I am a historian of East Africa and the Indian Ocean world, with a particular focus on the history and identity of the Swahili-speaking community in modern Oman. My book manuscript, Children of the Lost Colony, explores the modern migrations of this community from East Africa to Oman in the 1960s and 70s, their memories of Africa, especially Zanzibar, and their generative role in the evolution of Omani national citizenship. I have also published on Islamic reform and Arab identity in Mombasa, Kenya, the making of an abolitionist consensus in modernist Muslim thought, and the Ibadhi madhab in modern East Africa.


2016 Ph.D. Northwestern University, African History

2009 M.A. Georgetown University, Global and Comparative History

2006 B.A. Howard University, History and Anthropology


“The ‘Fused Horizon’ of Abolitionism and Islam: Historicism, the Quran and the Global History of Abolition” Journal of Global Slavery 4:2 (2019).

“Imagining Arab Communities: Colonialism, Islamic Reform and Arab Identity in Mombasa, Kenya, 1897-1933.” Islamic Africa 4(2). Winter 2013.
Book Chapters

“Memory, History, and Heritage among the Grieving Cosmopolitans: Omani-Zanzibaris Remember the Zanzibar Revolution, 1964-present.” Garth Myers and Marie-Aude Fouere (eds.) Social Memory and the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution. Dar-es-Salaam: Mkuti wa Nyota, 2017.
“Jumuiya ya Kiislamu ya Istiqaama Tanzania and Modern Ibādism in East Africa, 1985–2016.” Abdulrahman al-Salimi and Reinhard Eisener (eds.) Oman, Ibadism and Modernity. Hildesheim: George Olms, 2017.
Book Reviews

“Nationality, Empire and Africa in The Age of High Imperialism” Journal of World History 29:3, 2018.

“Review of Ellen Ndeshi Namhila, Native Estates: Records of Mobility Across Colonial Boundaries” Research Africa 1(3), Dec 2017. https://sites.duke.edu/researchafrica/ra-reviews/volume-1-issue-3-december-2017/


African Studies Association (ASA)

Association for the Study of the World African Diaspora (ASWAD)

Nathaniel Mathews

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