Regulating the Ocean: Piracy and Protection along the East African Coast


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Cultural Anthropology


This project focuses on maritime piracy and attempts to regulate the social and commercial world of the Western Indian Ocean. Reframing piracy outside of a discourse of criminality and failed states, it suggests that maritime piracy may be understood as an economy of protection and a form of capital-intensive armed entrepreneurship. As such, piracy as a system of protection competes with a variety of state and non-state forms of protection in this area. This dissertation investigates these encounters between overlapping regimes of protection and security. Piracy in this sense is not an anomaly or an aberration, but a broad optic through which to think issues of mobility, labor, sociality, and the economy in this contemporary moment.