CFP: Special Issue of *Monsoon: Journal of the Indian Ocean Rim* (Duke University Press) on "The Idea of Revolution in the Indian Ocean World"

Christopher J. Lee's picture

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Call for Papers
July 14, 2023
United Arab Emirates
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Asian History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Contemporary History, World History / Studies

The Idea of Revolution in the Indian Ocean World

A Special Issue of Monsoon (Duke University Press)

Editors: G. Thomas Burgess (US Naval Academy) and Christopher J. Lee (The Africa Institute, UAE)


This special issue of Monsoon proposes to look at the idea of revolution in the Indian Ocean world. Political revolutions have been strongly associated with the Atlantic world, especially during the Age of Revolutions during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries through the examples of the American, Haitian, and French Revolutions. Islamic revolutions also took place in West Africa during the nineteenth century, informed by developments internal to West Africa as well as competition over trade connections to the Atlantic world economy. The Cuban Revolution (1953-59) is a twentieth-century example of this long-term Atlantic world trend.


This special issue seeks to reconsider the historical geography of revolution by repositioning the Indian Ocean as a revolutionary space. During the twentieth century, a number of political revolutions occurred in the littoral zone of the Indian Ocean in places such as Zanzibar (1964), Iran (1979), Indonesia (1945-49), Madagascar (1947-49, 1972), Mozambique (1964-75), and Ethiopia (1974). Further afield, political revolutions transpired in countries like Egypt (1919, 1952) and China (1949), which informed the politics of Indian Ocean countries. Other kinds of economic and cultural revolutions also took place, prominent among them being the Green Revolution in India (1960s).


This special issue of Monsoon subsequently invites article contributions (6,000 to 8,000 words) that explore the idea of revolution in the Indian Ocean world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Topics may include:

  • Exploration of political revolutions, moments, and situations in specific countries.
  • Exploration of revolutionary ideologies (e.g., Marxism-Leninism, Maoism), their circulation across the Indian Ocean region, and their impact even when revolutions per se did not take place.
  • Consideration of whether moments of decolonization and self-determination are revolutionary or not.
  • Consideration of whether coups constitute revolutionary moments or not.
  • Examination of revolutionary thinkers and revolutionary thought in the Indian Ocean world (i.e., the intellectual histories of revolution in the Indian Ocean world).
  • Examination of the distinct languages, concepts, and narratives of revolution in local languages, which historical actors employed to justify radical action.
  • Consideration of why some revolutions did not happen, e.g., the limits of the end of apartheid in South Africa; the relative absence of revolutionary jihads in the nineteenth century (in contrast to West Africa).
  • Debate on the prominence of the Atlantic world in the global history of revolution.
  • Exploration of cultural revolutions that resulted in shifting values and concepts vis-à-vis religion (e.g., the Iranian Revolution), gender, and similar cultural norms and practices.
  • Consideration of economic revolutions in the region, including events of abolition and slave emancipation; trade unions as revolutionary vanguards; and attempts at agricultural revolution (e.g., the Green Revolution in India).
  • Ideas and processes of counter-revolution in the Indian Ocean world.
  • Liberal democratic rights-based movements and their connections to histories of revolutionary struggle.
  • Insurgent movements in the present.

Submissions are welcome from scholars across fields, including historians, political theorists, anthropologists, critical geographers, literary critics, and visual studies scholars.

Please submit a 300-word abstract by July 14, 2023, to:

Notification of accepted abstracts will be announced by August 30, 2023.

First drafts of articles for peer review will be due December 1, 2023.

The issue will be published in the second half of 2024.

Special issue queries:

Abstract submissions: 

Contact Info: 

Editorial Office:
The Africa Institute
Africa Hall, Al Manakh
PO Box 4490
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates