Early research for his masters’ dissertation on ethnic identity and social change was carried out among the Chagossians in Mauritius, forcibly removed from their homeland in the early 1970s to pave way for an American military base on Diego Garcia.
His research interests have remained focused on identity and ethnicity, expanding to include migration, globalisation and notions of home and belonging, as well as age systems. His geographical focus has slowly moved northwards.
He carried out doctoral research on mimesis, custom and belonging on the Comorian island of Ngazidja; since then he has worked on movements of people between the Comoros, Zanzibar and Hadramawt. From 2005-2007 he held an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Macquarie University, Sydney, studying identity among mobile communities of Arab origin in East Africa.
Arriving in the UK in 2007, he held teaching positions at SOAS and ISCA before being awarded an ESRC Research Fellowship (2009-2011) to continue his work on issues of identity among transnational communities of East African origin.
He is committee member and webmaster of the SwahiliWeb resource site and moderator of the Indian Ocean Studies mailing list.
+ YouTube: Iain Walker - Converging Cultures