Converging cultures: The Hadrami diaspora in the Indian Ocean

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This project, which forms part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme, uses the Hadrami diaspora as a case study. Driven both by economic constraints and by political unrest, the people of Hadramawt (southern Yemen) have historically emigrated to various parts of the Indian Ocean, taking a range of influences with them (particularly religion) and returning with others (food, clothing, architecture, ideas). The Hadrami presence is particularly visible in Singapore and parts of Indonesia; in India; on the Swahili coast; in North-East Africa; and in the Gulf region and Saudi Arabia.

This research analysed the strategies that individuals and groups employ in the pursuit of economic, religious, political or social ends, paying particular attention to the way that links among and between kin-based, religious and cultural groups are activated and consolidated to achieve these ends. It also investigated how the Hadrami diaspora (in East Africa, South Asia and the Arabian peninsula) and the homeland sustain one another through enduring links of various kinds, and looked at how convergences (or reconvergences) of diasporic activity on the homeland provide for a parallel reshaping of homeland identity and the renewal of diasporic

Principal Investigator

Iain Walker


The Leverhulme Trust