and place: The 2nd Thematic Conference of the CRG-AIO took place at ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, in 9th-10th April 2015. It brought together the CRG members and non-CRG researchers working on Africa in the Indian Ocean and interested in bridging disciplinary and regional borders in this field of study. Description and outcomes As with the 2013 1st International Conference on Africa and the Indian Ocean, we intend to publish the results in a Conference book. Thematic outline Fluid Networks and Hegemonic Powers in the Western Indian Ocean 2nd International Thematic Conference on Africa and the Indian Ocean ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, 9-10 April 2015



International thematic conference on  'Pirates, preachers and politics: Security, religion and networks along the African Indian Ocean coast' Roskilde University, auditorium 25.1, 13-14 November 2013.

Organised in collaboration with the Centre for African Studies at Lisbon University Institute and the AEGIS collaborative research group on 'Africa in the Indian Ocean'.

For further information, please see contact the conference convener, professor Preben Kaarsholm, at preben[at] or phone no. +45 4674 2703