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Akbar Keshodkar


Akbar Keshodkar

Professor of Anthropology

akbar keshodkar

Office: PPHAC 311
Phone: 610-861-1685


M.Sc & D.Phil, Anthropology, Oxford University
M.A, Islamic Studies and Humanities, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
B.A., Biology and Islamic Studies, Oberlin College

Teaching/Research Profile

Teaching: I teach courses in Modern African History and Society, Anthropology, Sociology, and Indian Ocean Studies.  Topics of my courses include the politics and movement of identities, Anthropology of Tourism, Muslim societies, trans-nationalism, social theory, comparative sociology, globalization, power and conflict, and societies in modern Africa, and the Indian Ocean world.

Current Research: My research interests primarily lie in examining issues of mobility and immobility. One area of my research explores the impact of socio-economic processes associated with globalization and modernization on formulations of Muslim identities in East Africa and western Indian Ocean societies. I am currently working on exploring how transnational social networks across the Indian Ocean shape patterns of mobility for Zanzibaris and the emerging role of trade activities between Zanzibar and China in fostering new forms of socio-economic-political engagements across the global south. Another area of my research examines how tourism and tourist practices create conditions of involuntary immobility in communities that are increasingly dependent upon them for economic survival and how people in these communities cope with their situation and search for new pathways of socio-economic mobility and maintain resilience under these conditions.  My current project explores these developments in rural coastal communities on the Oregon coast.

Selected Publications


  • Tourism and Social Change in Post-Socialist Zanzibar:  Struggles for Identity, Movement, and Civilization. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2013.

Journal Articles and Chapters:

  • Who Pays the Price for Consuming Nature? Tourism and the Politics of Belonging in the Rural Coastal Community of Newport, Oregon, USA,” in Graham Roberts and Pascale Cohen-Avenel (eds). Whose Space is it Anyway? Place-Branding and Politics of Representation. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, pp. 195-224, 2024.

  • "Indian Ocean Trade and Emerging Pathways of Mobility in Neoliberal Zanzibar," The Journal of Indian Ocean World Studies, 6(1): 38-64, 2022.

  • "Marriage, Mobility, and Belonging of South Asian Women in Zanzibar," in Iain Walker and Marie-Aude Fourere (eds). Across the Waves: Strategies of Belonging in Indian Ocean Island Societies. Leiden: Brill, pp. 49-74, 2022.
  • "Emerging Routes for Framing Muslim Roots in Zanzibar in the Era of Tourism," Journal of Critical African Studies, 11 (3): 361-377, 2019.
  • “State Directed Tourism Branding and Cultural Production in Dubai, UAE," Journal of Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development, 45 (1,2): 93-152, 2016.
  • "Local Consequences for Global Recognition:  The “Value” of World Heritage Status for Zanzibar Stone Town,” in Mike Robinson et al. (eds.). World Heritage, Tourism and Identity: Inscriptions and Co-Production. London: Ashgate, pp. 93-106, 2015
  • “Who Needs China When You Have Dubai? The Role of Networks and Engagement of Zanzibaris in Transnational Indian Ocean Trade,” Journal of Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development, 43 (1,2,3): 105-142, 2014.
  • “Contesting ‘Purity’ and Zones of Inclusion and Exclusion among the Gujarati in Contemporary Zanzibar,” in Sharmina Mawani and Anjoom Mukadam (eds.). Globalisation, Diaspora and Belonging: Exploring Transnationalism and Gujarati Identity. New Delhi: Rawat, pp. 169-189, 2014. 
  • “The Politics of World Heritage Tourism:  The Dilapidation of Zanzibar Stone Town,” in Laurent Bourdeau et al. (eds). World Heritage and Tourism: Managing for the Global and the Local. Quebec City: University of Laval Press, 2011.
  • “Marriage as the Means to Preserve “Asian-ness”:  The Post-Revolutionary Experience of the Asians of Zanzibar,” Journal of Asian and African Studies, 45 (2):  226-240, 2010.
  • “The Impact of Tourism in Re-constituting Genealogies and Kinship Relations in Zanzibar,” Encounters, 1 (fall): 203-229.  Reprint – Second Edition 1 (fall): 215-243, 2009
  • “The Politics of Localization: Controlling Movement in the Field”, Anthropology Matters, Vol. 6 (2), 2004.