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Protectors of the Sea: Piracy and Economies of Capture in the Indian Ocean

  • Jatin Dua
Thursday 9 March 2017
Rapenburg 59
IIAS Conference Room

From 2009 to 2012, a dramatic upsurge in incidents of maritime piracy in the Western Indian Ocean led to renewed global attention to the fraught and sometimes over-determined region. It was time for another great unleashing: the deployment of multinational naval patrols, attempts to prosecute suspected pirates, the development of financial interdiction systems to track and stop the flow of piracy ransoms.

Largely seen as the maritime ripple effect of anarchy on land, piracy has been slotted into narratives of state failure and problems of governance and criminality in this region. Through a focus on longer histories of trade, empire and regulation, this talk reframes maritime piracy as an economy of protection that straddles boundaries of land and sea, law and economy, history and anthropology. 


Jatin Dua is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan Ann-Arbor and an IIAS research fellow for 2016-2017. His research focusses on maritime piracy and broader histories of governance, law and economy along the East African Coast. His current book project explores maritime piracy in the Western Indian Ocean within frameworks of protection, risk and regulation by moving between the worlds of coastal communities in northern Somalia, maritime insurance adjusters in London, and the global shopping industry. He has published in the Journal of East African Studies, Middle East Report, and the Journal of International Criminal Justice. He contributes regularly to media outlets on issues of maritime piracy and governance in Somalia and Kenya.


This is a lecuture organised by IIAS, KITLV and Leiden University in the Leiden Indian Ocean Lectures series. 

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