Second Book Project

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Global history of a small space

Environmental history

Gender and sexuality

Migration and "internal" migration

History of touris


Historical ethnography

Sun, Sex, and Seaweed: Global histories of an intertidal zone


My second book project expands my interests in gender and transnationalism to an environmental history of a narrow strip of coastline in Zanzibar that plays host to a vibrant microcosm of Indian Ocean society. 


I center the dynamic interactions of the diverse cast of actors found in these coastal villages. Recent migrants from the African interior, Waswahili Zanzibaris, Arabs, European kite surfers and hoteliers, women farming seaweed, herds of cows, and a dying coral reef share this very small space. I examine the impact of the global tourist industry on a delicate coastal environment.


More than that, however, I center individuals such as Maasai “beach boys” and local farmers as global actors in their own right, breaking with a hegemonic understanding in the islands of such individuals as marginal objects of or even obstacles to a globalizing Zanzibar. 


I began exploratory research on this project through informal interviews and participant observation in the summer of 2019. 

This oral history project continues the attention to marginalized actors that takes center stage in my first research project, necessitating the creation of an oral archive of interviews and close collaboration with intermediaries in Zanzibar. I have spent years developing these connections and the Swahili language skills needed for such work.