Two books on microcredit

  • La microfinance et ses dérives. Emanciper, exploiter ou discipliner ? Editions Demopolis, par Isabelle Guérin (IRD-Cessma, associée à l’Institut Français de Pondichéry et au Cermi)
  • La vraie révolution du microcrédit, Editions Odile Jacob, par Jean-Michel Servet (IHEID, associé au Cessma et au Cermi)

The two books will be presented at the Université populaire et citoyenne du CNAM, March 18, 2015, 6 pm.

Isabelle Guérin’s book will be presented at:
-Toulouse, on March 4, 6 pm at the Ombres Blanches bookstore (
– Nantes, March 17, 6 pm at the Institut d’Etudes Avancées (

[Call for papers] Language, Land and Labour. 10th Madagascar Workshop

Language, Land and Labour / 10th Madagascar Workshop

21 May 2015 / Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC), McGill University

Call for Papers

The Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC), McGill will be hosting the 10th Madagascar Workshop on 21 May 2015 on the theme “Language, Land and Labour.” This interdisciplinary workshop brings together anthropologists, historians and other scholars who share an interest in Madagascar and its diaspora. The keynote speech will coincide with the opening presentation, on Madagascar, of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association Conference (AFLA) which runs from 21-24 May 2015.

Among the themes that might be considered are (but not excluded to):

  • Language, power and ideology in (pre-)colonial Madagascar
  • Discourses of land tenure, land degradation and forest use
  • Language of Slavery
  • Language of Religion / Spirit possession
  • Language and identity (gender/ age / ethnicity… )
  • Language and Colonialism
  • Language of Fady / Taboo in Labour and Land relations
  • Non-Austronesian influences on language in Madagascar
  • Labour regimes and land
  • Health, medicine and forest use
  • Power relations and language / land / labour

Those interested in participating should send a title and one-page abstract to the IOWC ( ) by 1 March 2015.

[Call for papers] Desertion and Mobility in Global Labor History, c. 1650-1850

Call for Papers:

Runaways: Desertion and Mobility in Global Labor History, c. 1650-1850

22-23 October 2015,

Amsterdam, International Institute of Social History Department of History, University of Pittsburgh

Early modern globalization depended on the mobility and work of millions of workers who were crucial to production, transport, protection, and warfare. Bound by contract, slavery or otherwise, most of the labour relations through which sailors, soldiers, craftsmen, convicts and slaves were mobilized and employed contained elements in which withdrawal from the labour relation was a punishable offence. Though the lives of the working people were ordained by powerful trading companies and state structures, these workers often tried to pursue their own social and economic interests. Walking away from work, often breaching contract or law, was a widespread phenomenon that had a crucial role in this early stage of globalization. ‘Desertion’ – as understood by authorities – was absence from work: a breach of a labor contract or an act of defiance. For this conference, we define desertion broadly (and is thus not limited to the military sphere) as ‘walking away from work where this was a punishable offence in labour relations underpinned by contracts, obligations or coercion’. It will compare different types of workers. The conference will also explicitly engage with perspectives ‘from below’. Walking away from work was perhaps the most common of all forms of quotidian acts of disobedience amongst the early modern workforce. The study of desertion provides information on the workers’ perception of economic opportunity, conditions of work, strategies of revolt and finally, how these practices among workers shaped the (much larger) history of empire and capitalism in the early modern period.

Desertion of workers thus provides an interesting perspective on early global connections. The mobility and boldness of deserting workers is not surprising. Throughout the world, a vast majority of them were often migrants. From this perspective, desertion can be related to the work place, labour conditions and workers strategies, but also to the opportunities offered by economic and political environments, varying from ‘open’ and ‘empty’ landscapes offering opportunities for settlement and freedom, to ‘urban’ and economically developed areas providing opportunities for (new) work, but also anonymity and shelter. This conference aims to investigate the phenomenon of desertion from a comparative and global (labour) history perspective. In an earlier meeting, some first lines of the history of desertion in the Dutch empire have been explored, comparing cases from Europe, the Atlantic and Asian realms.

