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

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

Martin-Luther University, Halle (Saale), Germany

25-26 June 2018

The African Indian Ocean islands have histories founded on migrations,
be they forced (slavery), semi-forced (indentured labourers) or free
(insofar as migrations prompted by social economic or political
pressures in the homeland can be described as free). Migrants have come
to these islands from the African mainland, South and East Asia, the
Arab world and even Europe, where they have either constituted new
societies or inserted themselves into older ones. Histories – of the
people and of the islands – are deeply intertwined, in official
practice, in public texts and in collective memories, and these
histories shape social relations and cultural practices in these islands.

This two-day Conference calls for contributions that address the various
expressions of historical memories of the past and their impacts upon,
for example, social relationships, literary production, cultural
practices, heritage issues or political policies. Participants might ask
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 or between
“Arabs” and “Africans” in Zanzibar. Although we welcome historical
papers, “the past” is a relative term and migrations continue today.
Participants are therefore 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


The conference will take place over two days, 25-26 June 2018, at the
Centre for Interdisciplinary Regional Studies (Zentrum für
Interdisziplinäre Regionalstudien - ZIRS) Martin-Luther University,
Halle (Saale), Germany.

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


A new collection of articles on Africa in the Indian Ocean by CRG members has been 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' have been 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

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