IIAS Lunch Lecture

Between Land and Sea: Secessionist Movements and an Indian Ocean Imaginary in Coastal Kenya

A Lecture jointly organised by IIAS and the African Studies Centre (ASC), by Nidhi Mahajan.

This paper examines the rising popularity of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a group that has been arguing for secession of the Kenyan coast. In the face of perceived social and economic marginalization, the MRC and its members have been using multiple historical arguments to argue for secession. Based on preliminary ethnographic research in Lamu and Mombasa, I argue that the MRC and the multiple claims that its members and sympathizers are making must not only be understood as part of a longer genealogy of coastal nationalist movements, but also that these different historical arguments gesture to the persistence of an Indian Ocean imaginary in a contemporary moment of economic and social transformation. I ultimately argue that these notions of Indian Ocean belonging are currently being reimagined, past, present, and future of the coast being contested.


Lunch will be provided, but registration is required. Please use the registration form below.

About IIAS Lunch Lectures

Every month, an IIAS researcher or visiting scholar presents his or her work-in-progress in an informal setting to colleagues and other interested attendees. IIAS organises these lunch lectures to give the research community the opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and exchange thoughts and ideas.