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Sociology and Anthropology

Akbar Keshodkar

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Department Chair

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 lie in examining the impact of socio-economic processes associated with globalization and modernization on formulations of Muslim identities and heritage in sub-Saharan 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.

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:

  • "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.