This conference aims to broaden the perspective. Therefore, we invite (comparative) case-studies from different regions over the world in order test findings and to uncover new connections. We invite studies related to workers and communities from European and non-European histories. Examples of such cases could relate to:

– Desertion in the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and other empires
– Desertion in European, Asian or other armies
– Desertion from labour contracts in Europe, Asia and the America’s by contracted wage workers such as sailors, soldiers, maids, crafts men or others
– Escape from coerced labour services, such servants (Europe), herendiensten (Java) or oeliam services (Ceylon, present-day Sri Lanka)
– Escape by convicts from work camps and prisons
– Escape by slaves from slave ships, plantations, households in the Atlantic and Asian world
– Escape by slaves, servants, sailors, and other workers in (West-)Africa
– Histories of maroon communities
– Individual desertions or mass desertions

The conference aims to bring together excellent and innovative scholars working on the history of labour and social history, but will also be open to economic and cultural historians who can provide interesting case studies and perspectives. Covering European, Atlantic and Asian environments, it encourages case studies that focus on one or multiple groups of workers engaged in the global economy. In doing so, this conference will trace and compare acts and patterns of desertion across empires, economic systems, regions and types of workers. In order to study desertion comparatively way, we encourage participants to focus on the common research theme. The aim of the conference is to investigate the patterns of desertion and mobility as both economic and political responses to the processes at play in the early modern worlds of work and globalization.

In order to engage with these patterns of desertion systematically, participants are invited to consider the impact of variables such as the labour relations involved; the definitions of ‘desertion’ for different types of work and workers by authorities, employers and workers; the quantitative evidence for the incidence of desertion (and where possible, to reconstruct ‘desertion rates’); general patterns of work and mobility; mechanisms of control; the economic and political interests at stake for authorities, employers and workers.

Abstracts of maximum 500 words, indicating the proposed topic, sources and research methods, can be sent to before 15 April 2015.

Titas Chakraborty, University of Pittsburgh
Jeannette Kamp, Leiden University
Marcel van der Linden, International Institute of Social History
Marcus Rediker, University of Pittsburgh
Matthias van Rossum, International Institute of Social History

IOW Speakers series, Winter 2015

Indian Ocean World Centre / Winter 2015 Speaker Series, Thursdays, 5:45-7:30pm

116 Peterson Hall, McGill University, 3460 McTavish Street, Montréal, Québec, H3A 0E6

Each talk is followed by a reception

15 January: Giancarlo Casale (Professor of History, McGill University), “The Eunuch’s Galleons: Cultural Exchange, Technology Transfer, and Warfare at Sea between the Early Modern Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean World”

22 January: Rashed Chowdhury (IOWC Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University), “Miklouho-Maclay and the Maclay Coast of New Guinea”

29 January: Erin Bell (IOWC PhD Student, McGill University), “Girls in Moral Danger: Juvenile Prostitution in Late Colonial Nairobi”

5 February: Peter Hynd (IOWC PhD Student, McGill University), “Bureaucrats, Smugglers, Peons and Preachers – Regulating the Liquor Trade in Late Nineteenth Century India: Local Policy and Global Politics'”

12 February: Veysel Simsek (PhD Student in History, McMaster University / IOWC Research Assistant, McGill University), “Uneasy Friends in Calm Waters: Anglo-Ottoman competition in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, 1860-80”

19 February: Gwen Bennett (Professor of Anthropology, McGill University), “Cities on a Sea of Grass: Urbanism on the North Asian Steppe”

26 February: Nikolas Gardner (Professor of History, Royal Military College of Canada), “The Experience of Indian Soldiers in Mesopotamia, 1915–1916”

5 March: No talk (study break)

12 March: Junko Takeda (Professor of History, Syracuse University), “They don’t have a word for entrepreneur? French mercantilism and the Asia Trade, 1650-1700”

19 March: Prashant Keshavmurty (Professor of Islamic Studies, McGill University), “Translating Rāma as a Proto-Muhammadan Prophet: Masih’s Masnavi-ye Rām va Sitā”

26 March: Wilson Chacko Jacob (Professor of History, Concordia University), “Oceans Apart: Discovering Sovereignty in the Life of Sayyid Fadl b. Alawi”

2 April: Banu Kaygusuz Tezel (PhD Student in East Asian Studies, University of Toronto), “Contra-images of Empires’ Identities: Collectivity and Incongruity in the Commemorative Photography Albums Circulated in the Japanese and the Ottoman Empires at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century”

9 April: Julie Laplante (Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Ottawa), “Indian Ocean Worlds: Tracing Anthropological Fluidities between South African Muti and Javanese Jamu Medicine”

16 April: Omri Bassewitch Frenkel (IOWC PhD Student, McGill University), “Ginger, Pepper and Prestige: Spice Transplantation, the Philippine Project and Spanish Ideals of Chivalry”

23 April: Keynote Speech of the IOWC International Conference “Currencies of Commerce in the Greater Indian Ocean World”
(speaker and title TBA)

30 April: Andrew Ivaska (Professor of History, Concordia University), “Leftwing Political Networking in a Global 1960s: Dar es Salaam at a Crossroads”

7 May: Tyler Yank (IOWC PhD Student, McGill University), “Exploring the Slavery Amelioration Project in Colonial Mauritius, c. 1826-1835”