Janet J. Ewald

Janet J. Ewald

Associate Professor with Tenure

External address: 
316 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719
(919) 684-4280


My specialty in the history of Africa has led me, in both my teaching and research, to explore how Africans participated in the major currents of world history since about 1700. My first book Soldiers, Traders, and Slaves: State Formation and Economic Transformation in the Greater Nile Valley, 1700-1885 uses oral traditions as well as written sources to reconstruct how people in a dangerous frontier zone responded to predatory empires, commercial capitalism, slave raiding, and militant Islam. The book, as well as several articles, analyzes not only how people constructed a small kingdom but also how they continually reconstructed their memories of that kingdom. Following the paths of slaves from the Nile valley led me to the shores of the Indian Ocean and beyond. I have now embarked on a second major project, "Motley Crews: Indian and African Seafarers on English Vessels in the Indian Ocean, c. 1600-1900." The project analyzes two forms of labor control--indentures and slavery--in a maritime setting. Not only Africans, but also Asians and Europeans, are the main actors; center stage is the Indian Ocean bounded by the crescent of shore from Bombay through the Arabian coast to the African Swahili coast; the action takes lace in the tumultuous centuries, especially after 1750, when a system of slavery rose and fell; Asian and African autonomy gave way to European dominance; and steam engines replaced sailing vessels on the ocean.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1982

  • M.A., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1975

  • B.A., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1973

Selected Grants

(93-0613) Crossing the Red Sea: Transport, Slavery, and Free Labor, 1800-1910 awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1993

Ewald, JJ. "African Bondsmen, Freedmen, and the Maritime Proletariats of the Northwestern Indian Ocean World, c1500-1900." In INDIAN OCEAN SLAVERY IN THE AGE OF ABOLITION,edited by R Harms, BK Freamon, and DW Blight, 200-222. Yale University Press, October 2013.

Ewald JJ, . "Slave Trade: The Indian Ocean, c1750-1880." In in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, edited by Peter N. Stearns (Spring, 2008), Oxford University Press . edit. 2008.

Ewald, JJ. "Building a State and Struggling Over Land: The Taqali Kingdom, 1750-1884"." In State, Land, Literacy, and the State in the History of Sudanic Africa,edited by D Crummey. Red Sea Press, 2003.

Ewald JJ, . "The Turkiyya." In The Encyclopedia of Sub-Saharan Africa,edited by J Middleton. MacMillan Press, 2003.

Ewald JJ, . "Africa: East." In A Historical Guide to World Slavery,edited by S Drescher and S Engerman,41-46. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Ewald, JJ, and Clarence-Smith, WG. "The Economic Role of the Hadhrami Disapora in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden: 1820s to 1930." In An Indian Ocean People: Hadhramaut and its Disapora, 1750s-1960s,edited by WGC Smith and U Freitag, 281-296. Leiden: Brill, 1997.

Ewald JJ, . "A Moment in the Middle: Fieldwork in the Nuba Hills, 1977-1979." In In Pursuit of History: Fieldwork in Africa,edited by CK Adenaike and J Vansina,94-103. Heinemann, 1996.

Ewald, JJ. "Reviews of Gopalan Balachandran, Globalizing Labour? Indian Seafarers and World Shipping, c. 1870-1945 with a response by Gopalan Balachandran." International Journal of Maritime History 25, no. 1 (September 30, 2013): 275-314. (Review)

Ewald, JJ. "Bondsmen, Freedmen, and Maritime Industrial Transport, 1840-1900." Slavery and Abolition 31 (September 2010): 450-466. (Academic Article)

Ewald, JJ. "Bondsmen, Freedmen, and Maritime Industrial Transportation, c. 1840-1900." SLAVERY & ABOLITION 31, no. 3 (2010): 451-466. Full Text

Ewald JJ, . "Crossers of the Sea: Slaves and Migrants in the Western Indian Ocean, c. 1800-1900." The American Historical Review 105 (2000): 69-91.

Ewald JJ, . "African Slavery and the African Slave Trade: A Review Essay." The American Historical Review 97 (1992): 465-485.

Ewald, J. "Speaking, Writing, and Authority: Explorations in and from the Kingdom of Taqali." Comparative Studies in Society and History 30, no. 02 (April 1988): 200-200. Full Text

Ewald, JJ. "The Nile Valley System and the Red Sea Slave Trade, 1820-1880." Slavery and Abolition 9 (1988): 71-92.

Ewald, J. "Speaking, Writing, and Authority: Explorations in and from the Kingdom of Taqali." Comparative Studies in Society and History 30 (1988): 199-224.

Ewald, JJ. "Foxes in the Field: An Essay on Methodology." African Studies Review 30 (1987): 9-15.

Ewald, J. "Experience and Speculation: History and Founding Stories in the Kingdom of Taqali." International Journal of African Historical Studies 18 (1985): 265-287. Full Text

Spring 2018

Health And Healing In Africa (HISTORY 205)
Carr 240, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Gtwy Sem-History At Sea (HISTORY 152S)
Carr 135, WF 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Fall 2017

Gtwy Sem-History At Sea (HISTORY 152S)
Crowell 107, MW 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
First-Year Seminar (Top) (HISTORY 89S)
Friedl Bdg 118, MW 08:30 AM-09:45 AM

Spring 2017

The Atlantic Slave Trade (HISTORY 316S)
White 104, MW 03:05 PM-04:20 PM
Health And Healing In Africa (HISTORY 205)
West Duke 106, WF 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Fall 2016

Gtwy Sem-History At Sea (HISTORY 152S)
Carr 241, WF 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
First-Year Seminar (Top) (HISTORY 89S)
Perkins 079, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Spring 2016

African/asian History (Top) (HISTORY 790S-03)
West Duke 108A, Tu 12:00 PM-02:30 PM
Health And Healing In Africa (HISTORY 205)
Friedl Bdg 126, MW 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Spring 2015

Health And Healing In Africa (HISTORY 205)
Carr 103, MW 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Gtwy Sem-History At Sea (HISTORY 152S)
West Duke 108B, MW 03:05 PM-04:20 PM

Spring 2014

Senior Thesis Seminar (HISTORY 496S)
Carr 229, W 03:05 PM-05:30 PM