September 2022

6:00 PM IST

Online Via Zoom


Stuck: Chokepoints and (Im)mobility in the Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean and Beyond: Outward Bound from Gujarat

Jatin Dua

Associate Professor, Anthropology
Director of the Interdepartmental Program in Anthropology and History
University of Michigan

Shipping plays a crucial role in global circulation and geopolitical imaginaries of mobility. Approximately 90% of the world’s imports and exports travel by sea on some 93,000 merchant vessels, operated by 1.25 million seafarers, carrying almost six billion tons of cargo. This global circulation, however, is dependent on navigating a variety of chokepoints—narrow straits, ports, and even pirates that ‘choke’ the seemingly frictionless flow of global shipping. Focusing on these multiple forms of stuckness, this talk explores the generative power of chokepoints. Beyond the problem of lag, I argue for understanding chokepoint politics—a mode of politics and place-making built on channeling circulation and its consequences for understanding the boundaries of land and sea, law and economy, history and anthropology. 

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Meeting ID: 927 1426 2944
Passcode: 955013


Jatin Dua

Jatin Dua's research explores maritime mobility, and its perils and possibilities, in the Indian Ocean, focusing on processes and projects of governance, law, and economy. His book, Captured at Sea: Piracy and Protection in the Indian Ocean, published with the University of California Press (December 2019) and winner of the 2020 Elliot P. Skinner Book Award, is a multi-sited ethnographic and archival engagement with Somali piracy and contestations over legitimate and illegitimate commerce in the Western Indian Ocean. In addition, he has published a number of articles on maritime anthropology, captivity, political economy, and sovereignty.