New project on Indian Ocean infrastructures and transregional connections
With Uwe Skoda (India and South Asia Studies) and Thomas Fibiger (Arab and Islamic Studies)
Focusing on community-led infrastructure projects, 'Infrastructures and transregional connections in the Indian Ocean' (CO-OC) will investigate how transregional relations play out in the everyday lives and social imaginaries of one of the Gujarati Muslim communities residing in the port cities of Mumbai, Dar es Salaam and Dubai. Furnished by monsoon winds, connections of all kinds – economic, religious, material, aesthetics, social, political – have crisscrossed the Indian Ocean for millennia. Today the region has re-emerged as an increasingly important focus of geopolitical strategy. By way of an ethnographically rich analysis of community-led Muslim infrastructural initiatives, CO-OC aims to advance the study of what has been called ‘thick transregionalism’. Studying the social life of infrastructures of a heterogenous religious community in three littoral locations, this project will unpack the links within and between Indian Ocean regions. Aiming to rethink conventional tropes and methods within area studies, the project positions infrastructures as a novel analytical category for studying the Indian Ocean and will produce one of the first simultaneous multi-sited ethnographies of the region.
The PI is Uwe Skoda (India and South Asia Studies), who will be working with Thomas Fibiger (Arab and Islamic Studies) and two postdocs.