Mapping Red Sea Frontiers: Space and Mobility between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean

Presentation by Professor Jonathan Miran, Western Washington University.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
10383 Bunche hall
10th floor
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

This presentation will focus on one of the maritime-based regional systems that together with others, such as the Persian/Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal, constitute the Indian Ocean as an ‘interregional arena’. The Red Sea maritime space, or region, has usually been perceived as merely an interface, a transit space, connecting the maritime systems of the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. This limiting vision has often masked a much more complex and vibrant regional system characterized by multilayered and overlapping circuits and networks operating within it and connecting Northeast Africa not only with Arabia, but also to the Mediterranean and the broader Indian Ocean areas. Thinking the Red Sea area as a region sui generis, I will attempt to construct and deconstruct what some have called the “Red Sea World” by looking at the brisk flows and criss-crossing of people, goods and ideas across this area and beyond it, and offer paths to imagine this space and its connections with adjacent areas.

 Jonathan Miran is Associate Professor of African and Islamic history at Western Washington University. He studied at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) in Paris and at Michigan State University where he received a Ph.D. in African History. His research interests focus on the social history of Muslim Northeast Africa, the history of Islam and Muslim societies in that area, as well as the Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean regions in trans-regional and global perspectives. He is the author of Red Sea Citizens: Cosmopolitan Society and Cultural Change in Massawa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009). His articles appeared in Die Welt des Islams, International Journal of African Historical Studies, Slavery & Abolition, Chroniques Yéménites, and other journals and collections. Recently, he guest-edited a special issue of Northeast African Studies on the Red Sea region (Volume 12, Issue 1, 2012). He has held editorial and advisory board positions with the Encyclopaedia Aethiopica and the Oxford Dictionary of African Biography, and serves as member of the editorial boards of the journals Arabian Humanities (CEFAS/CNRS), Pount. Cahiers d’Etudes sur la Corne de l’Afrique et l’Arabie du Sud, as well as the scholarly discussion list H-Horn (H-Net Humanities On-line).

Cost : Free and open to the public; pay-by-space and all-day parking ($11) available in lot 3.

For more information please contact:

UCLA African Studies CenterTel: 310-825-3686

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Center for Near Eastern Studies, UCLA Department of History