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Edward Alpers

Research Professor

Contact Information

Office  7290 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-825-4093
After teaching at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, he joined the faculty at UCLA, returning to Africa for research, including a year up country in Tanzania and a Fulbright year at the Somali National University in Mogadishu.

Ned Alpers received his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1966. His research and writing focus on the political economy of international trade in eastern Africa through the nineteenth century, including the cultural dimensions of this exchange system and its impact on gender relations, with special attention to the wider world of the western Indian Ocean. He has served as President of the African Studies Association (1994) and Chair of its National Program Committee (2001).

Professor Alpers has published Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa, (1975) and a wide range of chapters in books and scholarly articles. He has co-edited with Pierre-Michel Fontaine Walter Rodney: Revolutionary and Scholar (1982), with William Worger and Nancy Clark Africa and the West: A Documentary history from the Slave Trade to Independence (2001), with Vijaya Teelock History, Memory, and Identity (2001), with Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy Sidis and Scholars: Essays on African Indians (2004), and with Gwyn Campbell and Michael Salman Slavery and Resistance in Asia and Africa (2005). He is currently writing a political economy of eastern Tanzania in the nineteenth century while at the same time engaged in a long-term study of the African diaspora in the Indian Ocean. He will also be writing a text entitled The African Diaspora: A Global Perspective. Professor Alpers has served as chair or co-chair for fifty Ph.D. dissertations and presently chairs or co-chairs the committees of ten advanced graduate students.


Ph.D. School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1966.

Selected Publications

“Islam in the Service of Colonialism? Portuguese Strategy during the Armed Liberation Struggle in Mozambique,” Lusotopie: Enjeux contemporains dans les espaces lusophones (Paris: Karthala, 1999), pp. 165-184.

"East Central Africa," in Nehemia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels (eds.), The History of Islam in Africa (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2000), pp. 303-325.

“Recollecting Africa: Diasporic Memory in the Indian Ocean World,” African Studies Review, 43/1 (2000), pp. 83-99.

“Indian Ocean Africa: the island factor,” Emergences: Journal for the Study of Media and Composite Cultures, 10/2 (2000), pp. 373-386.

“A Complex Relationship: Mozambique and the Comoro Islands in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” Cahiers d’Études Africaines, 161 (2001), pp. 73-95.

Africa and the West. A Documentary History from the Slave Trade to Independence, co-edited with William H. Worger and Nancy Clark (Phoenix: Oryx/Greenwood, 2001).

“A Complex Relationship: Mozambique and the Comoro Islands in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” Cahiers d’Études Africaines, 161 (2001), pp. 73-95.

History, Memory and Identity, co-edited with Vijayalakshmi Teelock (Port-Louis: Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture and University of Mauritius,

“Becoming ‘Mozambique’: Diaspora and Identity in Mauritius,” in Teelock and Alpers, History, Memory and Identity, pp. 117-155.

“La diaspora Africana,” La Vanguardia and La Vanguardia Digital (Barcelona, Spain), 21 October 2002.

“The African diaspora in the Indian Ocean: a comparative perspective,” in Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya and Richard Pankhurst (eds.),The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean (Trenton: Africa World Press, 2003), pp. 19-50.

“Flight to freedom: Escape from slavery among bonded Africans in the Indian Ocean world, c.1750-1970,” Slavery and Abolition, 24, 2 (2003), pp. 51-68.

“Creolization and Slavery among ‘Mozambiques’ in Mauritius and Brazil,” ReviKiltir Kreol, No, 3 (2003), pp. 31-38.

“What is African Studies? Some Reflections,” with Allen F. Roberts, African Issues, 30, 3 (2003, misdated as 2002), pp. 11-18.

“Soldiers, slaves and saints: An overview of the African presence in India,” Kenya Past and Present, 34 (2003), pp. 47-54. Sidis and Scholars: Encounters with African Indians, co-edited with Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy (Noida, India: Rainbow Publishers Limited, 2004).

“Africans in India and the Wider Context of the Indian Ocean” in Catlin-Jairazbhoy and Alpers, Sidis and Scholars, pp. 27-41.

“Family and Identity in the African Diaspora of the Indian Ocean World,” in Olga Barrios and Frances Smith Foster (eds.), La Familia en África y la Diáspora Africana: Estudio Multidisciplinar/Family in Africa and the African Diaspora: A Multidisciplinary Approach(Salamanca: Ediciones Almar/Ambos Mundos, 2004), pp. 3-13.

"Folk Art and Personal Independence in Tanzania: Fundi Mdawalo bin Milonge,” African Arts, 37, 2 (2004), pp. 44-51, 94.

“The Idea of Marronage: Politics and Literature in Réunion,” Slavery & Abolition, 25, 2 (2004), pp. 18-29. Slavery and Resistance in Africa and Asia, co-edioted with Gwyn Campbell and Micahel Salman (London and New York: Routledge, 2005).

“‘Mozambiques’ in Brazil: Another Dimension of the African Diaspora in the Atlantic World,” in José C. Curto and Renée Souloudre-LaFrance (eds.), Africa and the Americas: Interconnections during the Slave Trade (Lawrenceville, NJ: Africa World Press), pp. 43-64.

“Kingalu mwana Shaha and political leadership in nineteenth-century eastern Tanzania,” in Gregory H. Maddox and James L. Giblin (eds.), In Search of a Nation: Histories of Authority and Dissidence from Tanzania (Athens: Ohio University Press and Oxford: James Currey, 2005), pp. 33-54.

Slave Routes and Oral Tradition in Southeastern Africa, co-edited with Benigna Zimba and Allen Isaacman (Maputo, Mozambique: Filsom Entertainment, Lda., 2005).

“Mozambique and ‘Mozambiques’: Slave Trade and Diaspora on a Global Scale,” in Slave Routes and Oral Tradition in Southeastern Africa, pp. 39-61.

Resisting Bondage in the Indian Ocean World, co-edited with Gwyn Campbell and Michael Salman (London: Routledge, 2006).

Cross Currents and Community Networks: Encapsulating the History of the Indian Ocean World, co-edited with Himanshu Prabha Ray (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007).

“The Other Middle Passage: The African Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean,” in Emma
Christopher, Cassandra Pybus, and Marcus Rediker (eds.), Many Middle Passages:
Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 2007), pp. 20-38.

“Parler en son nom? Comprendre les témoignages d’esclaves africains originaires de l’océan
Indien (1850-1930),” with Matthew S. Hopper, Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 63, 4 (2008), pp. 799-828.

East Africa and the Indian Ocean (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2009).

“Representations of Children in the East African Slave Trade,” Slavery and Abolition, 30/1
(2009), pp. 27-40.


Political economy of international trade in eastern Africa through the nineteenth century; slave trade, abolition, and African diaspora in the Indian Ocean; lusophone Africa.