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Janet J. Ewald, Associate Professor, History

Janet J. Ewald
Contact Info:
Office Location:  316 Carr Building
Office Phone:  (919) 684-4280
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2019):

    Friedl Bdg 225, WF 08:30 AM-09:45 AM
    (also cross-listed as AAAS 89S.03)

Ph.D.University of Wisconsin at Madison1982
M.A.University of Wisconsin at Madison1975
B.A.University of Wisconsin at Madison1973

Comparative Colonial Studies
Labor and Working Class History
Medieval and Early Modern History
African, Middle East and Asia
Global and Comparative
Research Interests:

Current projects: I enjoy reading novels and discussing them; following Carolina Hurricanes hockey and Duke women's basketball; walking; swimming; communing with my cats; cooking, especially vegetarian and my own versions of Asian cuisine; travelling.

My specialty in the history of Africa has led me, in both my teaching and research, to explore how Africans participated in the major currents of world history since about 1700. My first book Soldiers, Traders, and Slaves: State Formation and Economic Transformation in the Greater Nile Valley, 1700-1885 uses oral traditions as well as written sources to reconstruct how people in a dangerous frontier zone responded to predatory empires, commercial capitalism, slave raiding, and militant Islam. The book, as well as several articles, analyzes not only how people constructed a small kingdom but also how they continually reconstructed their memories of that kingdom. Following the paths of slaves from the Nile valley led me to the shores of the Indian Ocean and beyond. I have now embarked on a second major project, "Crossers of the Sea: Port and Maritime Labor in the Northwestern Indian Ocean, 1500-1914." The project analyzes two forms of labor control--indentures and slavery--in a maritime setting. Not only Africans, but also Asians and Europeans, are the main actors; center stage is the Indian Ocean bounded by the crescent of shore from Bombay through the Arabian coast to the African Swahili coast; the action takes lace in the tumultuous centuries, especially after 1750, when a system of slavery rose and fell; Asian and African autonomy gave way to European dominance; and steam engines replaced sailing vessels on the ocean.


Asia • Africa • Nile • India • Indian Ocean • History • Empires

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

    Recent Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

    1. Ewald, JJ, The Nile Valley system and the Red Sea slave trade 1820-1880, in The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century (December, 2013), pp. 71-92, ISBN 9781315035383 [doi]
    2. Ewald, JJ, African Bondsmen, Freedmen, and the Maritime Proletariats of the Northwestern Indian Ocean World, c1500-1900, in INDIAN OCEAN SLAVERY IN THE AGE OF ABOLITION, edited by Harms, R; Freamon, BK; Blight, DW (October, 2013), pp. 200-222, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-16387-2
    3. J.J. Ewald, Roundtable Review of G. Balachandran, GLOBALIZING LAROUR? INDIAN SEAFARERS AND WORLD SHIPPING, c1870-1945, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY, vol. XXV no. 1 (June, 2013), pp. 275-282
    4. Ewald, JJ, Reviews of Gopalan Balachandran, Globalizing Labour? Indian Seafarers and World Shipping, c. 1870-1945 with a response by Gopalan Balachandran, International Journal of Maritime History, vol. 25 no. 1 (January, 2013), pp. 275-314, SAGE Publications, ISSN 0843-8714 [doi]
    5. Ewald, JJ, Bondsmen, Freedmen, and Maritime Industrial Transport, 1840-1900, Slavery and Abolition, vol. 31 no. 3 (September, 2010), pp. 450-466 [doi]  [abs]

    American Council for Learned Societies; Carter G. Woodson Institute Fellow; Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow; National Humanities Center Fellow; American Institutes for Yemeni Studies fellowship for research in Yemen; Trent Foundation; American Philosophical Society; various awards for developing courses in Atlantic and Indian Ocean history.